Carlisle ring inspires Tolkien

A Viking runic ring found in Carlisle, could have inspired the Lord of The Rings trilogy.

The gold ring known as The Kingmoor ring,  is a 10th – 12th century Viking finger ring, bearing a magical runic inscription to ward off fever and leprosy.

The Kingmoor Ring information panel

The Kingmoor Ring information panel

Found in June 1817 at Greymoor Hill, Kingmoor, Carlisle.  The ring now resides in the British Museum with a 19th Century copy on display in the Border Galleries at Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum.

The area where the ring was found is now known as the Kingmoor Nature Reserve.

Another similar ring, known as the Bramham Moor ring from Yorkshire, is also part of the collection on display in London.


Epic creation
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of The Rings was a philologist and university professor of Anglo-Saxon history at Oxford.

His undoubted involvement with archaeological discoveries and knowledge of runic rings and amulets, has most likely played a large part in his epic creation, that has become one of the most popular and influential works in 20th Century literature.

The Lord of The Rings story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s earlier,  fantasy novel The Hobbit, published in 1973. It soon developed into a much larger work, written in stages between 1937 and 1949, during World War II.

The story hinges around the rings of Power which were crafted by the Elven-smiths but Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring in Mordor, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others.

My Precious
Sauron loses the ring in battle to Isildur, who cuts off the ring and claims it for himself.

When Isildur is later killed by Orcs, the Ring is lost in the river Anduin, only to be found over 2000 years later by Gollum who murderously obtains the Ring whilst fishing in the river.

Gollum keeps the Ring ( his precious ) for nearly 500 years before losing it, whereupon the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins finds it.

On his eleventy-first birthday, Bilbo disappeared, bequeathing to his young nephew, Frodo, the One Ring.

When Bilbo discovers the history of the ring from Gandalf, he is faced with a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-Earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord and destroy the ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom in Mordor, where it was forged.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery - Where a 19th Century replica of the ring resides.

Article”Magic Ring of Kingmoor“, written by Keeper of Archaeology, Mr. Tim Padley.

The British Museum - Where the original Kingmoor ring is on display.

The Tolkien Society – Encouraging further interest in the life and works of the late Professor J.R.R. Tolkien  C.B.E.

Omniglot – Discover more about ancient runic writing.



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  • http://www.facebook.com/john.armstrong.142892 John Armstrong

    Another ring was also found in Carlisle at Linstock, close to Hadrian’s Wall. What happened to that one?

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