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Built after the foundation of the Shire in III 1601 (year 1 by the Shire-reckoning)
ma'thom (to rhyme with the English word fathom)
A mathom was an item with no immediate use, but which a Hobbit did not wish to throw away1
Other names
Commonly referred to as the 'museum' at Michel Delving


About this entry:

  • Updated 25 May 2023
  • Updates planned: 1


The 'museum' of Michel Delving

Map of the Mathom-house in Michel Delving
The Mathom-house in Michel Delving (conjectural)2
The Mathom-house in Michel Delving (conjectural)2

A place in Michel Delving where the Hobbits collected and displayed items they had no particular use for. It was known to contain a store of weapons, and for a time also held Bilbo's mithril coat.



The word mathom is in fact a projection by Tolkien of how the Old English word māðm might have evolved if it had survived into modern English. That old word had a similar meaning to mathom as used by the Hobbits, but not quite identical, referring a small treasure or gift such as a ring or a jewel. As a derivation of Old English, the word mathom was not actually used by in the Shire (which long predated that language); instead, it represents a 'translation' of the actual old word used by the Hobbits, which was kastu.


We have no canonical map of Michel Delving, and certainly not of the Mathom-house within it. Much of the map shown here is conjectural, based on the directions of known roads and the larger-scale geography of the region, but it does give some impression of where the Mathom-house lay relative to the better-known parts of the Shire.

See also...

Mathoms, Mithril


About this entry:

  • Updated 25 May 2023
  • Updates planned: 1

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