"Sarehole" was once the name of a hamlet and area in Birmingham, England where J.R.R. Tolkien lived during his childhood. It gave its name to a mill and a farm in the area - the farm has been built over, but the mill remains and is now a museum.
Sarehole and Sarehole Mill were Tolkien's chief influences for the unindustrialized country of the Shire in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and nearby places were likely influences for certain other places that bordered on the Shire, such as the Old Forest. One illustration of Hobbiton that Tolkien drew for The Hobbit is said to have greatly resembled the view up the lane Tolkien's family lived on in Sarehole.
- Sarehole article from "A History of Birmingham Places & Placenames from A to Y"