The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien


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  • Updated 16 July 2005
  • Updates planned: 2

Heathertoes Family

A name among the Bree-folk

One of the strange botanical names preferred by the people of Bree, though it is difficult to be sure whether it belonged to the Big Folk or the Little Folk (that is, to Men or to Hobbits). In The Lord of the Rings, the evidence certainly seems to point towards the Big Folk. There, the name is listed among those used by the Men of Bree, and Mat Heathertoes, who is named as one of the casualties of Bree during fighting there, appears to be listed among Men rather than Hobbits.

On the other hand, Tolkien elsewhere gives the etymology of the name, and suggests it started out as a nickname given by Men to Hobbits. The suggestion here is that the name 'Heathertoes' started life as a joking suggestion that the bootless Hobbits collected heather between their toes. On this basis, the Heathertoes must have been Hobbits - unless of course there were actually two families in Bree who shared the surname, one of Men and one of Hobbits.

See also...

Heather, Men of Bree

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