The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Dates
Extant during the later Third Age1
Location
In Harrowdale, beneath the refuge of Dunharrow
Race
Division
Culture
Meaning
'Beneath the temple'2

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About this entry:

  • Updated 17 March 2021
  • This entry is complete

Underharrow

A hamlet on the river Snowbourn

Map of Underharrow
Underharrow beneath Dunharrow (somewhat conjectural)3
Underharrow beneath Dunharrow (somewhat conjectural)3

The river Snowbourn rose under the Starkhorn in the White Mountains, and flowed northwards past Edoras and onto the plains of Rohan. On its upper course, as it ran through the mountains, the river carved a deep, flat-bottomed valley hemmed by cliffs. Above the valley on its eastern side stood the place known as Dunharrow (harrow being an old word for a fane or temple) and from it the valley took its name: Harrowdale.

The river followed a course along the western side of the valley floor, and dotted along its course, on the road that ran beside the river, were small settlements of the Rohirrim. One of these villages lay at a point directly beneath Dunharrow, westward across the valley from the Stair that led up to that hold. From that location beneath the mysterious old temple, the village became known as Underharrow.

By the time of the Rohirrim, Dunharrow's original purpose had been forgotten, but its defensible location meant that the Men of Rohan maintained it as a refuge for their people in time of war. During the War of the Ring, Théoden sent his people there for protection, and also gathered his forces there. As well as occupying the open Firienfeld on the cliff-top, many of the Riders camped on the valley bottom, at the foot of the Stair that led up to the Hold. This would have placed them in the lands opposite Underharrow for a time. Soon after his arrival, Théoden led his warriors away. The Riders passed through Underharrow and its neighbouring hamlet of Upbourn a mile downriver, on their way to aid in the defence of distant Minas Tirith.


Notes

1

Underharrow was within Rohan, and therefore likely established by the Rohirrim, which would date its foundation to sometime after the foundation of Rohan in III 2510. However, the nearby Hold of Dunharrow was very considerably older than Rohan, and it is at least conceivable that some kind of settlement at Underharrow had also existed before the arrival of the Rohirrim.

2

Harrow is an old word for a temple, and here refers to Dunharrow, the ancient temple that stood on a cliff overlooking the village of Underharrow. That is, Dunharrow had been a temple when it was built by the Men of the Mountains, but to the Rohirrim in the Third Age, it was a secure refuge and encampment among the White Mountains.

3

No map shows precisely where Underharrow lay (nor the hamlet of Upbourn nearer the mouth of the valley). We do know, however, that lay it lay within Harrowdale, and close to the hold of Dunharrow (hence its name) and so it must have been relatively close to the point shown on the map for this entry.

Indexes:

About this entry:

  • Updated 17 March 2021
  • This entry is complete

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