In the works of J.R.R. Tolkien the Buckland is an outlier of the Shire. It lies on the eastern edge of the Shire, across the River Brandywine, and is a narrow strip of land bounded on its east by the Old Forest. The hobbits of Buckland hold allegiance to the head of the Brandybuck family, heir of its founder Gorhendad Oldbuck.

He crossed from the Marish, in the Eastfarthing, in the year 740 (Shire Reckoning, or 2340 of the Third Age) and began to build a great hobbit-hole in the side of Buck Hill. He changed the family name from Oldbuck to Borderbuck, but they are universally known by the slightly altered form Brandybuck. (This is a pun in the Common Speech, translated into English, and will be explained below.) The home he started is called Brandy Hall.

Around it grew the village of Bucklebury. A more remote village in the Buckland is Crickhollow, and here it was that Frodo Baggins bought a house when he sold up Bag End in Hobbiton: under pretence of moving to Buckland, where he had grown up, he was going to leave the Shire altogether taking the One Ring with him. As it was he only stayed one night there, with the Black Riders being on his trail.

Because of dangers from the Old Forest they built a bordering hedge on that side, called the High Hay, and this gave its name to another village, Haysend in the south. At the north end was a gate in the hedge, near the Brandywine Bridge, part of the Great Road from east to west. In between these there was a ferry between the Marish and the Buckland.

Their situation made the Bucklanders unusual by hobbit standards: they locked their doors at night, and they knew how to swim and use boats. The hobbits of the Four Farthings regarded them as almost foreign, though in reality they were hardly different from the relatives across the Brandywine. The head of the Brandybuck family was called the Master of the Hall, and at the time of the War of the Ring this was Saradoc, father of Frodo's companion Meriadoc. The recorded Masters of latter times were, father to son:

Gormadoc 'Deepdelver'           -1236
Madoc 'Proudneck'           1236-1277
Marmadoc 'Masterful'        1277-1310
Gorbadoc 'Broadbelt'        1310-1363
Rorimac 'Goldfather'        1363-1408 ('Old Rory')
Saradoc 'Scattergold'       1408-1432
Meriadoc 'the Magnificent'  1432-1484 (resigned, went to Gondor)
Defence of the Buckland was coordinated by their Horn-call. This had last been sounded in 1311, the Fell Winter, when wolves crossed the frozen Brandywine. In the War of the Ring (1418-9) it was winded when Fredegar Bolger escaped the sack of Frodo's Crickhollow house by a Black Rider; then again a year later by Merry on a great horn of Rohan when they summoned the hobbits of the Shire to rise up against the rule of Lotho and Sharkey.

Oldbuck, Marchbuck, Brandybuck, Brandywine

The Elvish name of the River Brandywine was Baranduin, "golden-brown water". The hobbits originally rendered this as Branda-nîn "Border-water", but this was replaced in normal use by a punning name Bralda-hîm "heady ale", also referring to the colour. It is this situation that Tolkien translates by using the English form Brandywine.

In the Westron, the Common Speech actually used by the hobbits, the Oldbuck family was called Zaragamba, and Gorhendad changed this to Brandagamba "Border-buck" when he crossed the border. But the hobbits applied the same pun and called them Braldagamba "Heady-buck" (or perhaps "Ale-buck", I'm not sure). This was the usual name of the family, except addressing the Master himself, and is what Tolkien therefore translates as Brandybuck.

Tolkien preferred the word march for border, and would have used Marchbourne and Marchbuck for the formal names, had any need arisen in the story.

Buckland, Bookland

The English name Buckland, as a surname and a place name, comes from bookland, which means land held by bóc, "charter". In Old English law bócland was held by an individual given the charter, as opposed to folcland held either collectively or by common law.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.