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Battle of Bywater

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Battle of Bywater
Conflict: War of the Ring
Date: November 3, T.A. 3019
Place: Bywater, the Shire
Outcome: Scouring of the Shire


Sharkey's men


Meriadoc Brandybuck, Peregrin Took, Tolman Cotton Senior



100 Ruffians


19 Hobbits killed, 30 wounded

70 Ruffians killed, 12 captured

The Battle of Bywater was the last military engagement of the War of the Ring, and the second battle to have been fought in the Shire



When Frodo and his companions returned from the Coronation of Elessar, they found their homeland to be under the dominion of Ruffians. These Men had been pouring in the Shire since late 3018, and were under the command of "the Chief", or "Sharkey", who outlawed everything Hobbits held dear; food and inns most notably. It didn't take Merry, Pippin and Sam long to violate several rules:

You're arrested for Gate-breaking, and Tearin up of Rules, and Assaulting Gatekeepers, and Tresspassing, and Sleeping in Shire-buildings without Leave, and Bribing Guards with Food.1

The four Hobbits were arrested, but managed to talk themselves out of custody, and subsequently rally the Hobbits to overthrow the Chief. A small group of Men was encountered, and Pippin declared the return of the King to them, and the message that emissaries were on their way. When he was scoffed, he declared himself the emissary, as he wasn't released from Elessar's service yet. The group was routed, but managed to get a message to a bigger contignent in Waymeet.


As 20 Men from Hobbiton marched towards Bywater, 200 Bucklanders answered the call of Captain Merry's horn. In Bywater, barricades were set up at the command of Merry. Meanwhile, the Cottons also joined the group.

When the Men came, they did not expect a trap. They walked up Bywater Road, up to the point where Farmer Cotton was standing. They threatened him, but found themselves heavily outnumbered, and as the hobbits closed the barricade behind them, also surrounded. Their leader fell by arrows as he tried to strike at Merry. The rest surrendered.

The larger group of Men from Waymeet arrived the following day. In the meantime, Pippin had set up a rebellion in Tookland, and returned with one hundred Tooks. Merry set up a defensive pocket on a heavily banked part of the Bywater Road. The Men walked straight into the pocket. Some surrendered, some escaped, and about twenty broke out. Six men and two hobbits were killed. The others now became desperate, and didn't care about escaping, only killing. The banks proved to steep to climb, and many fell before Hobbit axes. Merry and Pippin charged from the eastern bank, and Merry killed the leader


In the end, nearly 70 Men were killed and 12 were taken prisoner, while 19 Hobbits died and about 30 were wounded. The dead Men were buried in a nearby sand-pit that came to be called the Battle Pit. The Hobbits were buried separately, and a stone was placed on their grave with a garden around it. A Roll was made of the names of all the Hobbits who fought in the Battle of Bywater, with Captains Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took listed at the top.

After the victory at Bywater, the Hobbits marched on to Bag End, where they found Sharkey. It was not Lotho, but rather Saruman. Saruman was sent away by Frodo, and Saruman revealed that his servant Gríma killed Lotho. Gríma cut Saruman's throat in revenge for years of emotional supression, but was himself shot by Hobbit archers. As the spirit of Saruman rose from its bodily form, it was blown away by a wind from the West; Manwë did not want him back.

The following year, preparations were made to restore the damage done by Saruman. Sam spread the seeds from the box of Galadriel, and planted the mallorn-seed where once the The Party Tree had stood. 1420, by Shire Reckoning, became one of the best harvest years ever.

Portrayal in adaptations

Due to the anti-climactic nature of the battle, both the Rankin/Bass and the Peter Jackson movies left out the Battle of Bywater.


  1. The Return of the King; Homeward Bound, The Scouring of the Shire, The Grey Havens
War of the Ring
Osgiliath (1) · Fords of Isen · Isengard · Hornburg · Osgiliath (2) · Dale · Siege of Gondor · Pelennor Fields · Black Gate · Dol Guldur · Bywater