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Thain of the Shire

Literature DictionaryTolkiens Middle-Earth Dictionary
Title of the Oldbucks and the Tooks.
The largely honorary title of the military leader of the Shire. The first Shire-thain was Bucca of the Marish, and the title was held by eleven of his descendants the Oldbucks until their removal across the River Brandywine to Buckland. Thereafter the title was held by the head of the Took clan, from Isumbras I onwards.
It is known that there were at least thirty-three Shire-thains, from Bucca, who became Thain in III 1979, to Faramir I, who took on the title in IV 63, more than a thousand years later.

1- Bucca of the Marish (Thain from III 1979): The first Thain was given the title in III 1979 (379 by the Shire-reckoning) in a time when the northern lands were recovering from a devastating war in which the old kingdom of Arthedain had come to an end. He was succeeded by Thains of the Oldbuck line.
2-11- Ten Thains of the Oldbuck line (Thains for about 300 years to III 2340): Bucca was followed by Thains whose names are not recorded, but who took the surname 'Oldbuck' in honour of their ancestor.
12- Gorhendad Oldbuck (Thain to III 2340): The line of the Oldbucks came to an end with Gorhendad, who crossed the River Brandywine and founded Buckland, changing his name to Brandybuck. The Thainship passed from him to the Took family, and Gorhendad was succeeded by the first Thain of the Took line.
13- Isumbras I (Thain from III 2340): The thirteenth Thain in line from Bucca, and the first of the Took line. Isumbras' descendants would hold the Thainship for the rest of the recorded history of the Shire.
14-21- Eight Thains of the Took line (Thains for about two hundred years to III 2683): The eight Tooks to hold the Thainship after Isumbras I are nowhere named, but we can infer some of their identities from the names of later holders of the office. Among these eight must have been Isengrim I, Ferumbras I, Paladin I and Isumbras II, but no records of their Thainships are known.
22- Isengrim II (Thain for 39 years to III 2722): The twenty-second Thain, and tenth of the Took line. He began the excavation of Great Smials, which would become the seat of the Thains in the Tookland. He became Thain soon after the first pipe-weed was introduced into the Shire by Tobold Hornblower. He was succeeded by his son.
23- Isumbras III (Thain for 32 years to III 2759): His younger son was Bandobras Took, the famous 'Bullroarer'. In Isumbras' time the Shire was greatly troubled by Orcs, and Bandobras defeated a band of them at the Battle of Greenfields during his Thainship. Bandobras, though, was Isumbras' younger son - the Thainship passed instead to his older brother.
24- Ferumbras II (Thain for 42 years to III 2801): He was succeeded by his son.
25- Fortinbras I (Thain for 47 years to III 2848): At the beginning of his Thainship, the Shire would have seen much activity as Dwarves of Durin's Folk travelled westward to settle in the Blue Mountains. He was succeeded by his son.
26- Gerontius (Thain for 72 years to III 2920): The famous Old Took, who held the office of Thain for a total of seventy-two of his one hundred and thirty years, and had a total of twelve children. During his Thainship, the Shire suffered the dreadful privations of the Fell Winter, and invasions of White Wolves. He was succeeded by the eldest of his many sons.
27- Isengrim III (Thain for 10 years to III 2930): Due to the Old Took's many years in office, his eldest son Isengrim was no less than eighty-eight years old when he inherited the Thainship. He held it for just ten years and died without leaving an heir. He was succeeded by his younger brother.

(Continued in Thain of the Shire 2 - next entry).

 

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