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Bardings were the people of Dale during the later Third Age. They took their name from Bard the Dragon-shooter, a Man descended from Girion, who had been Lord of Dale when Smaug devastated it. After Bard's revenge on the Dragon, he became Lord of Dale in his own right. He was succeeded as its ruler by his son Bain, and so his line extended down to the time of the War of the Ring and beyond.

As time passed, so the lands under the power of the Bardings grew, and in the time of Bard's grandson Brand they were said to extend far to the south and east of the Long Lake. The people of the Bardings belonged to that wide-ranging branch of Men known as the Northmen, and were thus kin to both the Beornings and the Rohirrim. Though their founder Bard had been black-haired, then, the fair hair of the northern Men was often seen among this people.