The main branches of the Brandybuck family, focusing on the descent of the Masters of Buckland (shown in bold), and the Brandybuck ancestry of Frodo Baggins. Many of the individual Hobbits shown here founded other branches of the family, not seen in this simple diagram.
An old family of the Shire found mostly in Buckland, descended from the Oldbucks, and ultimately from Bucca of the Marish, the first Thain of the Shire. The family was founded by Gorhendad Oldbuck who, settling in Buckland beyond the Brandywine River, changed his family name to 'Brandybuck'.
Before founding Buckland, Gorhendad had been the Thain of the Shire, and though he now passed that title on to the Tooks, he maintained considerable authority. In Buckland, the new Brandybuck line effectively became lords of their own little kingdom. Their seat was in the great smial within Buck Hill known as Brandy Hall, beneath which the town of Bucklebury sprang up. Over time, the power of the Masters of the Hall extended even across the river into the Shire: many of the inhabitants of the Marish in the Eastfarthing were said to acknowledge the Master of Buckland.
Gorhendad settled in Buckland in the year III 2340, but after his time we have little recorded history of his descendants for some four centuries. The next important Brandybuck to arise was Gormadoc, born in the year III 2734 (or 1134 by the Shire-reckoning). Gormadoc was famous for extending and expanding Brandy Hall even further, earning himself the nickname 'Deepdelver' for his efforts.
Nicknames, such as 'Deepdelver', were common among the Brandybucks, and in fact each of the Masters who followed Gormadoc had a similar epithet. His heir Madoc went by the name 'Proudneck', Madoc's son Marmadoc was 'the Masterful', and so on.
The line of the Masters of Buckland continued for many generations after the time of Gormadoc and his descendants. At the time of Bilbo's Farewell Party, the Master of the Hall was Rorimac the Goldfather, more commonly known as 'Old Rory'. At the time Frodo and his companions set out for Rivendell, seventeen years later, Rorimac had been succeeded by his son Saradoc, known as 'Scattergold'.
Most famous of all the Brandybucks was Saradoc's son Meriadoc, or 'Merry', who journeyed with Frodo and the Company of the Ring, and eventually became a sword-thain to the King of Rohan. He was also a scholar, and in the year IV 11 he succeeded his father to become Master of Buckland, acquiring the title 'Meriadoc the Magnificent'.
'Brandybuck' is an anglicisation of this family's actual name, which was Brandagamba (relating to the actual river-name Branda-nîn). The branda element in both these names actually means 'border' or 'march', so that Tolkien suggests that 'Marchbuck' would have been a more literally correct translation of the name. 'Brandybuck', however, maintains the connection with the wide river that ran near their ancestral home at Buck Hill.
Given that the Brandybucks arose from a famous ancestor actually named 'Bucca', it would seem natural to presume that the element bucca is the one intended. However, bucc was proposed as an alternative possibility by Tolkien himself, hence its inclusion here.
Bolger Family, Brandagamba Family, Brandy Hall, Buck Hill, Buckland, Bucklanders, Deepdelver, Dinodas Brandybuck, Eastmarch of the Shire, Fallohides, Folklands, Frodo Baggins, Goold Family, Gorbulas Brandybuck, Gorhendad Oldbuck (later Brandybuck), [See the full list...]
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