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Men of Bree

From Tolkien Gateway
(Redirected from Bree-men)
"Barliman Butterbur" by John Howe
Men of Bree
General Information
MembersBarliman Butterbur, Bill Ferny, Mat Heathertoes, Tom Pickthorn, Rowlie Appledore
Physical Description
DistinctionsCohabitation with the Hobbits
HairGenerally brown

The Men of Bree were Bree-landers, specifically the Men who lived around the Bree-land, especially the village of Bree.


Their own tales acknowledged that they descended from the first Men who wandered to the West in the late First Age but their ancestors did not reach Beleriand.[1] In the Second Age they inhabited the northern White Mountains, in the land that would be later known as Calenardhon; they were a race of Pre-Númenóreans, related to the Men of the Mountains and the Dunlendings.

During the Dark Years, some of this folk migrated northward to the dales south of the Misty Mountains. Eventually they continued to the Barrow-downs before settling the region around the tall, wooded Bree-hill.[2]


Matěj Čadil - Bree-land

According to their own tales, the Bree-men were there since the Elder Days, they survived the turmoils, they were still there when the Númenóreans came, and would remain for the following millennia.[1]

When the Kingdom of Arnor was founded, Bree-land lay inside its borders, and on the road that led to Gondor; as such the Men of Bree became subject of Arnor, and adopted Westron.[2] Around the Bree-hill, the Men of Bree established the settlement of Bree, Staddle, Archet and Combe.

In about T.A. 1300, their land was visited by the Halflings who were fleeing the encroaching darkness to the east.[3] They formed a unique society in all Middle-earth where Men and Hobbits lived beside one another. Thus they were affectionally called the "Big Folk" and the "Little Folk".[1]

The Men of Bree endured the Fall of Arnor (T.A. 1975) and continued living independently, like before its existence.[1]

During the War of the Ring some Men of Bree like Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf were spies of the Ringwraiths and later they joined Saruman's ruffians.[1][4]


In appearance, these Men were in stature short and broad, and often brown-haired. They were cheerful and provincial. In contrast to other Men, those of Bree were friendly to the other races, Hobbits, Dwarves and Elves.[1]

They seem to have maintained a curious tradition of taking their names from plants and herbs; families of the Men of Bree included Appledore, Ferny, Goatleaf, Heathertoes, Rushlight, Thistlewool and Butterbur.[5]

See also