Shire Map

The Shire map below is based very closely on Tolkien's own drawing in The Fellowship of the Ring, but also takes the maps devised by Karen Wynn Fonstad and Barbara Strachey into consideration. For further explanations, please see the comments below. The link will take you to a full-sized JPG of the map (420 kb) that may take some time to download. The overview JPG on this page is actually a bit larger than it looks here (ca. 800 x 600): Since the big version came out so oliphauntesque and requires much scrolling, a medium-sized file might be helpful for orientation.

This map was created with a lot of helpful input from Calanthe and Eykar and drawn by Cara. It's a work in progress, so if anyone has any suggestions for additions or changes, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

As you can see, this map doesn't cover all of the Shire but only the central area that Tolkien himself charted in much detail. In addition, our map shows several roads and settlements in red (Longbottom, Michel Delving, Little Delving, Oatbarton, and Dwaling): Tolkien's own drawing indicates the location of these settlements by means of roads leading towards them, which have been extended here. Since Tolkien didn't give exact distances, the villages' placement isn't absolutely certain, but can be extrapolated with a fair amount of plausibility.

The only known Shire settlements that have not been located on our map (yet) are Greenfields, Long Cleeve and Greenholm. While Appendix B seems to locate Greenholm on the Far Downs, the name itself – with -holm designating either an islet or a river shore – argue against this placement. We might speculate about the existence of another river (running north-south) near the Downs though, which might justify such a naming. Greenfields and Long Cleeve must both be situated somewhere in the Northfarthing. Long Cleeve is the home of the North Tooks and points to a 'narrow valley', possibly in a rocky region, whereas Greenfields was the site of a skirmish against an invading Orc band that would likely have entered from the embattled North Kingdom. However, the exact sites remain uncertain.

Tolkien's map raises a few additional questions. The road that slants out westward from Nobottle very likely leads towards another settlement on the White Downs (indicated in red on the map), but its name remains unknown. Similarly, a southern road branches off from the road that connects Waymeet and Michel Delving – but where does it lead? Fonstad tentatively located Hardbottle at its end, but Tolkien's Notes on Nomenclature falsify that proposition. More below...

Bindbale: This name is printed in red as it refers to a hypothetical village in the middle of the Bindbale Wood that Tolkien named on his map. It's our only addition beyond the towns and villages mentioned in Tolkien's works.

Grindwall: A location found only in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. A footnote explains: "Grindwall was a small hythe on the north bank of the Withywindle; it was outside the Hay, and was so well watched and protected by a grind or fence extended into the water. Breredon (Briar Hill) was a little village on rising ground behind the hythe, in the narrow tongue between the end of the High Hay and the Brandywine. At the Mithe, the outflow of the Shirebourn, was a landing-stage, from which a lane ran to Deephallow and so on to the Causeway road that went through Rushey and Stock." Not only do neither Grindwall nor Breredon appear on Tolkien's Shire map, Breredon also seems to be located exactly in the space occupied by Hay's End (or as close to the latter as no matter), and has therefore been omitted here.

Hardbottle: According to Tolkien's Notes on Nomenclature, this village is "the home of the Bracegirdles in the North Farthing (not on the map)". Since the Bracegirdles are also associated with Girdley Island, Hardbottle must be placed somewhere in the neighbouring region rather than in the Southfarthing, as Fonstad proposed. The prefix Hard-, as Tolkien explained, points to rocky ground, indicating that Hardbottle might be located not too far from the area of Quarry and Scary. (On her map, Fonstad also added the village of "Sackville", but since the name exists only as a family name in Tolkien's works, we've decided not to include such a settlement.)

Tighfield and Gamwich: These two villages are the homes of Sam's ancestors and relatives on the father's side. Fonstad reasoned that because Sam once mentions his uncle Andy's ropewalk "over in Tighfield," the village itself must be situated on the other side of the White Downs. Our map concurs with that notion but places both Tighfield and Gamwich in the North- rather than the Westfarthing. A comment in the family trees, that the Gaffer's second son Halfred "removed to the Northfarthing," suggests connexions in this region.

Whitwell: is absent from Tolkien's map and mentioned once when Pippin says, in ROTK, "My father farms the lands round Whitwell near Tuckborough in the Shire." Fonstad identifies the small (unnamed) settlement on the road south from Waymeet as Whitwell, yet that would place it closer to Tookbank than Tuckborough. We have therefore decided to place Whitwell south of Tuckborough, among the feet of the Green Hills, where sheltered and fertile farming lands could very likely be found.


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