The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Founded no earlier than III 16011 (year 1 by the Shire-reckoning): survived into the Fourth Age
Location
The White Downs, in the Westfarthing of the Shire
Race
Culture
Pronunciation
The pronunciation of 'Michel' is uncertain, but is probably something like 'Mitchell'2. 'Delving' is pronounced as in English.
Meaning
'Great Excavation'3

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About this entry:

  • Updated 19 September 1999
  • Updates planned: 3

Michel Delving

The chief township of the Shire

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The chief town of the Shire in the White Downs, that lay in the Westfarthing of the Shire. Its name means simply 'large excavation'.


Notes

1

We have no date for the foundation of Michel Delving, but its size and its status as chief township both point to a foundation early in the Shire's history.

2

'Michel' comes from Old English Micel. In Old English, the letter 'c' (in these circumstances, at least) would normally be pronounced as modern 'ch'. So, in rendering the name 'Michel', Tolkien simply seems to be adjusting the spelling to make it simpler for a modern audience to read and pronounce.

3

micel is Old English for 'big', 'great': it occurs also in Mickleburg, a Mannish name for the Dwarf-city of Belegost. It serves to distinguish this larger township from Little Delving, that stood nearby to the north.

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