A monument which inspired Tolkien has been renovated and restored.

The Four Shire Stone is an 18th-century monument just off the A44 near Moreton-in-Marsh which commemorates the spot where Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Gloucestershire once met.

Worcestershire's border no longer reaches here because the boundary was changed in 1931. Several parishes which were administered by Worcestershire were absorbed into Gloucestershire and four became three.

Fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will know of the Three Farthing Stone of the Shire.

Historian J.R.R Tolkien would have been well aware of the monument, passing it regularly when travelling by road to Moreton-in-Marsh, a town he often visited to meet his brother, halfway between Tolkien's home in Oxford and his brother's farm in Evesham.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard:

James Hayman-Joyce has led the campaign to raise £20,000 for the restoration which was achieved within six months.

He said: "There are a lot of local people and businesses to thank for their generosity, contributions and hard work in making this happen."

The stone – built in locally-sourced oolitic limestone - has had a colourful history and was a well-known meeting point and a venue for illegal prize fights in the 1800s.

Railings were installed around it at the start of the 1900s to deter vandalism, but over the years it suffered wear and tear, and was even partly demolished when it was hit by a lorry in 1955.

Much of the stonework was crumbling and damaged by frost and algae. 

Mr Hayman-Joyce said: "I passed the stone on my way into the office in Moreton in Marsh and became increasingly saddened at its poor state of repair.

"I often thought that someone ought to do something about it. That someone turned out to be me."

He formed the Four Shire Stone Restoration Committee with the aim of raising £20,000 to repair the stonework, replace the railings and enhance the engravings on all four sides of the pillar.

"We have had some very generous donations as well as all sorts of sums of money sent from all over the country," he said.

"Our local stonemason, Richard Podd, has poured all his expertise into the project and the result is that the Four Shire Stone now looks magnificent.

"It will stand tall and last for another 100 years."

Details of the work involved and the history of the stone are on the website at www.fourshirestone.org.uk