In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional universe of Middle-earth, the Thain was the traditional military leader of the Hobbits of the Shire (compare Thegn). The Hobbits first chose a Thain to "hold the authority of the king" when Arvedui, last King of Arnor, was lost and the kingship in the North discontinued. The Thainship was originally held by the Oldbuck Clan. In 740 SR, it passed to the Tooks, and has remained a hereditary position in their clan ever since. Though a viceregal position, the Thain never wielded significant political authority, as the Shire remained a very loosely organized society and rarely faced military threats from outside.
List of Thains of the Shire
The office of Thain generally passed from father to son, unless otherwise noted.
Thains of the Oldbuck Line
- Bucca of the Marish (first Thain, elected in T.A. 1979 after the Kingdom of Arnor ended)
- eleven additional Thains of the Oldbuck clan (the clan was probably named for Bucca)
- Gorhendad Oldbuck (possibly the 12th Thain), crossed over the Brandywine and became the first Master of Buckland
Thains of the Took line
Thains of the Took line were also the heads of the Took clan, in which capacity they were called "the Took".
- Isumbras I Took (became 13th Thain and first of the Took line in T.A. 2340)
- eight Took Thains, including
- Isengrim I
- Isumbras II
- Ferumbras I
- Paladin I
- Isengrim II Took (became 22nd Thain and 10th of the Took line in 2683; died 2722)
- Isumbras III Took (23rd Thain 2722-2759)
- Ferumbras II Took (24th Thain 2759-2801); older brother of Bullroarer Took.
- Fortinbras I Took (25th Thain 2801-2848)
- Gerontius Took, the Old Took (26th Thain 2848-2920)
- Isengrim III Took (27th Thain 2920-2930)
- Isumbras IV Took (28th Thain 2930-2939); brother of Isengrim III
- Fortinbras II Took (29th Thain 2939-2980)
- Ferumbras III Took (30th Thain 2980-3015, died unmarried)
- Paladin II Took (31st Thain in 3015); cousin of Ferumbras III
- Peregrin "Pippin" Took I (became 32nd Thain in 13 F.A., abdicated 63)
- Faramir Took I (became 33rd Thain after his father left for Gondor in 63 F.A.)
The dictionary definition of thane at Wiktionary
- Tolkien, J. R. R. (1955), The Return of the King, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), Appendix A, ISBN 0-395-08256-0
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