Christopher Luke Wiseman was Tolkien’s inseparable companion from the age of around 12, when the two met in the fifth class at King Edward’s. That term, Christopher came second in the class lists, and Tolkien came first, but their initial rivalry developed into friendship based on a shared interest in Latin and Greek, enjoyment of rugby and a keenness for discussing anything and everything.
The boys moved through the school together. Christopher started to learn hieroglyphics, and provided a sympathetic ear for Tolkien’s first stumblings in poetry and his invented Germanic languages. He was also a nucleic member of the TCBS. By 1911, Christopher was highly knowledgeable about natural sciences and music. He was an amateur composer, and also an excellent mathematician.
Christopher was a year younger than Tolkien and the son of a Wesleyan minister from Edgbaston. He was a staunch Methodist and enjoyed arguing about religion – though without rancour. He had fair hair, a broad, happy face, and an energetically critical manner.
In 1913, he went up to Cambridge, which was where he first heard of Edith. In the Christmas holidays of 1914, he hosted a meeting of the TCBS in his parents’ house in Wandsworth. Attending were Tolkien, Rob Gilson and Geoffrey Smith. Christopher still felt that uplifting bond among the quartet, remarking that they felt “four times the intellectual size” when together.
Christopher then served in the Navy. He was aboard HMS Superb in 1916.
After his time in the services, Christopher started to teach, and he eventually became Headmaster of a Methodist school, Queen’s College in Taunton (which John Suffield, Tolkien’s grandfather, had attended as one of its first pupils).
By 1973, he was living with his wife in Milford-on-Sea, near Bournemouth.