HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Westfarthing, The

Type: Kingdoms, Realms, Lands

Region: Bree/The Shire

Location: The westernmost district of the original Shire; bounded on the west by the Far Downs and bisected by the Great East Road; contains Bag End, the Great Smials, and Michel Delving, the seat of the Mayor.

Description: The Shire was divided into four quarters, the Farthings already referred to, North, South, East, and West; and these again each into a number of folklands, which still bore the names of some of the old leading families.... Nearly all Tooks still lived in the Tookland.... Outside the Farthings were the East and West Marches....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire

... even in the hilly regions and the older villages, such as Hobbiton or Tuckborough, or in the chief township of the Shire, Michel Delving on the White Downs, there were now many houses of wood, brick, or stone. These were specially favoured by millers, smiths, ropers, and cartwrights, and others of that sort; for even when they had holes to live in, Hobbits had long been accustomed to build sheds and workshops.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

An odd-looking waggon laden with odd-looking packages rolled into Hobbiton one evening and toiled up the Hill to Bag End.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 1, A Long-expected Party

At the bottom of the Hill on its western side they came to the gate opening on to a narrow lane. ...

For a short way they followed the lane westwards. Then leaving it they turned left and took quietly to the fields again. They went in single file along hedgerows and the borders of coppices ...

After some time they crossed the Water, west of Hobbiton, by a narrow plank-bridge. The stream was there no more than a winding black ribbon, bordered with leaning alder-trees. A mile or two further south they hastily crossed the great road from the Brandywine Bridge; they were now in the Tookland and bending south-eastwards they made for the Green Hill Country. As they began to climb its first slopes they looked back and saw the lamps in Hobbiton far off twinkling in the gentle valley of the Water. Soon it disappeared in the folds of the darkened land, and was followed by Bywater beside its grey pool. ...

... smoke-like wisps of mist were creeping up the hill-sides from the streams and deep meadows. Thin-clad birches, swaying in a light wind above their heads, made a black net against the pale sky. ... Soon they struck a narrow road, that went rolling up and down...: the road to Woodhall.... It climbed away from the main road in the Water-valley, and wound over the skirts of the Green Hills....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 3, Three Is Company

'They're coming along the road from Waymeet, but a good many stray ruffians have joined up with them.' ...

Before long [the Tooks] marched in..., from Tuckborough and the Green Hills.... Merry now had enough sturdy hobbitry to deal with the ruffians. ... They knew that the countryside had risen against them, and plainly meant to deal with the rebellion ruthlessly, at its centre in Bywater. ...

The ruffians came tramping along the East Road, and without halting turned up the Bywater Road, which ran for some way sloping up between high banks with low hedges on top. ...

The dead ruffians were laden on waggons and hauled off to an old sand-pit nearby and there buried: in the Battle Pit, as it was afterwards called. The fallen hobbits were laid together in a grave on the hill-side, where later a great stone was set up with a garden about it. So ended the Battle of Bywater, 1419....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 8, The Scouring of the Shire

The day after the battle Frodo rode to Michel Delving and released the prisoners from the Lockholes.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

Great stores of goods and food, and beer, were found that had been hidden away by the ruffians in sheds and barns and deserted holes, and especially in the tunnels at Michel Delving....

One of the first things done in Hobbiton, before even the removal of the new mill, was the clearing of the Hill and Bag End, and the restoration of Bagshot Row. The front of the new sand-pit was all levelled and made into a large sheltered garden, and new holes were dug in the southward face, back into the Hill, and they were lined with brick. ...

... in sensible hobbit-fashion it was just called New Row.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

And when they had passed from the Shire, going about the south skirts of the White Downs, they came to the Far Downs....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

The only real official in the Shire at this date was the Mayor of Michel Delving (or of the Shire), who was elected every seven years at the Free Fair on the White Downs at the Lithe, that is at Midsummer.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire

Pippin roused a good deal of laughter with an account of the collapse of the roof of the Town Hole in Michel Delving: Will Whitfoot, the Mayor, and the fattest hobbit in the Westfarthing, had been buried in chalk, and came out like a floured dumpling.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 9, At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

... though there was still some store of weapons in the Shire, these were used mostly as trophies..., or gathered into the museum at Michel Delving. The Mathom-house it was called; for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for..., they called a mathom.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

... in the Westfarthing, especially in the country round Hobbiton Hill, there grew a custom of making holiday and dancing in the Party Field, when weather permitted, on April 6. Some said that it was old Sam Gardner's birthday, some that it was the day on which the Golden Tree first flowered in 1420, and some that it was the Elves' New Year.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix D, The Calendars

The Westron tongue made in the pronouns of the second person (and often also in those of the third) a distinction, independent of number, between 'familiar' and 'deferential' forms. It was, however, one of the peculiarities of Shire-usage that the deferential forms had gone out of colloquial use. They lingered only among the villagers, especially of the Westfarthing, who used them as endearments. This was one of the things referred to when people of Gondor spoke of the strangeness of Hobbit-speech.

The Return of the King, LoTR Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age: On Translation

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 29Oct05

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