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Brandybucks of Buckland

Other Names:
Oldbucks (Zaragamba) (before III 2340)
Brandybuck (Brandagamba) family

Location(s):
Brandy Hall, and the surrounding Buckland

Race/Species: Hobbit

Title(s):
clan leader only:
Master of Buckland
Master of Brandy Hall
Thain of the Shire (before III 2340)

Parents:
descendants of Gorhendad Oldbuck

Description:

One of the two most prominent families of the Shire; descendants of Gorhendad Oldbuck, who dwell in Buckland:
The full list of [the hobbits'] wealthier families is: Baggins, Boffin, Bolger, Bracegirdle, Brandybuck, Burrowes, Chubb, Grubb, Hornblower, Proudfoot, Sackville, and Took.

The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter, Letter 25 to the editor of 'The Observer', 20 February 1938

The Fallohides, the least numerous [type of Hobbit], were a northerly branch. They were more friendly with Elves than the other Hobbits were, and had more skill in language and song than in handicrafts; and of old they preferred hunting to tilling. They crossed the mountains north of Rivendell and came down the River Hoarwell. In Eriador they soon mingled with the other kinds that had preceded them, but being somewhat bolder and more adventurous, they were often found as leaders or chieftains among clans of Harfoots or Stoors. Even in Bilbo's time the strong Fallohidish strain could still be noted among the greater families, such as the Tooks and the Masters of Buckland.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

The names of the Bucklanders were different from those of the rest of the Shire. The folk of the Marish and their offshoot across the Brandywine were in many ways peculiar.... It was from the former language of the southern Stoors, no doubt, that they inherited many of their very odd names.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age: On Translation

[Though Bree] was not much further than a day's riding east of the Brandywine Bridge, the Hobbits of the Shire now seldom visited it. An occasional Bucklander or adventurous Took would come out to the Inn for a night or two, but even that was becoming less and less usual.... It was not yet forgotten that there had been a time when there was much coming and going between the Shire and Bree. There was Bree-blood in the Brandybucks by all accounts.

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

The people in the Marish were friendly with the Bucklanders, and the authority of the Master of the Hall (as the head of the Brandybuck family was called) was still acknowledged by the farmers between Stock and Rushey. But most of the folk of the old Shire regarded the Bucklanders as peculiar, half foreigners as it were. Though, as a matter of fact, they were not very different from the other hobbits of the Four Farthings. Except in one point: they were fond of boats, and some of them could swim.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 5, A Conspiracy Unmasked


Notable Brandybucks
The first Shire-thain was one Bucca of the Marish, from whom the Oldbucks claimed descent. He became Thain in 379 of our reckoning (1979).

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: Eriador, Arnor, and the Heirs of Isildur: The North-kingdom and the Dúnedain

Gorhendad Oldbuck of the Marish, c. 740 [S.R.] began the building of Brandy Hall and changed the family name to Brandybuck.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix C, Family Trees

[The Battle of Bywater] has a chapter to itself in the Red Book, and the names of all those who took part were made into a Roll, and learned by heart by Shire-historians.... [At] the top of the Roll in all accounts stand the names of Captains Meriadoc [Brandybuck] and Peregrin [Took].

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

Dwellings
The houses and the holes of Shire-hobbits were often large, and inhabited by large families.... Sometimes, as in the case of the Tooks of Great Smials, or the Brandybucks of Brandy Hall, many generations of relatives lived in (comparative) peace together in one ancestral and many-tunnelled mansion.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

Behind loomed up the Buck Hill; and out of it... shone many round windows, yellow and red. They were the windows of Brandy Hall, the ancient home of the Brandybucks.

Long ago Gorhendad Oldbuck, head of the Oldbuck family, one of the oldest in the Marish or indeed in the Shire, had crossed the river, which was the original boundary of the land eastwards. He built (and excavated) Brandy Hall, changed his name to Brandybuck,1 and settled down to become master of what was virtually a small independent country. His family grew and grew, and after his days continued to grow, until Brandy Hall occupied the whole of the low hill, and had three large front-doors, many side-doors, and about a hundred windows. The Brandybucks and their numerous dependants then began to burrow, and later to build, all round about. That was the origin of Buckland, a thickly inhabited strip between the river and the Old Forest, a sort of colony from the Shire. Its chief village was Bucklebury, clustering in the banks and slopes behind Brandy Hall.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 5, A Conspiracy Unmasked

Their land was originally unprotected from the East; but on that side they had built a hedge: the High Hay. It had been planted many generations ago, and was now thick and tail, for it was constantly tended. It ran all the way from Brandywine Bridge, in a big loop curving away from the river, to Haysend (where the Withywindle flowed out of the Forest into the Brandywine): well over twenty miles from end to end. But, of course, it was not a complete protection. The Forest drew close to the hedge in many places. The Bucklanders kept their doors locked after dark, and that also was not usual in the Shire.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 5, A Conspiracy Unmasked

Notes
1Brandywine. The hobbit-names of this river were alterations of the Elvish Baranduin (accented on and), derived from baran 'golden brown' and duin '(large) river'. Of Baranduin Brandywine seemed a natural corruption in modern times. Actually the older hobbit-name was Branda-nîn 'border-water', which would have been more closely rendered by Marchbourn; but by a jest that had become habitual, referring again to its colour, at this time the river was usually called Bralda-hîm 'heady ale'.

It must be observed, however, that when the Oldbucks (Zaragamba) changed their name to Brandybuck (Brandagamba), the first element meant 'borderland', and Marchbuck would have been nearer. Only a very bold hobbit would have ventured to call the Master of Buckland Braldagamba in his hearing.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age: On Translation

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 11Sep06

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