From Tolkien Gateway
Ceorl from The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game
Biographical Information
PositionMessenger of Erkenbrand
LanguageRohanese and Westron
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Ceorl

Come, stand before me, Ceorl!

Ceorl was a rider of Rohan at the end of the Third Age.


After the loss of the Second Battle of the Fords of Isen, Erkenbrand withdrew his Riders to Helm's Deep, and sent Ceorl south as a messenger to warn Éomer.[2] He was surprised to come across King Théoden's army riding north, ready to launch their own defence of the Fords. The news brought by Ceorl caused Théoden to reconsider his strategy, and he rode instead to join Erkenbrand at Helm's Deep, so setting the stage for the mighty Battle of the Hornburg.[1]


Like other Rohirrim, Ceorl's name comes from Old English. It refers to a particular rank in Anglo-Saxon society (also known as Carl and Churl), in fact the lowest rank possible while remaining a freeman. Historically, these people would not normally have been professional soldiers, so if Ceorl's background follows his name, we might guess that he was a farmer or tradesman who had been pressed into military service to help deal with the imminent threat to Rohan.

Portrayal in adaptations

Ceorlin adaptations
Ceorlfrom The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game
Ceorlin The Lord of the Rings Online

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

Ceorl is omitted. Gandalf simply breaks off the main unit and rides to the Crossings of the Isen.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series)

Ceorl was voiced by Michael McStay. Virtually the whole of Ceorl's dialogue from the book was retained in the production.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

As Théoden rode directly to the Hornburg, so there was no need for a messenger.

2001-2007: The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game:

A Decipher card identifies a one of the riders of Rohan as Ceorl.

2013: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Ceorl encounters King Theoden's riders on their way from Edoras to the Fords of Isen. His only lines are nearly identical to those in the book.