HASA Resources

Timeline Event

Great Year of Plenty

Event Type: General

Age: 3rd Age - Post-Ring War

Year: 3020

Description:

The year of recovery following the end of the War of the Ring was an especially bountiful one for the Shire:
S.R. 1420: The Great Year of Plenty

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Chief Days from the Fall of the Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age

The Overlithe1 was a day of special holiday.... It occurred in 1420, the year of the famous harvest and wonderful summer, and the merry-making in that year is said to have been the greatest in memory or record.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D, The Calendars

Altogether 1420 in the Shire was a marvellous year. Not only was there wonderful sunshine and delicious rain, in due times and perfect measure, but there seemed something more: an air of richness and growth, and a gleam of a beauty beyond that of mortal summers that flicker and pass upon this Middle-earth....

The fruit was so plentiful that young hobbits very nearly bathed in strawberries and cream; and later they sat on the lawns under the plum-trees and ate, until they had made piles of stones like small pyramids or the heaped skulls of a conqueror, and then they moved on. And no one was ill, and everyone was pleased, except those who had to mow the grass.

In the Southfarthing the vines were laden, and the yield of 'leaf' was astonishing; and everywhere there was so much corn 2 that at Harvest every barn was stuffed. The Northfarthing barley was so fine that the beer of 1420 malt was long remembered and became a byword. Indeed a generation later one might hear an old gaffer in an inn, after a good pint of well-earned ale, put down his mug with a sigh: 'Ah! that was proper fourteen-twenty, that was!'

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

Spring surpassed [Sam's] wildest hopes. His trees began to sprout and grow, as if time was in a hurry and wished to make one year do for twenty. In the Party Field a beautiful young sapling leaped up: it had silver bark and long leaves and burst into golden flowers in April. It was indeed a mallorn, and it was the wonder of the neighbourhood.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

Sam Gamgee married Rose Cotton in the Spring of 1420 (which was also famous for its weddings)....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

All the children born or begotten in that year, and there were many, were fair to see and strong, and most of them had a rich golden hair that had before been rare among hobbits.

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch 9, The Grey Havens

[Elanor Gamgee, born in March, 3021] became known as 'the Fair' because of her beauty; many said that she looked more like an elf-maid than a hobbit. She had golden hair, which had been very rare in the Shire; but two others of Samwise's daughters were also golden-haired, and so were many of the children born at this time.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, The Tale of Years: The Chief Days from the Fall of the Barad-dûr to the End of the Third Age, Footnote


Notes
1Overlithe occurred only in leap years. Every month in the Shire calendar had thirty days, but between June 30 and July 1 of each year, three extra days were inserted: 1 Lithe, Mid-year's Day, and 2 Lithe. Overlithe was a fourth day inserted during leap years between Mid-year's day and 2 Lithe:

Every year began on the first day of the week, Saturday, and ended on the last day of the week, Friday. The Mid-year's Day, and in Leap-years the Overlithe, had no week-day name. The Lithe before Mid-year's Day was called 1 Lithe, and the one after was called 2 Lithe.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D, The Calendars

2Note that by "corn", Tolkien most likely refers to wheat, rather than maize:

cornChiefly British Any of various cereal plants or grains, especially the principal crop cultivated in a particular region, such as wheat in England or oats in Scotland.

"corn." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 02 Mar. 2010.
<Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/corn>.

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 20Aug07, 28Jan10

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