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Otho Sackville-Baggins

Location(s): Southfarthing

Race/Species: Hobbit

Title(s): head of the Sackville family

Dates: III 2910-3012

Parents:
father: Longo Baggins
mother: Camellia Sackville

Spouse: Lobelia Bracegirdle

Children: Lotho Sackville-Baggins

Description:

Otho Sackville-Baggins is the son of Longo Baggins and Camellia Sackville; he is the head of the Sackville family, the first cousin (and original heir) of Bilbo Baggins, and the second cousin once removed of Frodo Baggins:
Lobelia Bracegirdle married Otho Sackville-Baggins; their son was Lotho, who seized control of the Shire at the time of the War of the Ring, and was then known as "the Chief."

Unfinished Tales, Part 3, Ch 4, The Hunt for the Ring: Notes, Note 17

[Said the Gaffer,] 'But I reckon it was a nasty shock for those Sackville-Bagginses. They thought they were going to get Bag End, that time when [Bilbo] went off and was thought to be dead. And then he comes back and orders them off; and he goes on living and living, and never looking a day older, bless him! And suddenly he produces an heir, and has all the papers made out proper. The Sackville-Bagginses won't never see the inside of Bag End now, or it is to be hoped not.'

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

The Sackville-Bagginses were not forgotten. Otho and his wife Lobelia were present. They disliked Bilbo and detested Frodo, but so magnificent was the invitation card, written in golden ink, that they had felt it was impossible to refuse. Besides, their cousin, Bilbo, had been specializing in food for many years and his table had a high reputation.

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

In the middle of the commotion the Sackville-Bagginses arrived.... When Otho loudly demanded to see Frodo, Merry bowed politely.

'He is indisposed,' he said. 'He is resting.'

'Hiding, you mean,' said Lobelia. 'Anyway we want to see him and we mean to see him. Just go and tell him so!'

Merry left them a long while in the hall, and they had time to discover their parting gift of spoons. It did not improve their tempers. Eventually they were shown into the study. Frodo... looked indisposed — to see Sackville-Bagginses at any rate.... But he spoke quite politely.

The Sackville-Bagginses were rather offensive. They began by offering him bad bargain-prices (as between friends) for various valuable and unlabelled things. When Frodo replied that only the things specially directed by Bilbo were being given away, they said the whole affair was very fishy.

'Only one thing is clear to me,' said Otho, 'and that is that you are doing exceedingly well out of it. I insist on seeing the will.'

Otho would have been Bilbo's heir, but for the adoption of Frodo. He read the will carefully and snorted. It was, unfortunately, very clear and correct (according to the legal customs of hobbits, which demand among other things seven signatures of witnesses in red ink).

'Foiled again!' he said to his wife. 'And after waiting sixty years. Spoons? Fiddlesticks!' He snapped his fingers under Frodo's nose and slumped off.

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

One summer's evening an astonishing piece of news reached the Ivy Bush and Green Dragon.... Mr. Frodo was selling Bag End, indeed he had already sold it — to the Sackville-Bagginses!

'For a nice bit, too,' said some. 'At a bargain price,' said others, 'and that's more likely when Mistress Lobelia's the buyer.' (Otho had died some years before, at the ripe but disappointed age of 102.)

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

Customs differed in cases where the 'head' [of a family] died leaving no son. In the Took-family, since the headship was also connected with the title and (originally military) office of Thain, descent was strictly through the male line. In other great families the headship might pass through a daughter of the deceased to his eldest grandson (irrespective of the daughter's age). This latter custom was usual in families of more recent origin, without ancient records or ancestral mansions. In such cases the heir (if he accepted the courtesy title) took the name of his mother's family — though he often retained that of his father's family (placed second). This was the case with Otho Sackville-Baggins. For the nominal headship of the Sackvilles had come to him through his mother Camellia. It was his rather absurd ambition to achieve the rare distinction of being 'head' of two families (he would probably then have called himself Baggins-Sackville-Baggins): a situation which will explain his exasperation with the adventures and disappearance of Bilbo, quite apart from any loss of property involved in the adoption of Frodo.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 214 to A. C. Nunn (draft), probably late 1958-early 1959

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 1Dec05, 22Sep07

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