I have spent the last 3 days as a guest at The Great Smials where the Thain keeps a most wonderful library. Here I discovered much about the history of the Hobbits. So many folk here have asked about the Stoors and they have a real fascination with all things Hobbit. I thought, dear reader, to share some of my findings with you.
There was one book by a very great scholar called Tolkein that spoke of the history of the Hobbit migration to The Shire; I quote from it below:
“Their own records began only after the settlement of the Shire, and their most ancient legends hardly looked further back than their Wandering Days. It is clear, nonetheless, from these legends, and from the evidence of their peculiar words and customs, that like many other folk Hobbits had in the distant past moved westward. Their earliest tales seem to glimpse a time when they dwelt in the upper vales of Anduin, between the eaves of Greenwood the Great and the Misty Mountains. Why they later undertook the hard and perilous crossing of the mountains into Eriador is no longer certain. Their own accounts speak of the multiplying of Men in the land, and of a shadow that fell on the forest, so that it became darkened and its new name was Mirkwood.
It was in these early days, doubtless, that the Hobbits learned their letters and began to write after the manner of the Dúnedain, who had in their turn long before learned the art from the Elves. And in those days also they forgot whatever languages they had used before, and spoke ever after the Common Speech, the Westron as it was named… Yet they kept a few words of their own, as well as their own names of months and days, and a great store of personal names out of the past.
It was in the one thousand six hundred and first year of the Third Age that the Fallohide brothers, Marcho and Blanco, set out from Bree; and having obtained permission from the high king at Fornost, they crossed the brown river Baranduin with a great following of Hobbits. They passed over the Bridge of Stonebows, that had been built in the days of the power of the North-kingdom, and they took all the land beyond to dwell in, between the river and the Far Downs.
All that was demanded of them was that they should keep the Great Bridge in repair, and all other bridges and roads, speed the king’s messengers, and acknowledge his lordship. Thus began the Shire-reckoning, for the year of the crossing of the Brandywine (as the Hobbits turned the name) became Year One of the Shire, and all later dates were reckoned from it (thus, the years of the Third Age in the reckoning of the Elves and the Dúnedain may be found by adding 1600 to the dates of Shire-reckoning).
At once the western Hobbits fell in love with their new land, and they remained there, and soon passed once more out of the history of Men and of Elves.
Forty leagues it stretched from the Far Downs to the Brandywine Bridge, and fifty from the northern moors to the marshes in the south. The Hobbits named it the Shire, as the region of the authority of their Thain, and a district of well-ordered business; and there in that pleasant comer of the world they plied their well-ordered business of living, and they heeded less and less the world outside where dark things moved, until they came to think that peace and plenty were the rule in Middle-earth and the right of all sensible folk. They forgot or ignored what little they had ever known of the Guardians, and of the labours of those that made possible the long peace of the Shire. They were, in fact, sheltered, but they had ceased to remember it.”
The first Thain of the Shire was Bucca of the Marish, who founded the Oldbuck family. However, the Oldbuck family later crossed the Brandywine River to create the separate land of Buckland and the family name changed to the familiar “Brandybuck”. Their patriarch then became Master of Buckland. With the departure of the Oldbucks/Brandybucks, a new family was selected to have its chieftains be Thain: the Took family.
Before the crossing of the mountains the Hobbits had already become divided into three somewhat different breeds:
* Harfoots: The Harfoots were the most numerous group of Hobbits and also the first to enter Eriador. They were the smallest in stature of all hobbits. They had closer relations with dwarves than did other Hobbits.
* Fallohides: The Fallohides were the least numerous group and the second group to enter Eriador. They were generally fair haired and tall (for hobbits). They were often found leading other clans of hobbits as they were more adventurous than the other races. They preferred the forests and had links with the Elves.
* Stoors: The Stoors were the second most numerous group of Hobbits and the last to enter Eriador. They were broader than other hobbits. They mostly dwelt beside rivers and were the only hobbits to use boats and swim. Males were able to grow beards. Tolkien says they were “less shy of Men”.
I have also found references to rumour of a land called Enedwaith where there may be some outposts of Stoors. I have no evidence but I hope that in the near future I might get confirmation of this tale.
There is much more knowledge stored in the Great Library but my head is sore from thinking and I need a break from books. Until the next time then, take care and travel safely.