This has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature Tolkien's paternal ancestors were middle-class craftsmen who made and sold clocks, watches and pianos in London and Birmingham.

In another incident, a young family servant, who thought Tolkien a beautiful child, took the baby to his kraal to show him off, returning him the next morning.

When he was three, he went to England with his mother and brother on what was intended to be a lengthy family visit.

Tolkien could read by the age of four and could write fluently soon afterwards. He disliked Treasure Island and The Pied Piper and thought Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was "amusing but disturbing". Nine years after her death, Tolkien wrote, "My own dear mother was a martyr indeed, and it is not to everybody that God grants so easy a way to his great gifts as he did to Hilary and myself, giving us a mother who killed herself with labour and trouble to ensure us keeping the faith." Prior to her death, Mabel Tolkien had assigned the guardianship of her sons to her close friend, Fr.

He liked stories about "Red Indians" (Native Americans) and the fantasy works by George Mac Donald. Francis Xavier Morgan of the Birmingham Oratory, who was assigned to bring them up as good Catholics.

While a pupil there, Tolkien was one of the cadets from the school's Officers Training Corps who helped "line the route" for the 1910 coronation parade of King George V.

Like the other cadets from King Edward's, Tolkien was posted just outside the gates of Buckingham Palace.Another strong influence was the romantic medievalist paintings of Edward Burne-Jones and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery had a large collection of works on public display.While in his early teens, Tolkien had his first encounter with a constructed language, Animalic, an invention of his cousins, Mary and Marjorie Incledon.His father, however, died in South Africa of rheumatic fever before he could join them.He enjoyed exploring Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and the Clent, Lickey and Malvern Hills, which would later inspire scenes in his books, along with nearby towns and villages such as Bromsgrove, Alcester, and Alvechurch and places such as his aunt Jane's farm of Bag End, the name of which he used in his fiction.that his surrogate son was romantically involved with an older, Protestant woman.