Mills of Middle Earth


J R R Tolkien set his fantasy novels in an extensive detailed world that he created - that of Middle Earth.

Sarehole Mill - Tolkien's childhood playground

The Shire which appears in Tolkien's books was based on the village where his formative years were spent - Sarehole, on the outskirts of Birmingham.

Sarehole mill was a favourite haunt, and became the Great Mill at Hobbiton in the books. As well as appearing in the stories themselves, it gets a good mention in Tolkien's own foreword to the 1966 revised edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Great Mill at Hobbiton

In the film of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Great Mill at Hobbiton is prominently seen at the end of the bridge over the Bywater. The mill is included as one of the exhibits in the travelling exhibition developed and presented by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. This exhibition is on at The Science Museum in London from Sept 2003 till January 2004.
Hobbition Mill: The section looks at the process, from conception through to construction, of Hobbiton Mill. It took three months to build and was seen in the first film The Fellowship of the Ring

Later on in the film, the ruined Shire is seen in "flashback", where the mill appears burnt out.

The book version

In the books, it is related that the mill stood on the north banks of the Water in Hobbiton and was run by Ted Sandyman, but then bought and demolished by Lotho Sackville-Baggins.

More detailed coverage of the public buildings of The Shire

The New Mill at Hobbiton

A New Mill replaced the old mill - this one was bigger and uglier - a brick built building, full of strange contraptions. It was used for industrial purposes, rather than grinding corn as the earlier mill had.

It's described in the third book - Return of the King.

Windmill in the Shire

In the films, the Shire has a windmill, seen turning in the background of a number of long shots. I've not come across any photos of this on the set - perhaps it was just one of the many computer generated effects in the film.

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Last updated 03/03/2017 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2017 -