Historical Photos of Lord of the Rings Characters

Lost Books
3 min readAug 27, 2022

Many people believe that Tolkien didn’t just make up the Lord of the Rings, but that he actually based it on evidence he found in some old books tucked away in a secret basement vault at Oxford.

Evidence for this theory has been slim, until now. We were granted several photographs from an anonymous source, which appear to bear a striking uncanny resemblance to the characters in this popular book.

Could the theory be true? That Tolkien actually copied his story from a little known historical event that happened in the 1800s? After reviewing the evidence, we think the answer is probably yes!

See for yourself.

The Photos

Documents that accompanied the photos — which we have cross-referenced with noted histories of the time — paint an intriguing tale, which Tolkien perhaps knew, but subverted to his own ends.

It seems, for example, that the character of Elrond the Elven lord may have actually been based on a wealthy capitalist textile factory owner, whose real name was L. Ronald Francis Sheffield Drake.

What we know today as Frodo Baggins was actually allegedly based on an historical personage by the name of Fred Bagshaw, pictured above. Known for his short stature, Bagshaw worked in tight spaces in one of Sheffield Drake’s factories, in a position formerly occupied by child laborers.

The amiable devoted friend we know as Samwise Gamgee was also supposedly based on someone of an altogether different character, one Samuel Wiseman, who was a line supervisor, a drunk, gambler, and an all-around lout by all accounts.

The story goes that apparently Bagshaw was fomenting discontent amongst the other workers, and Wiseman took it upon himself to break up any talk of strike by bringing in a brutal gang of thugs to intimidate the workers. Sheffield Drake informed magistrates he had no knowledge or involvement in…

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