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Hardbottle

Hardbottle and surrounding Lands

"The Rendwalk Inn at Hardbottle tempted us; a spacious room for the resort of the neighboring gentlefolk afforded us a pleasing view upon the gorge of :the Fellborne Stream. All the while, the accommodations indulged us with that degree of satisfaction which truly gives the traveller his ease."
-Otho Sackville-Baggins commenting on his honeymoon; from the Letters of Bilbo Baggins.

Hardbottle the largest village in the southwestern Shire and loriginally was the dwarven and Hobbitish label for Rendwalk and the Briary. The Whitescarp Trail passed through a narrow gap in the White Downs here . The locality' s name applied to the "bottleneck " of the road and the difficulty of maintaining it in the face of spring flooding .In the early Days of the Shire the local Dunedain had been careful to prevent Hobbits from moving into their villages , despite the boost Halfling settlement had given to local trade . They also had discouraged any unaesthetic clearing of the forests around their homes . This had allowed three Harfoot clans to gain economic leverage by grazing sheep and cutting hay on the nearby moors and downs . A "bottle " was an Eriadoran term for a tied shock of hay , which allowed the Hobbits to make a pun on the old Dwarvish name . When the Harfoot "Hardbottle Alliance " finally achieved a strangle-hold on local production of mutton and fodder , the Men of Rendwalk and the Briary regreted their obstinacy .While it was famous for its pottery and metalwork, it was also, as Otho noted above, famous for its scenery and the comforts of its inns. The dells and cuttings of Fellborne Stream (called the Nimeithel after it entered Elvish territory) provided picturesque backdrops for hikes and pony rides and good trout fishing. The Rendings, as this complex of rock cuts was called, served the Shire gentry just as they had served the Arthedain long centuries ago. The Arthadan villages of Rendwalk and the Briary, where the Arthadan gentry took their rest, persisted beyond th e fall of the kingdom. However, isolation took its toll, and the circle of craftsmen at the heart of the villages gradually drifted on to Gondor. Many of them had trained Hobbit apprentices before they left. Hardbottle became the center of Shire silver and glasswork, keeping its position through many centuries. Its guilds showed deep roots, parading ancient, barely understood Arthadan pennants and insignia at trade festivals right into the Fourth Age.

Places of Note

  • Guildshall
  • Rendwalk Inn

References

  • MERP:The Shire

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