Tolkien Gateway

Hornblower Family

The Hornblower Family was an old and important family of the Shire's Southfarthing. Its most famous member was Tobold Hornblower of Longbottom, who introduced pipe-weed into the Shire, and his family remained associated with the industry.[1] Their Longbottom Leaf variety was famous, and indeed barrels of Leaf bearing the Hornblower mark were found as far afield as the ruins of Isengard. It should be noted that the hobbits considered their habit of smoking an art, and that Perigrin Took and Meridoc Brandybuck were very excited when they found the stash at Isengard.[2]

From Tobold's time, and perhaps earlier, the Hornblowers were one of the Shire's more important families. The importance of the family is also seen in the jewel-name of Amethyst, and her marriage into the Bolger Family.[3] Frodo Baggins himself had Hornblower blood — his great-grandfather Largo Baggins married one Tanta Hornblower.[4]

[edit] Etymology

The meaning of this old family name is occupational; perhaps one of Tobold's ancestors, or himself, actually did blow a horn of some kind.[5] Perhaps the name is a punning reference to pipe-smoking.

[edit] Inspiration

Hornblow and Hornblower are real-life English surnames.[5]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Pipe-weed"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Flotsam and Jetsam"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix C, "Bolger of Budgeford"
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix C, "Baggins of Hobbiton"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, "Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings" in Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull (eds), The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion, p. 760