A throwback - the Horn-call of Buckland (Episode 62)


New Member
Still new here and catching up as quickly as I can (can't wait until I can join a live stream!)

One thing that immediately struck me when the Horn of Buckland sounds is the description:

"It rent the night like fire on a hill-top."

This line immediately struck me for the foreshadowing to the hill-top of Weathertop, where we will once again see fire on a hill-top used to fend off the black riders. The similarities of this description to a beacon, and maybe as a parallel to the beacons of Gondor, but this seems like an even more immediate example to me!


Well-Known Member
Can anyone find (or create) a horn call which you think resembles the horn call of Buckland? The closest I have come is the "gone away" horn call from fox hunting (google it). It's not exactly right, but, blown on larger (deeper toned) horns than fox hunting horns, it might be close.


Well-Known Member
The most famous beacon fires in English history were those lit to warn of the Spanish Armada.

Here is part of Lord Macaulay's poem on the event, which celebrates the beacons sending the warning across all of England, and calling the nation to war:

The freshening breeze of eve unfurled
That banner’s massy fold,—
The parting gleam of sunshine kissed
That haughty scroll of gold;
Night sank upon the dusky beach,
And on the purple sea,—
Such night in England ne’er had been,
Nor e’er again shall be.
From Eddystone to Berwick bounds,
From Lynn to Milford Bay,
That time of slumber was as bright
And busy as the day;
For swift to east and swift to west
The warning radiance spread;
High on St. Michael’s Mount it shone,
It shone on Beachy Head.
Far on the deep the Spaniard saw,
Along each southern shire,
Cape beyond cape, in endless range,
Those twinkling points of fire;
The fisher left his skiff to rock
On Tamar’s glittering waves,
The rugged miners poured to war
From Mendip’s sunless caves.
O’er Longleat’s towers, o’er Cranbourne’s oaks,
The fiery herald flew;
He roused the shepherds of Stonehenge,
The rangers of Beaulieu.

Right sharp and quick the bells all night
Rang out from Bristol town,
And ere the day three hundred horse
Had met on Clifton down;
The sentinel on Whitehall Gate
Looked forth into the night,
And saw o’erhanging Richmond Hill
The streak of blood-red light.
Then bugle’s note and cannon’s roar
The death-like silence broke,
And with one start and with one cry
The royal city woke.
At once on all her stately gates
Arose the answering fires;
At once the wild alarum clashed
From all her reeling spires;
From all the batteries of the Tower
Pealed loud the voice of fear;
And all the thousand masts of Thames
Sent back a louder cheer;
And from the farthest wards was heard
The rush of hurrying feet,
And the broad streams of flags and pikes
Dashed down each roaring street;
And broader still became the blaze,
And louder still the din,
As fast from every village round
The horse came spurring in;
And eastward straight, from wild Blackheath,
The warlike errand went,
And roused in many an ancient hall,
The gallant squires of Kent.
South ward from Surrey’s pleasant hills
Flew those bright couriers forth;
High on bleak Hempstead’s swarthy moor
They started for the north;
And on and on, without a pause,
Untired they bounded still;
All night from tower to tower they sprang,—
They sprang from hill to hill,
Till the proud Peak unfurled the flag
O’er Darwin’s rocky dales,—
Till like volcanoes flared to heaven
The stormy hills of Wales,—
Till twelve fair counties saw the blaze
On Malvern’s lonely height,
Till streamed in crimson on the wind
The Wrekin’s crest of light,—
Till broad and fierce the star came forth
On Ely’s stately fane,
And tower and hamlet rose in arms
O’er all the boundless plain,—
Till Belvoir’s lordly terraces
The sign to Lincoln sent,
And Lincoln sped the message on
O’er the wide vale of Trent,—
Till Skiddaw saw the fire that burned
On Gaunt’s embattled pile,
And the red glare on Skiddaw roused
The burghers of Carlisle!
Last edited:


New Member
That's a good question and I don't have an answer... but it reminds me of another thought that occurred to me during this section. Professor Olsen describes the horns as if they are "saying" the words (https://streamable.com/6hin2g)
I think another possibility is that there are different types of horn blows which codify different things. In other words, it's not that the horn call is always the same for fire, foes, and fear, as suggested in that clip above. Rather, they'd have different horn calls for each. the example that comes to my mind is the blowing of the shofar, which has different types of horn blows that carry different meanings. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Types of blast[edit]
The following blast are blown on Rosh Hashanah:

  • Tekiah (תקיעה‎) is a single long blast of the shofar.
  • Shevarim (שברים‎) is composed of three connected short sounds.
  • Teruah (תרועה‎) - in most Sephardic and Ashkenazi traditions, this is a string of many short-lived, broken blasts made by the tongue (e.g. tut-tut-tut-tut, etc.). In the Yemenite, Tunisian and Babylonian Jewish communities, it is a single long, reverberating blast.
  • It is customary for the last tekiah in a set of 30, and the last tekiah blown overall on a day of Rosh Hashana, to be extended in length, called a tekiah gedolah ("great tekiah").
I could imagine similar types of horn blasts being used to represent "fire", "foes", etc... and in a certain situation, they might only blow for fire. In this case, Fatty didn't exactly tell others what was going on, but they "got the idea that enemies were in Buckland", but not knowing what kind of enemies, they just blow the horn in a general sense to rouse the alarm (rather than a specific "foes" call).

I'm not totally convinced, but it is an alternate theory.


Well-Known Member
Hi Joe Mama,

Your theory that there might be a mixture of different horn calls being blown in Buckland is interesting, but I don't think it is so.

"The Brandybucks were blowing the Horn-call of Buckland, that had not been sounded for a hundred years, not since the white wolves came in the Fell Winter." I think the phrasing makes it pretty clear that the horns were blowing one specific horn-call, "the Horn-call of Buckland". which signified both danger and alarm, and also to arm and muster. Also, this was a well known and legendary horn-call, as it was still remembered by many horn-blowers and listeners 100 years after it had last been blown in earnest.


New Member
Those are good points. Even still - to use my example of the shofar, when people talk about it, they talk about hearing the shofar being blown - they don't talk about going to hear each of the different types of calls.

Like I said I'm still not convinced of that myself and I think it being a single horn call similar to the one Professor Olsen described is still most likely.


Well-Known Member
Alas, Lincoln, memory grows dim. Still, I'm sure you sped the message on, even though you remember it not.

Kate Neville

Well-Known Member
Ever since reading Garth's Tolkien and The Great War, I can only think of the effect of military horn calls, which are at once a clarion call to action and an anticipation of death.