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On the Water southward of Needlehole in the Westfarthing of the Shire
Fed by the Water running into the bog from the north
The Water flowed on southwards and eastwards towards Hobbiton
'Rushock' probably means 'rush-bed'1


About this entry:

  • Updated 1 February 2023
  • This entry is complete

Rushock Bog

The marshland of Needlehole

Map of Rushock Bog

After the stream known as the Water flowed down from the northern hills of the Shire and through the village of Needlehole, its waters split into two. At this point in its course, the river slowed to form a wide bog, stretching for several miles either side of the Water itself. Little is known in detail of this marsh, except that wild rushes grew there in sufficient abundance to the give the bog its name.

Near the southern end of Rushock Bug, the two streams of the Water came back together, and it began its long journey southward and eastward. Some twenty miles to the southeast, it would reach Hobbiton, and then pass on eastward to eventually flow into the wide Brandywine. Along this latter part of its course, the Water split again to form yet another marshy region,2 similar to that around Rushock Bog, but somewhat more extensive.

The map of the Shire within The Lord of the Rings shows a curious feature of the Water immediately after it flowed out of Rushock Bog. At that point the stream shown on the map seems to break briefly before resuming its course. The meaning of this break is unclear, though a similar break in the course of another river - Sirion in Beleriand - was used on a different map to indicate that the river ran underground for a brief stretch. Perhaps the same is true of the Water, or perhaps the broken line indicates another region of bog (which would effectively be a southward extension of Rushock Bog). Alternatively, the broken line of the Water may simply represent a slip of the artist's pen, now immortalised on the standard map of the Shire.



The name of this bog in the Shire was likely influenced by Rushock in Worcestershire, just a few miles from Tolkien's childhood home of Sarehole, but the origins of this place-name are not established beyond doubt. It most likely derives from Old English ryscuc, a rushy place or rush-bed, though some sources offer an alternative origin in Middle English russoc, 'rushy place of oaks'. In either case there is a definite connection to rushes, and hence the name is well suited to a bog.


This second region of marshland is not specifically marked as such on the Shire map, which simply shows the Water dividing and rejoining again. The fact that this happened directly northward of the town of Frogmorton (whose name means 'frog marsh'), means that we can be reasonably certain that a second bog existed. The name Frogmorton might be taken to indicate that frogs were to be found in Rushock Bog, too, lying as it did along the course of the same stream.


About this entry:

  • Updated 1 February 2023
  • This entry is complete

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