The family began as the Oldbuck clan, who named themselves such apparently after a Bucca of the Marish, who became the first Thain of the Shire. Ten Oldbuck Thains followed, until Gordenhad Oldbuck, the eleventh Thain, crossed into Buckland over the river Brandywine, passing the Thainship to the Took clan.
The Brandybucks formed a powerful dynasty, which became mostly independent of the Shire, although Buckland remained nominally a part of it. They were seen as 'odd folk' by the other Hobbits of the Shire because they locked their doors at night (because of the exposure to the Old Forest). It should also be noted that the Brandybucks were not only the most wary hobbit clan, but also one of the most organized in matters of militia. After the Ringwraiths invaded Frodo's house in Buckland, the militia was roused with the call of "Fear, Fire, Foes, Awake!" the militia of Buckland arrived, though the Ringwraiths escaped by riding through the front barricades of Buckland. This proves that the Brandybucks were not idle in matters of defense, perhaps due to their proximity to the Old Forest, and the attack of the White Wolves over the frozen Brandywine River. Two instances in which the Brandybucks were capable of fending off the rare (Though Minor) dangers that threatened the shire.
Masters of Buckland
The head of the family was the Master of Buckland, one of the officials of the Shire. Gordenhad Brandybuck founded this office. Like the Thain and Warden of Westmarch, the Master had only nominal authority. The authority of the Master also extended across the Brandywine into the Marish of the Eastfarthing, due to the close proximity and the amount of business between the two areas.
Line of Brandybucks
"Brandybuck" as a translation
It should be noted that the name Brandybuck is only a translation of the original Westron Brandagamba, Marchbuck. In keeping with the concept that The Lord of the Rings was derived from the translated Red Book of Westmarch, Tolkien translated all its Westron words into English — including the names of characters. See Westron for more information.
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