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Started III 1601 (Year 1 by the Shire-reckoning)
Specifically associated with the Shire (and based on the date of its foundation)
Shire comes from Old English scír, meaning a land granted as a fiefdom
Other names
Commonly abbreviated to 'S.R.'


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 June 2015
  • This entry is complete


The count of years according to the Shire-hobbits

The system of reckoning dates unique to the Hobbits of the Shire, based on the founding of that land in III 1601. The Shire-hobbits reckoned this as year 1. So, years of the Third Age can be converted to Shire-years by subtracting 1600 (e.g. the Downfall of Barad-dûr occurred in III 3019, but in the Shire this was counted as the year 1419).

The Shire-folk took no account of the change of Age in III 3021. While the other peoples of Middle-earth considered this to be the first year of the Fourth Age, in the Shire it was simply 1422.1

Key Events in the History of the Shire

All dates shown here follow the Shire-reckoning.

1 (III 1601) The foundation of the Shire. Marcho and Blanco lead many Hobbits from Bree to settle the lands west of Baranduin.
c. 30 (III 1630) Stoors moving northward from the lands between Tharbad and Dunland enter the Shire and swell its population, settling especially in the Eastfarthing.
379 (III 1979) Following the loss of Arvedui, last King of Arthedain (and thus overlord of the Shire-folk), the Hobbits of the Shire choose a Thain to act in his place. Bucca of the Marish becomes the first of these Shire-thains.
740 (III 2340) Gorhendad Oldbuck, a descendant of Bucca, crosses the Brandywine to found Buckland and become its first Master, changing his family name to Brandybuck. His place as Thain of the Shire is taken over by Isumbras Took I, establishing a line of Took Shire-thains that will last to the War of the Ring and beyond.
1158 (III 2758) In November a winter sets in that will become known as the Long Winter, lasting until March of the following year. This was a perilous time for the Shire-folk, and it is recorded that they were helped to survive the winter by Gandalf.
1290 (III 2890) On 22 September, Bilbo Baggins is born, the only son of Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took.
1341 (III 2941) In the spring, Bilbo Baggins receives a surprising visit by Gandalf the Wizard and a party of thirteen Dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield. Thus begins the Quest of Erebor, on which Bilbo disappears from the Shire and does not return until the following year.
1368 (III 2968) Frodo Baggins, later to become heir to Bilbo Baggins and Ring-bearer, is born in the Shire.
1401 (III 3001) 22 September Bilbo Baggins holds his 111th Birthday Party (also marking Frodo's 33rd birthday) in the Party Field beneath Bag End. After a memorable Speech, he vanishes and departs from the Shire.
1418 (III 3018) 23 September On the day after his fiftieth birthday, Frodo Baggins sets out from Bag End with the Ring, accompanied by Sam Gamgee and Peregrin Took, beginning the journey that will lead him to Mount Doom in Mordor.
1419 (III 3019) Late in this year, Saruman arrives in the Shire in the guise of 'Sharkey' and takes up its rule personally. On 30 October, Frodo and his companions return to the Shire and begin to raise the Shire-folk. On 3 November Saruman is murdered by his servant Gríma, bringing the War of the Ring to a close.
1420 (III 3020) This was the so-called Great Year of Plenty in the Shire. After the fall of Saruman, Sam Gamgee uses the gift given him by Galadriel to spread the grey earth of Lórien around the Shire, and he plants a silver nut in the Party Field. During the spring and summer of 1420, there is a great growth throughout the Shire: a mallorn grows where the Party Tree had stood, and harvests are extraordinarily plentiful.
1421 (III 3021) In the autumn of this year, the White Ship sails from the Grey Havens bearing the Three Keepers away from Middle-earth, accompanied by Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. This year is accounted the last of the Third Age, but while the calendars of Men restart their year count for the Fourth Age, the Shire-reckoning continues an unbroken count of years.
1452 (IV 31) By royal decree, the Shire is expanded in this year to include the lands to its west, as far as the Tower Hills. This new region becomes known as Westmarch, and its Wardens the Fairbairns are descendants of Samwise Gamgee.
1541 (IV 120) The year of the death of King Aragorn Elessar, and of the departure of Legolas (and apparently also Gimli) from Middle-earth. Though not directly relevant to the Shire in itself, this date is significant as being the last annal we have using the notation of the Shire-reckoning.



Somewhat confusingly, there are two possible systems for converting Shire years into years of the Fourth Age. According to an alternative approach, the first year of the Fourth Age would be 1421 by the Shire-reckoning, rather than 1422. For more on this topic, see the section Converting Fourth Age Dates in the entry for the Fourth Age.


About this entry:

  • Updated 16 June 2015
  • This entry is complete

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