“The book is a biography, but not only a biography. It reconstructs the almost unknown life of Francis Morgan (1857–1935), a Catholic priest of Anglo-Spanish origin, who was involved in the sherry trade and was guardian and ‘second father’ of author J.R.R. Tolkien.
“There is one aspect of Tolkien’s biography that has been barely investigated so far: his early years and the lasting relationship of Tolkien (who was orphaned as a child) with his guardian, Father Francis Morgan.”
He became legal guardian of the Tolkien brothers after the death of their mother, Mabel Tolkien, in 1904.
Written by Michael Flowers for the Tolkien Society website on April 4, 2018, Luna Press Publishing, Edinburgh.
Father Morgan was a priest of the Birmingham Oratory, religious founded by Cardinal Saint John Henry Newman.
From the National Catholic Register-
“As she [Mabel Tolkien] lay dying, her chief fear was not about her impending death or even about her sons being orphaned. Her anxiety was at the prospect of the boys being forced to renounce their Catholic faith by her own family or that of her late husband.
“With this in mind, she left instructions for her sons to be made wards of the Birmingham Oratory with Father Francis Xavier Morgan named as the two boys’ legal guardian.
“After Mabel’s death, the boys were billeted at the home of an aunt, Beatrice Suffield, at the back of the Oratory, on Stirling Road. Father Francis paid for the boy’s room and board there.”
It was Father Morgan who forbade J.R.R from seeing Edith, his future wife, until he reached the age of 21. They first met when he was 16.
Tolkien opposed the “New Mass” of 1969 and famously refused to speak responses in English, instead saying them loudly in Latin, or not speaking atall.