Tolkien Gateway

Men of Bree

John Howe - Barliman Butterbur.jpg
The Men of Bree
Average heightshorter than Númenóreans
Hair colorGenerally brown
DistinctionsCohabitation with the Hobbits
Lifespanshorter than Númenórean
MembersBarliman Butterbur, Bill Ferny, Mat Heathertoes, Tom Pickthorn, Rowlie Appledore

The Men of Bree were Bree-landers, specifically the Men who lived around the Bree-land, especially the village of Bree.


[edit] Origins

The Men of Bree trace their origins from the race of the Pre-Númenóreans who inhabited the northern White Mountains during the Second Age, in the land that would be later known as Calenardhon. As such they were related to the Men of the Mountains and the Dunlendings.

During the Dark Years, some of this folk, migrated northward to the dales south of the Misty Mountains. Eventually they continued to the Barrow-downs before settling the region around the tall, wooded Bree-hill.[1]

[edit] History

Matěj Čadil - Bree-land

Around the Bree-hill, the Men of Bree established the settlement of Bree, Staddle, Archet and Combe.

When the Kingdom of Arnor was founded, Bree-land lay inside its borders, and on the road that led to Gondor; as such the Men of Bree became subject of Arnor, and adopted Westron.[1]

In about T.A. 1300, their land was visited by the Halflings who were fleeing the encroaching darkness to the east.[2] They formed a unique society in all Middle-earth where Men and Hobbits lived beside on another. Thus they were affectionally called the "Big Folk" and the "Little Folk".[3]

The Men of Bree endured the Fall of Arnor (T.A. 1975) and continued living independently, like before its existence.[3]

During the War of the Ring some Men of Bree like Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf were spies of the Ringwraiths and later they joined Saruman's ruffians.[3][4]

[edit] Culture

In appearance, these Men were in stature short and broad, and often brown-haired. They were cheerful and provincial. In contrast to other Men, those of Bree were friendly to the other races, Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves.[3]

Bree measured time with the Bree Calendar[5] which is obviously a Hobbitish localization of the King's Reckoning.[6]

They seem to have maintained a curious tradition of taking their names from plants and herbs; families of the Men of Bree included Appledore, Ferny, Goatleaf, Heathertoes, Rushlight, Thistlewool and Butterbur.[7]

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age", "Of Men"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", "Concerning Gandalf, Saruman, and the Shire"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D, "The Calendars"
  6. Andreas Moehn, "The Reckoning of Time", Lalaith's Middle-earth Science Pages (accessed 1 December 2015)
  7. Jim Allan (1978), An Introduction to Elvish, Giving of Names, p.208