UNDISCOVERED poems by JRR Tolkien were unearthed in an Abingdon school library thanks to a tip from 4,000 miles away.

The two works were discovered in a 1936 school annual at Our Lady’s Abingdon. They were published a year before Tolkien’s book The Hobbit came out.

The discovery was made after American Tolkien scholar Wayne G Hammond realised the author had made reference to the poems published in The Abingdon Chronicle.

After a bit of research he discovered that was the name of Our Lady’s Abingdon’s old school magazine – news which was just as much a surprise to the school as anyone.

Stephen Oliver, principal of the school in Radley Road, said: “I was really surprised to find it because there is no reference to Tolkien at all in the school’s history.

“My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming. I am a great Tolkien fan and was thrilled to discover the connection with the school.”

One poem, called The Shadow Man, seems to be an early version of Tolkien’s Adventures of Tom Bombadil collection published in 1962.

The second, entitled Noel, is a Christmas poem celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Mr Oliver was startled to read an email from Mr Hammond who notified him of poems in The Abingdon Chronicle, which turned out to be the school annual.

He said: “We had a hunt around for the magazine but couldn’t find it at the time.

“Then when we were getting together our archive stuff we found copies of The Abingdon Chronicle.

“Obviously Oxford is the centre of Tolkien but I am not aware of people knowing a link with Abingdon before.”

It is thought that Tolkien got to know the school while living in Northmoor Road in Oxford, where he wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings.

Adorned with a blue plaque celebrating the author, the house is one of many strong links to Oxford.

Tolkien also studied at Exeter College, drank at The Eagle and Child pub in St Giles and taught as a professor at Merton and Pembroke colleges.

He is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery off Banbury Road.

Mr Oliver, a published author himself, plans to make the poems the centrepiece of an exhibition at the school.

He added: “The school has a very rich history so we thought we could use it as part of that.”

Our Lady’s Abingdon was founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Mercy, who worked closely with Florence Nightingale among other historical figures.

Mr Oliver said students at the school, who range from three to 18 years old, have not yet been officially told the news as they are on their half-term break.