Two lost poems by Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien have been discovered at an Abingdon school.
They were unearthed at Our Lady’s Abingdon, a private catholic school in Radley Road, 80 years after they were published in its magazine titled ‘The Annual’.
Principal Stephen Oliver discovered the poems in the 1936 edition after a tip-off by American Tolkien scholar, Wayne G. Hammond.
Mr Oliver said: “At first we couldn’t find the 1936 edition, then, while preparing for an event for former pupils of the school, we uncovered our own coup and I saw the two poems.
“My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming. I am a great Tolkien fan and was thrilled to discover the connection with the school.”
Mr Hammond contacted Mr Oliver after he found a note from Tolkien saying the Oxford professor had published two poems in a magazine he called ‘The Abingdon Chronicle’.
The search uncovered ‘The Shadow Man’ – an early version of a published poem in Tolkien’s 1962 collection, Adventures of Tom Bombadil – and ‘Noel’, a Christmas poem, celebrating the birth of Jesus.
It is believed Tolkien visited the school while living in Oxford and working as an Anglo-Saxon professor at Oxford University in 1925.
The poems are some of Tolkien’s earlier work, published a year before The Hobbit and 18 years before The Lord of the Rings.
Mr Oliver added: “We intend to make the poems the centre piece of an exhibition on the rich history of our school.
“As a writer myself, I feel privileged to have been part of the discovery of these lost works.”
A map of Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle Earth went on display in Oxford’s Blackwells in Broad Street last November after being found in a loose copy of The Lord of the Rings last year.
The map sold for £60,000.