Mat Heathertoes

From Tolkien Gateway
Mat Heathertoes
Man of Bree
The Lord of the Rings Online - Mat Heathertoes.jpg
Mat Heathertoes from The Lord of the Rings Online
Biographical Information
DeathT.A. 3019
Physical Description
GalleryImages of Mat Heathertoes
"All good fellows, and they're missed"
Barliman Butterbur[1]

Mat Heathertoes (died Third Age 3019) was a Man of Bree.


With the War of the Ring raging in the South-east, many refugees came up the Greenway to Bree. Not all these refugees came with the same intentions: a group of ruffians was ousted from the town near the end of T.A. 3018. With the help of Bill Ferny and Harry Goatleaf, they returned soon after New Year, and a fight ensued. The number of casualties on the side of the ruffians was not recorded, but five of the Bree-folk, three Men and two Hobbits, were killed. Mat Heathertoes was one of them.[1]


Mat was a name employed by Tolkien to translate the common (but untranslated) Hobbit name Matta.[2] The name Heathertoes was, like all surnames of the Men of Bree, a plant name,[3] though this seems to have escaped Tolkien when he wrote a list for translators. In it he said Heathertoes was a Hobbit name, and was given in joke to the unshod Hobbits. While walking, they would gather twigs and moss between their toes.[4] However, Mat was most certainly a Man: given that two of the five were Hobbits[1], and the last two named victims - Willie Banks and an Underhill were both positively identified as Hobbits as well.[3][4]

Portrayal in adaptations[edit]

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

Though the "set-to" with the ruffians is mentioned by Butterbur, he does not give the names of the casualties.[5]

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Mat Heathertoes is an impoverished man of Bree living in Beggar's Alley with a half-starved pony. In the Skirmish instance Thievery and Mischief, the half-orc Bálak kills an unlabeled man who appears to be Mat before engaging the player in combat.