What is the youngest written record from Arda?

I’m not refering to the last thing that we know has happened, or what Tolkien had in mind (e.g., in Wikipedia’s Timeline of Arda, the last entry from the Fourth Age is "c. 220: End of Eldarion's reign", but this seems to come from one of Tolkien’s letters), but to something written by inhabitants of Arda.

According to the linked timeline, a copy of the Red Book of Westmarch was made in year 172 of the Fourth Age. Was there anything (even mundane things like, say, a report on poor harvests) later?

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    as of the time that you asked your question, it was your question. it has now been superseded by this comment.
    – KutuluMike
    Apr 13, 2015 at 14:28
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    Given that the Thain's Book (the Gondorian transcription of the Red Book of Westmarch to which you refer) is the source of our information about Arda - that is, the in-universe source of the information which became The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion - it seems futile to ask this, since you're asking essentially "Is there anything written after The Thain's Book was finished, and included in The Thain's Book?" - that's clearly not possible. Apr 13, 2015 at 14:39
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    Yes, essentially that's the extent of the "Frame Story" that Tolkien came up with; everything including The Silmarillion is, or is a novelization of, material from the Thain's Book. Apr 13, 2015 at 15:03
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    @Lexible And "the evidence cited" is a quote from The Lord Of The Rings: "in the Note on the Shire Records added to the Prologue in [the second edition] my father said that the content of 'the three large volumes bound in red leather' was preserved in that copy of the Red Book of Westmarch which was made in Gondor by the King's Writer Findegil in the year 172 of the Fourth Age." This is what (in the frame narrative) became The Silmarillion. Apr 13, 2015 at 17:16
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    There are records made by AElfwine of England that date to the late first millennium of our time and supposedly made during or after his stay on Tol Eressea. These survived into Tolkien's post-LotR writings, such as the last version of the Akallabeth
    – user8719
    Apr 13, 2015 at 17:56

1 Answer 1


The note on the shire records in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring says that: "This account of the end of the Third Age is drawn mainly from the Red Book of Westmarch."

Clearly other sources beside the Red Book were claimed. It is possible that Tolkien also consulted more than one copy of the Red Book - copies written later than the Thain's Book and not containing all of Bilbo's Translations from the Elvish but perhaps containing other versions of the main story.

Tolkien may have had oral sources as well, since he says that hobbits claim they were once much taller than they now are.

Thus Tolkien may have written down notes about events dated later than Fourth age 172, but I do not remember reading about any of those later events in Lord of the Rings.

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