Bywater was a village of Hobbits in the central Shire, just north off the Great East Road, a few minutes from Hobbiton. Bywater saw more strange travelers than most rural areas of the Shire, though most were harmless.
- Type: Hobbit Village
- Inhabitants: 50% Harfoot, 40% Fallohide, 10% Stoor
- Population: 360
- Origin: Settled as a crossroads village by Men of Arthedain, early Third Age; displaced by migrations of Hobbits to the Shire, TA 1601-1610
- Purpose: An agricultural and pastoral community.
Bywater was founded as a crossroads village in the early Third Age by Men of Arthedain in the backwater province of Siragalë. When King Argeleb II created the Shire in TA 1601, Hobbits flooded into the Fairwater valley, centered on their new settlement of Hobbiton, and quickly overwhelmed the Mannish inhabitants of Bywater, much to the bitterness of the King's appointed reeve and his people. Forty years into the Shire-settlement, only a handful of Men remained in Bywater, and by the time Arthedain fell it was inhabited solely by Hobbits.
About TA 1640
These days , the royal presence consisted of Reeve Tamir Whitestag and a Tulkarim of mercenary guards . Hobbits moved into holes along Bywater pond in the first decades of the settlement , but not until its second decade , after nearby Hobbiton was well-founded and Fallohides began buying off the local squatters , did the new colonists seem a threat. The battle was almost won in Bywater ; Perkney' s Stables , Turgon' s Armory , the Reeve' s house , and the Mainstay Inn were the last establishments owned by men in the village . The few other Big Folk living in Bywater were servants or workers at these businesses . Reeve Tamir bitterly resented this situation ; his wife Roane was angered even more , although she did not let it show . Noone had warned them , when Tamir accepted his position , that they would be holding down a post in the midst of a swarm of Halflings , with respectable friends a day or more distant on horseback . Tamir showed his anger by dealing gruffly with the local Hobbits , even those who worked on the reeve-lands granted by the Prince to provide him with an income . The Hobbits repayed Tamir's bigotry by ignoring him . They solved their own problems and told the Reeve little of what went on. Tamir knew next to nothing of bandit activity in his jurisdiction , and only had a vague notion of the violence that might soon break out around Oatbarton and the Green Hills . Roane, while foral and polite with the local Harfoots and Fallohides , only barely hid the contempt she felt for the "little vermin. " She keept a fine herb garden and greenhouse and dabbled in dark magics.
An important road junction and market town in the independent Shire, Bywater boasts two mills along the water , excellent harness-makers and cartwrights , and a number of other artisans and tradesmen. The Green Dragon, the largest of the local inns, caters to locals and travelers, but provides them with the option of separate parlors adjacent to the common room. Heavily armed wayfarers would be advised to shed their gear before taking a drink or supper at the Green Dragon. Most of its customers , like old Hamfast Gamgee , "don't hold with ironmongery" and are unlikely to be friendly with anyone wearing it. After F.A. 6, Shire Mayor Samwise Gamgee , one of the heroes of the War of the Ring , meets friends here several evenings a week when he's in town. Sometimes he is accompanied by Etherly Cobble , a scribe from the Crissingham Common School, and one or more of his children. All of these companions serve as his secretaries.Sam is fond of complaining that the job of Mayor takes "far more letterin'" than he had expected. Among the businesses in town can be found "Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrows, Solicitors and Auctioneers." The Shire gentry like to think they get b on "Rules" instead of laws, but they drop this pretense when dealing with matters of property and inheritance. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrows worked out the dowry and land exchanges that marked the marriage of Bungo Baggins and Belladonna Took , handled the auction that Bilbo interrupted when he returned alive from Erebor , and wrote up the wills that made first Frodo Baggins and then Sam Gamgee the successive heirs to Bag End. Eustace Grubb , one of the younger and more ambitious members of this family firm, aided Lotho in the legal machinations that presaged his seizure of power. After the Scourging of the Shire , Eustace fled into the wild and spent the rest of his life serving unscrupulous Arnorian merchants as an "expert advisor" on Hobbit affairs.
- Amonar's Tomb: The resting-place of Amonar, the first son of King Arveleg I of Arthedain, who died young. Now overgrown by the East Woods and forgotten by the local Hobbits. It may be haunted by Amonar's ghost.
- Bowyer:Neldo Oaklane
- Bywater Pond: A wide point where the river Norbourne flew into the Water, used by local Hobbits for fishing and relaxing. A row of Hobbit-holes ran along the north side of the pond, while an avenue of trees was planted along the south. After Lotho Sackville-Baggins took over the Shire, he had the locals evicted, cut down the trees, and had a row of ugly brick houses built where they once stood. After the Scouring of the Shire, Bywater Pool's former pleasant look was restored.
- Bywater Post-station
- Bywater Road: The main thoroughfare of Bywater, which leaves the Great East Road a few minutes southeast of town and continues west to Hobbiton, where it becomes Hobbiton Lane. South Lane branches off of Bywater Road in the center of town.
- Bywater Smials
- Cotton's Farm: The home of Farmer Cotton and his family on South Lane.
- Crafting Guild
- East Wood Ruins
- Farmers Faire
- Great Road Goods: A small shop near Bywater Pool that sells torches and rations, amongst other supplies.Owned by members of the Proudfoot Clan.
- Green Dragon Inn
- Grocer:Gerd Whitfoot
- Grubb's Grange
- Ivy Bush Inn
- Jeweller:Briffo Burrows
- Mainstay Inn: In TA 1640, one of the last businesses in town owned by Men.
- Market Place
- Messrs. Grubb, Grubb, and Burrows, Solicitors and Auctioneers: A legal firm whose services were used extensively by the Baggins family (such as when Bilbo Baggins's possessions were auctioned off after he first went missing). They also maintain an office in Michel Delving. One member, Eustace Grubb, aided Lotho Sackville-Baggins in his land-grabs and later fled the Shire, offering legal advice to unscrupulous merchants in the Reunited Kingdom.
- Postman Cotton's House
- Provisioner:Drogo Boffin
- the two mills:
- Perkney's Stables: In TA 1640, one of the last businesses in town owned by Men.
- River Norbourn
- Scholar:Glory Hornblower
- smith:Uffo Bracegirdle
- South Lane: A small side-street off Hobbiton Lane where many of the village's poorer inhabitants lived, including the Cottons.
- Supplier:Daisy Boffin
- Tailor:Garnet Grubb
- Turgon's Armory: In TA 1640, one of the last businesses in town owned by Men.
- The Water
- Woodworker: Porto Chubb
Aldo Topleaf Alken Chubb Barmy Rootknot Bodo Boffin Bounder Boffin Bowman Cotton Briffo Burrows Carl Cotton Daisy Boffin Daisy Sandyman Drogo Boffin Ernwyd Bolger Etherly Cobble Eustace Grubb Farmer Grubb Filimer Took Freddi Grubb Fuchsia Proodfoot Fulk Proudfoot Garnet Grubb Gerd Whitfoot Glory Hornblower Hamfast Gamgee Hardo Thornley Holba Blackiron Jaspera Noakes Jolly Cotton Jolly Proudfoot Lily Cotton Neldo Oaklane Old Noakes Porto Chubb Postman Cotton Rose Cotton Samwise Gamgee Sperling Took Taffy Proudfoot Tolman Cotton I Tolman Cotton II Uffo Bracegirdle Wilcome Cotton I
other Times: Amonar
- MERP: The Shire
- Elendor MUSH
- The Lord of the Rings Vol. 1 (Interplay computer game)
- LOTRO:The Shire, Bywater