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Thomas Bates | Inducted 1903

Celebrated English Shorthorn breeder who helped develop milking and dual purpose Shorthorns

1775-1849 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936); original portrait by James R. Stuart

Impact & Accomplishments

Thomas Bates was one of the original livestock legends depicted when the Saddle & Sirloin Portrait Collection was launched in 1903.

Born in Northumberland, England, Bates began building a Shorthorn herd in 1800, with foundation animals from Charles Colling. The crowning triumph of his career was Duke of Northumberland, sired by Belvedere in 1835, with Duchess 34th (also sired by Belvedere) his dam. That same year, Bates, aged thirty-five, began formal agricultural training at the University of Edinburgh. Thomas Bates kept milk and butter records and tested his best cows, valuing milk qualities the same as meat when selecting cattle. Milking and dual-purpose Shorthorns would ultimately derive from his methods.

When he died in 1849, the great Kirklevington herd—which had commanded some of the highest prices of his day—was sold at auction.

Did You Know?

DUKE OF NORTHUMBERLAND  #(1940) Born: Oct. 15, 1835. Bred by Thomas Bates Considered to be the crowning achievement of Thomas Bates as a cattle breeder.  Acknowledged as the champion bull of England in 1842.  His weight at three years and eight months was 2520 pounds. Photo credit: Heritage Shorthorn Society.

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