Fellowship of stars battles to save Tolkien's real Bag End
Gandalf actor Ian McKellen is among the stars backing turning Tolkien's house into a museum WARNER BROS WARNER BROS/AFP/File

Gandalf, Bilbo Baggins and other luminaries have formed a new crowd-funding fellowship to raise $6 million to buy the Oxford home of "The Lord of the Rings" author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Actors Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman, stars of Peter Jackson's Oscar-winning film adaptations, have joined the "Project Northmoor" campaign to turn the sprawling house into a museum in honour of the fantasy writer.

"To raise $6 million (£4.5 million) in three months is a huge challenge," British novelist Julia Golding, who is leading the campaign, said in a statement.

"However, we need only to look at Frodo and Sam's journey from Rivendell to Mount Doom -- which took that same amount of time -– and we are inspired that we can do this too!"

With seven bedrooms and a spacious garden, 20 Northmoor Road in Oxford is a far cry from the modest hobbit dwelling at Bag End inhabited by the Baggins clan.

Tolkien and his family moved into the house in 1930 and lived there for 17 years while he was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.

He wrote "The Hobbit" and the bulk of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy there.

Despite his global fame, there is currently no literary centre devoted to Tolkien, in Britain or elsewhere. The campaign aims to buy the house from its current owner, renovate it, and create a museum.

"We cannot achieve this without the support of the worldwide community of Tolkien fans, our fellowship of funders," McKellen said, appealing for donations at www.projectnorthmoor.org until March 15 next year.

© 2020 AFP