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From Tolkien Gateway
(Redirected from Shirriff)
Frodo encounters the Shirriff at Frogmorton by Paula DiSante

Shirrifs were the sole law enforcement officials in the Shire and the main branch of the Watch. Since in the Shire, The Rules were based solely on common sense and the ancient tradition, it was not broken. It was the Shirriffs' job to protect the Shire from various beasts more than anything. There were a total of twelve in all of the Shire, three in each Farthing, and they were distinguished from "civilians" by a feather worn in their caps.[1]

A larger body of the Watch was the "Special Constabulary" power, where Hobbits were deputized into patrolling the borders, which were called Bounders.

The number of Shirriffs was increased when Saruman had infiltrated the Shire, and had taken control, with the help of ruffians like Bill Ferny. Saruman had increased the number to suppress any revolts, and arrest anybody who broke the rules. They were assigned in companies such as the First Eastfarthing Troop, though that was not enough to prevent Frodo, Sam, Merry, Pippin, and others from liberating the Shire-folk.[2]

Hobbit Shirriffs by Teodort92


Shirriff is an archaic rendition of "sheriff". Both mean "shire-reeve" (Old English scīrgerefa). The archaism was made to make the connection to the Shire more obvious.

Shirriff is supposed to be a translation of a Hobbitish word, derived from their former language related to Rohirric, not necessarily a Westron word.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

2003: Pán prsteňov (2001-2003 Slovak radio series):

The voice of an unnamed First Eastfarthing Troop shirriff is provided by Viliam Polónyi. The shirriff appears in the final episode of the series, in the part of the storyline that adapts the Scouring of the Shire.

See also