There's nothing - FotR "Can you see anything?" "Nothing. There's nothing."
The descriptive majority of this article's text is unsourced, and should be supported with references.

The Thain (not to be confused with the term Thane) was the title give to the traditional military leader of the Hobbits of the Shire after the fall of Fornost and the Dúnedain kingdom of Arthedain in the mid-Third Age.


The Hobbits first chose a Thain to rule them when Arvedui, the last King of Arthedain, died. Over time, the Thain became a hereditary position, originally held by the Oldbuck Clan. Since TA 2340 (SR 740), the Thainship has remained within the powerful Took clan.

Other rulers of the Shire include the Master of Buckland and the Mayor of Michel Delving in the White Downs, as well as in the Fourth Age the Warden of Westmarch, a position created by King Aragorn II Elessar. The Thain's traditional duties were to care for the Westfarthing and the military of The Shire, whereas the Mayor was more of a figurehead, and the Master of Buckland the chief of the Eastfarthing.

Origins of the term

"Thain" is a variant spelling of the Old English "thegn", an Anglo-Saxon designation for a minor noble, probably best known for its use in Shakespeare's Macbeth. While more commonly spelled "thane" in modern English), Tolkien used the older variant to represent the ancestral speech of the Hobbits.

In the Fourth Age, the title in Sindarin was Ernil i Pheriannath ('Prince of the Halflings'), after Peregrin Took became the Thain.

Thains of the Shire

Third Age

Fourth Age

The line of Thains continued in the Fourth Age of Arda.


Foreign Language Translated name
Dutch Dinghoofd
Hebrew תאין
Italian Conte della Contea
Polish Than
Russian Тан
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.