Tolkien Gateway

The Rules

The Rules were essential laws that the Shire-hobbits kept of their own free will, recognising their justness and antiquity. They attributed them to the old King of Arthedain.[1]

During the time of the Kings, the Hobbits were obliged to acknowledge their lordship, to speed their messengers, and to maintain the Shire's bridges and roads.[2] Possibly their obligations included allowing the King to visit the land three times a year for hunting, as the woods and moorlands of the Shire had been a royal park.[3]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Of the Ordering of the Shire"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Hobbits"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "I. The Prologue", p.9