The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
The oldest barrows on Tyrn Gorthad were said to date back as far as the First Age; they were inhabited by Barrow-wights from III 1636
Location
East of the Shire, between the Old Forest and Bree
Origins
Used as burial grounds since the earliest days of Men; evil spirits were sent to dwell here by the Witch-king in the middle years of the Third Age
Race
Built by Men, later inhabited by Barrow-wights
Pronunciation
too'rn go'rthad
Meaning
'Dread downs'1
Other names

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About this entry:

  • Updated 5 August 2019
  • This entry is complete

Tyrn Gorthad

The Barrow-downs

Map of Tyrn Gorthad

The downlands east of the Old Forest, a region that had been used as the burial grounds of Men from time immemorial. The first graves were cut there, it is said, before the ancestors of the Edain set out across the Blue Mountains into Beleriand, nearly seven thousand years before the War of the Ring.

The tradition of the Barrow-downs was carried on by the descendants of these early Men, and there is evidence that the burial chambers were used for at least the princes of Cardolan, in whose realm they came to lie many millennia after their first use.

At the height of the kingdom of Angmar, its lord the Witch-king sent out evil spirits to dwell among the barrows of Tyrn Gorthad, and it became a haunted place, shunned alike by the Men and the Hobbits who lived nearby.


Notes

1

The name element Tyrn is not seen elsewhere, but seems to be a pluralised noun form of Sindarin thorn, 'down'. Gorthad derives from the adjective gorth, 'dread' or 'haunted' with a geographic ending -had. This name must have been chosen after the Barrow-wights inhabited downs, and so must have been given after III 1636 when the wights first appeared there. Of any earlier name for these downs we have no hint.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 5 August 2019
  • This entry is complete

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