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Dates
Named the 'Mering Stream' after the settlement of Rohan in III 2510
Location
Flowing northeastwards out of the White Mountains, forming the border between Gondor and Rohan
Race
Culture
Divided the lands of the Gondorians and Rohirrim
Source
In the Firien-dale, a valley of the White Mountains beneath the Halifirien
Tributaries
None
Outflow
Into the Entwash, after that river had begun dividing into the delta that formed its Mouths
Important peaks
The stream's spring was associated with the Halifirien
Pronunciation
Uncertain1
Meaning
'Boundary stream'
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 15 January 2020
  • This entry is complete

Mering Stream

The eastern border-river of Rohan

Map of the Mering Stream

Standing apart from the White Mountains was a lonely peak surrounded by trees: the Halifirien in the midst of the Firien Wood. In the cleft of the Firien-dale, between the height of the Halifirien and the range marching behind, rose the Mering Stream. The stream ran out approximately northwards, flowing down through the forest until it emerged onto the plain beyond, and then bending eastward through the marshes of the Fenmarch before joining the wide delta of the Mouths of Entwash. Over its entire course from its spring in the mountains, the Mering Stream ran for sixty miles or more until its joining with a branch of the wide river Entwash.

The stream had long formed the boundary between two lands. To the east lay the land of Anórien, running along the feet of the White Mountains towards Mindolluin. To the west was a wide green plain known as Calenardhon to the Gondorians, but later settled by the Rohirrim and renamed Rohan. The Elvish name for the stream was Glanhír, the 'border stream', and when the Rohirrim settled their new land they translated the name into their own tongue. So it became the Mering Stream, from Old English mēre, 'boundary'.

The Mering Stream in History

The early Gondorians built the Great West Road to connect their South-kingdom to the distant North-kingdom of Arnor, and that road crossed the Mering Stream near the point where it ran out from the trees of the Firien Wood. Here the road ran through a cutting, and the West Road passed over a bridge as it led out of Anórien. In the early years, the line of the Mering Stream was fortified from this bridge as far as the impassable marshes of Fenmarch to the north and east.2

Probably the most important historical event to involve the Mering Stream was in III 2510. Eorl of the Éothéod had ridden south to the aid of Gondor, and won a great victory at the Field of Celebrant. After the battle, he met with Steward Cirion at the stream. At that meeting, Cirion granted Eorl the province of Calenardhon westward of the stream. Three months later, they met once again at the bridge and passed from there up the mountain of the Halifirien. On the mountain, the Oath of Cirion and Eorl was sworn to formalise the arrangement, and the course of the Mering Stream was used to define the eastern border of the new land of Rohan. It was after this time that it came to be called the Mering Stream, a name that derives from the language of the Northmen (before this, its Elvish name of Glanhír would have been used).

There is no direct mention of the Mering Stream during the time of the War of the Ring, but it must have been crossed by several important figures during that War. First, Gandalf and Pippin, galloping eastward from Rohan to Minas Tirith, must have passed across the stream. Days later, the main force of the Rohirrim also passed eastward, led by Théoden and Éomer and secretly accompanied by Éowyn and Meriadoc Brandybuck, on their way to the fateful Battle of the Pelennor Fields.


Notes

1

There are two possible alternative pronunciations of the name Mering. A short e sound in Old English is usually pronounced like the vowel words like 'met' or 'mend', so that the likely intended pronunciation of Mering would be something like 'merring'. The source of the name, however, was mēre, which would have had a long 'e', so a pronunciation something like 'meering' would also be etymologically plausible. The lack of a macron ('ē') on the name Mering implies that the short e sound should probably be favoured.

2

It might seem strange for Gondor to fortify a stream that ran between two of its own provinces, as the Mering Stream did at this time. Calenardhon to the west, however, had been almost deserted at the time these fortifications were raised, and could offer little defence against marauders from further westward. Thus the line of the Mering Stream offered a last line of defence for the more populated land of Anórien to the east of the stream's course.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 15 January 2020
  • This entry is complete

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