Excavation of the Great Smials was began in T.A. 2683 by Thain Isengrim Took II. It was said that Gerontius Took lived in the old room in the Great Place of the Tooks for year after year, with both he and the room becoming older and shabbier together (and the room remained unchanged for a century after his death).
On the night before the Battle of Bywater in T.A. 3019, Peregrin Took rode to the Great Smials to raise an army of Tooks for the fight. In the morning he brought back from Tuckborough and the surrounding Green Hills a hundred Hobbits before the Ruffians arrived.
By the end of the first century of the Fourth Age the Great Smials held one of the largest repositories of historical books and records in the Shire. In the library, Peregrin Took and his successors collected many manuscripts written by scribes of Gondor, including the King's Writer Findegil's important copy of the Thain's Book. Here could be found histories and legends related to Elendil and his heirs, and only here were extensive materials about the history of Númenor and the arising of Sauron. The Tale of Years was probably assembled here.
Portrayal in adaptations
The Lord of the Rings Online Multiplayer Online game properly features the Great Smials at the center of Tuckborough, with the current Thain residing inside the main hall and many other Tooks living in adjacent Hobbit holes. Players can visit Great Smials at two different points in Timeline: in October of T.A. 3018 during the peaceful time and later during Summer of T.A. 3019, when the Shire is overrun by Sharkey's brigands. During the later encounter, the Tooks have barricaded themselves inside Smials, which are besieged by Brigands; the player(s) is given the task of thinning their ranks and slaying their leader, preventing the Ruffians from burning the Tooks out.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Hobbits"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "Treebeard"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Scouring of the Shire"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Note on the Shire Records"