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  • Updated 2 June 2020
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Havens of the Shipwrights

Brithombar and Eglarest

After the Great Journey across ancient Middle-earth, as the Teleri waited in Beleriand to be carried into the West, one group of them paused by the western coasts. There they encountered Ossë, a Maia of the Sea, who persuaded them to abandon their journey and remain behind in Middle-earth. These were the followers of Círdan the Shipwright, and they settled in a shoreland region named the Falas, from which they took their Elvish name, the Falathrim. With the teaching of Ossë, these people became the first shipwrights and mariners among the Elves.

In the Falas these Shipwrights made two walled Havens for themselves, each standing at the head of a bay formed where a river ran down into the Great Sea. The haven to the west lay at the mouth of the river Brithon, and was named Brithombar, while to the east lay Eglarest at the mouth of the river Nenning. Between the two havens a promontory of land extended southwards into the Sea.

From these Havens, Círdan's people sailed the coasts of Middle-earth. Even early in their existence, they had at least some presence on the Isle of Balar to the south, gathering pearls from the shallows around the island.

The Havens in the Wars of Beleriand

The Shipwrights lived in peace in their Havens for three ages, but that peace was shattered by the return of Morgoth to Middle-earth. He sent his creatures south from Angband to ravage the lands of Beleriand, and Orcs wandered unchecked across Middle-earth during this time. The walls of the Havens held, but beyond them was destruction and war. Soon afterward, the Noldor followed Morgoth into Middle-earth and fought the Battle-under-Stars that saw the Orcs defeated and a tenuous peace established once again. The Falathrim fought in that battle, with Círdan leading his people out from the Havens to aid the Noldor.

After their victory, the returned Noldor held a Feast of Reuniting in the North, and Círdan went to this feast with others of his Falathrim. It seems that the Shipwrights established strong relations with the Noldor at this time, at least strong enough to allow one of the Noldor, Finrod son of Finarfin, to build a great watchtower in the Falas. This tower, Barad Nimras, was raised on the headland that ran out into the Sea between Brithombar and Eglarest.

As the centuries passed, the power of Morgoth grew steadily in the North. In the battle of the Dagor Bragollach, the northern defences of the Noldor were broken, and their High King, Fingolfin, was slain. Fingolfin's son Fingon became High King at that time, and Fingon sent his own heir, Ereinion Gil-galad, to be kept in safety with Círdan at the Havens. Soon another great battle would be fought in the North, one that was disastrous for the Elves and their allies. Many fled southwards from the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, seeking refuge behind the high walls of the Havens of the Shipwrights, and Círdan sent out his mariners to rescue others from the coastlands.

With the defeat of the Elves in battle, Morgoth was now free to send his forces against the Havens of the Shipwrights, and he did so the following year. Armies of Orcs swarmed southward along the rivers Brithon and Nenning, bringing with them great siege engines against which even the Havens' walls could not endure. The Havens were overrun and ravaged, and most of their people were slain or carried back to Angband as slaves.

Thus the Havens were overrun by the Orcs, but Círdan and some few of his Shipwrights survived. They set out to Sea and so evaded their enemies, taking with them the new High King, Gil-galad. They sailed southwards to found new havens on the Isle of Balar and at the Mouths of Sirion. At times ships of the Falathrim would sail back northwards, joining with raiders from Nargothrond to attack their occupied Havens. Despite these efforts, the Havens of the Shipwrights were never recaptured, and their ruins would be claimed by the Great Sea in the tumults of the War of Wrath that followed.


For a detailed list of all the Havens of the Shipwrights, see the entry for Havens of the Falas.


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  • Updated 2 June 2020
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