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On The Table Read, “the best entertainment magazine in the UK“, discover The English Countryfolk who were belived to be the inspiration behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbits.

The Hobbit and LOTR are two great examples of brilliant storytelling. They are both set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, and follow the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his nephew Frodo.

The characters are a perfect mix of heroic and villainous, making for a truly captivating story. The themes of loyalty, friendship, and betrayal are all expertly explored, making the reader care deeply about the characters and their journey.

Tolkien's Inspiration on The Table Read

Where the Inspiration Came From

18 03

The English Countryfolk were definitely the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits. 

The Hobbit was published in 1937, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy was published between 1954 and 1955. Both works are set in Middle-earth, a fantasy world created by Tolkien.

The English Countryfolk were known for their love of food and drink, their simple way of life, and their love of nature. They were also known for their short stature.

Let’s see how some of these things resemble the reality of the English Countryfolk.

Faringdon Folly In Berkshire

It may be surprising to know that Tolkien found inspiration for the Hobbits in the countryside of his native England.

Tolkien's Inspiration on The Table Read

Many scenes from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit novels were based on real places from the British countryside.

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The author spent years retracing his footsteps to find where the ideas for the books came from. For example, the tower in Saruman’s tower was based on the Faringdon Folly in Berkshire.

This iconic tower is surrounded by a picturesque woodland where Tolkien spent time.

A nearby farmland contains two-foot-deep, four-foot-wide holes, which were used as inspiration for Tolkien’s Hobbit story.

In addition to studying the history of the farmland, Tolkien also investigated the ‘curse’ of the ring, which had been discovered by a farmer. This ring was found near the Roman town of Silchester in 1785.


Tolkien's Inspiration on The Table Read

The English Countryfolk is a prime source for Tolkien’s inspiration for Hobbits.

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The Harfoots are a diminutive society that lived in Middle-earth thousands of years before Bilbo did. While they were not called Hobbits, they were small, pipe-smoking, ale-drinking people.

The original Hobbits did not have shoes or clothing, as they have hairy feet. In addition, Tolkien’s description of hobbits suggests that they had large feet, although this does not necessarily translate to large sizes.

While Tolkien’s original Hobbits did not wear shoes, the later versions of his characters did.


Tolkien wanted to recreate lost cultures in England, which only survive in the names, folklore, and woods. While this might seem far-fetched, it is not an oversimplification.

The English countryside was full of picturesque, historic villages that Tolkien took as inspiration for his work. He was a professor at Oxford at the time.

Tolkien's Inspiration on The Table Read

His experiences during his time there informed his fictional characters, and he was able to apply them to real-world situations.



Many of the English countryside houses were built in a manner similar to those of the Hobbits, but there were a few differences.

For example, smials were small houses that resembled hobbit holes. These were built on hillsides, downs, and banks.

Poor hobbits lived in smials, while middle class hobbits lived in houses that were higher and more sophisticated.

Hobbits enjoyed a simple life, dominated by farming, eating, and socializing. In addition, they were not very adventurous in their lives, and therefore were not prone to dangerous situations.

However, their lifestyle was reminiscent of the English country folk, and their eating habits were inspired by the English countryside. Hobbits ate seven times a day, and they also liked to eat cake!

Tolkien's Inspiration on The Table Read

In the story, the smallest of these dwellings had only one room, and many were large enough to accommodate several Hobbits.

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In the book, Tolkien uses this term to refer to the social divisions among Tolkien’s fictional country folk.

And many of these structures have been recreated in the real world.

Birthday Gifts

Hobbits give birthday presents to others for various reasons. Usually, they throw birthday parties and give small gifts to everyone who attends. These small gifts are a form of thanks, recognition, and friendship. Tolkien described the practice in Letter 214.

There was an etiquette for giving these birthday gifts. Hobbits were social creatures and therefore birthdays were important. The customs were usually regulated by strict etiquette and were often reduced to formalities.

Tolkien's Inspiration on The Table Read

The Resemblance Takeaway

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Tolkien used these characteristics to create the hobbits, a race of small, human-like creatures who live in Middle-earth. The English Countryfolk were the perfect inspiration for the hobbits because they embodied the qualities that Tolkien wanted his hobbits to have.

Tolkien was born and raised in England, and he based the hobbits on the English Countryfolk because he wanted them to be a reflection of the English people – The hobbits are peaceful and simple people who love nature and good food. They are also known for their bravery and their loyalty to their friends.

These are all qualities that Tolkien saw in the English Countryfolk.The English Countryfolk were the perfect inspiration for J.R.R. The hobbits are a reflection of the best qualities of the English people, and they are his beloved part of Middle-earth.

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