Mat Heathertoes

From Tolkien Gateway
Mat Heathertoes
Man of Bree
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

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

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.