HASA Resources

Places in Middle-earth

Michel Delving

Type: Cities, Towns, Settlements

Region: Bree/The Shire

Meaning: great excavation

Location: The chief township of the Shire; on the White Downs in the Westfarthing.

Description:

[Even] in the hilly regions and the older villages, such as Hobbiton or Tuckborough, or in the chief township of the Shire, Michel Delving on the White Downs, there were now many houses of wood, brick, or stone.

The Lord of the Rings, Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

'There's a tidy bit of money tucked away...,' said a stranger, a visitor on business from Michel Delving in the Westfarthing.

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

The only real official in the Shire at this date was the Mayor of Michel Delving 1 (or of the Shire), who was elected every seven years at the Free Fair on the White Downs at the Lithe, that is at Midsummer.

The Lord of the Rings, Prologue, Of the Ordering of the Shire

Pippin roused a good deal of laughter with an account of the collapse of the roof of the Town Hole in Michel Delving....

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

So, though there was still some store of weapons in the Shire, these were used mostly as trophies... gathered into the museum at Michel Delving. The Mathom-house it was called....

The Lord of the Rings, Prologue, Concerning Hobbits

'And then there's the Lockholes, as they call 'em: the old storage-tunnels at Michel Delving that they've made into prisons for those as stand up to them.'

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

Great stores of goods and food, and beer, were found that had been hidden away by the ruffians in sheds and barns and deserted holes, and especially in the tunnels at Michel Delving and in the old quarries at Scary....

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


Etymology
But some [Hobbit place-names] were derived, as already noted, from old hobbit-words no longer in use, and these have been represented by similar English things, such as wich, or bottle 'dwelling', or michel 'great'.

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

Michel is derived from Old English micel 'great'. It survives in modern English as mickle (and also muckle), and in place-names as Michel, Mickel- and Much- among other forms. Delving reflects the Hobbits' inclination towards digging.

The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, by Wayne G Hammond and Christina Scull, Prologue


Notes
1   It appears that there is no requirement for the Mayor to live in Michel Delving, as there is no record that Sam Gamgee moved away from Bag End in Hobbiton during his tenure as Mayor.

Contributors: Anglachel 28Apr03
Elena Tiriel 3Sep07

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