For nearly 200 years, the Hereford Cattle Society, in one form or another, has existed to ensure the registration and promotion of pedigree Hereford cattle.

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How the Hereford breed has stood the test of time for almost 250 years

Herefordshire and its surrounding areas became known for the size, hardiness and high quality of its cattle, characteristics noted by agricultural commentators in the 17th and 18th centuries, and by the end of the latter, the white face and deep red coat of the present breed were established.

The Hereford Cattle Society was Founded in 1878 by Mr J H Arkwright of Hampton Court, Herefordshire and under the patronage of Queen Victoria. This followed the publication of the first herd book of Hereford Cattle in 1846 by Thomas Eyton of Wellington, Shropshire and since 1886 the herd book has been closed to any animal with a sire or dam not previously recorded, so for over 130 years there has been continuous breeding.

The Hereford has been exported to over 120 countries throughout the world, surviving in all climatic conditions. There are now at least 25 countries maintaining their own Hereford cattle records, all relating back to the cattle recorded in those early volumes of the herd book.

Due to the breed’s expansion and the formation of Hereford cattle societies overseas, a World Hereford Council was set up in 1951, of which the UK was a founding member, to deal with matters of mutual interest to pedigree Hereford breeders globally.

Take a look through the history of our iconic breed and society, to see how it has flourished, while still remaining relevant to modern day beef production systems and markets.

Timeline

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  • Death of Richard Tomkins

    Death of Richard Tomkins, considered the founder of the breed. Benjamin Tomkins ‘The Elder’ (born 1714) succeeds under his father’s will to the cow Silver with her calf.

  • Benjamin Tomkins takes Blackhall

    Benjamin Tomkins takes Blackhall

    Benjamin Tomkins ‘The Younger’ takes Blackhall, King’s Pyon.  At this time father and son occupied four farms, together 840 acres.

  • Herefords reach Ireland

    Herefords introduced into Co Westmeath, Ireland, by Richard Reynall.

  • William Galliers dies

    William Galliers of Wigmore Grange, dies aged 66, his herd passing to his son, John Galliers. His other son, also William, became a famous breeder of Herefords, winning 13 cups for his cattle from the Hereford Agricultural Society between 1802 and 1815.

  • Benjamin Tomkins ‘The Elder’ dies

    Benjamin ‘The Elder’ dies and Benjamin ‘The Younger’ goes to Wellington Court, Wellington, Herefordshire.

  • First recorded Hereford sale

    Sale of Herefords belonging to John Galliers, Wigmore Grange.  Prices and buyers’ names were recorded.  This is the first recorded sale of the breed.

  • First Smithfield Show

    Champion prize won at first Smithfield Show by Mr John Westcar of Onslow, Buckingham, with a Hereford ox bred by Mr Tully, Huntington. It was six years old, weighing 2,198 lbs, and sold for 100gns.

  • Tomkins’ Silver painted by Wheeler

    A Silver cow bred by Mr George Tomkins, nephew of Benjamin ‘The Younger’, is born and goes on to be painted by Wheeler.  The importance attached to the Silver strain is clearly shown.

  • Mr Gwillim’s sale

    Sale of Mr Gwillim’s herd at Purslow Hall.  Sale average for cows, £65 3s.6d.  Top priced cow and calf, £225.

  • Herefords challenge Longhorns

    Challenge by Mr Price of Ryall to show 20 of his Hereford cows in milk against 20 Longhorn cows.  Challenge accepted by Mr Meek and decided in Mr Price’s favour.

  • Mr Price of Ryall’s sale

    Mr Price of Ryall has a sale of his stock which realised high prices, the total being £4,134.

  • Benjamin Tomkins ‘The Younger’

    Benjamin Tomkins ‘The Younger’ dies.

  • John Price’s sale

    John Price’s sale

    On  17 and 18 October, Mr John Price held an extensive sale at Ryall; 116 head averaged £58, total being £6,728. The stock were described as being ‘wholly descended from that of Benjamin Tomkins’. The bull Wellington bred by Benjamin Tomkins, sold for £283 to M Jellicoe.

  • Exportation to USA

    Exportation to USA of two pairs of Herefords by the Hon Henry Clay of Kentucky.

  • Bull presented to Massachusetts Society

    The bull Sir Isaac bred by Mr JG Cotterell, Garnons, is presented to the Massachusetts Society by Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin.

  • Herefords to Australia

    Herefords first exported to Australia.

  • Cotmore born

    Cotmore born

    Hereford bull Cotmore born. Bred by T Jeffries, and acknowledged the greatest bull ever produced up to his day. His weight at nine years old was 3,920 lbs.

  • Most predominant breed

    Most predominant breed

    Youatt’s book on cattle explains Herefords were the predominant breed in 15 English and Welsh counties.

  • Miss Tomkins’ final sale

    Miss Tomkins’ holds her final sale.

    First Royal Show at Oxford. Devons, Herefords and Shorthorns only breeds shown. First prize for best cow in milk won by Hereford. Cotmore, the first prize Hereford bull, created a great sensation. Hereford ox, bred and exhibited by Mr Joseph Hill, of Collington, weighed 3,600 lbs. Mr WH Sotham made his first imports of Herefords to America.

  • Mr Price’s third sale

    Mr Price holds his third sale on 15 October, consisting of 99 head which averaged £53 16s.4d.; total £5,328. He considered this the best sale. The sales in 1813-16-41, together, realised £16,690. Mr Price was presented with his portrait which hangs in the society’s board room today.

  • Death of J Price

    Mr J Price dies.

  • First volume of herd book

    First volume of herd book

    Mr TC Eyton, of Donnerville, Wellington, Salop, published the first volume of the herd book.

  • Sir David wins at Norwich Royal

    Sir David wins at Norwich Royal

    Sir David, probably the most famous Hereford sire shown by Mr Edward Price, Court House, Pembridge, wins first prize at Norwich Royal. He sired Sir Benjamin which sired Sir Thomas which was the sire of Sir Roger, which sired Lord Wilton.

  • Second herd book volume

    Second volume of Eyton’s herd book published.

  • Powell purchases copyright

    Mr WC Powell of Hereford buys Eyton’s copyright of the herd book, and published first part of volume three.

  • Herd book changes hands

    Herefordshire Agricultural Society purchases Eyton’s herd book from Mr WC Powell’s executors for £10, and re-sells it to Mr Thomas Duckham for the same amount, who carried it on until 1878.

  • Cattle plague

    Outbreak of cattle plague. No Royal Show held in 1866 or 1867.

  • Sir Benjamin purchased

    Sir Benjamin purchased

    Mr Benjamin Rogers purchases Sir Benjamin for £409 10s.

  • Horace born at Preston Court

    Horace, one of the most impressive sires ever is born, bred by Mr J Davies of Preston Court, used by Mr J Price of the Court House, Pembridge. His rare wealth of flesh and magnificent quality were carried through successive generations. His strain in unison with the strain of Regulus, another very fine Court House bull, proved most successful.

    Sale of Mr Edward Price’s cattle at Court House. Highest price was for the bull Paragon. Before this sale Mr Price had gained many prizes e.g. 10 firsts and two seconds at the RASE, 50 prizes at Hereford and many others elsewhere; gross value of more than £1,100.

  • New South Wales Agricultural Society publishes herd book

    New South Wales Agricultural Society publishes first volume of their herd book, in which 152 Herefords and produce were entered.

    The celebrated bull Lord Wilton calved 30 August, bred by Mr W Tudge, Adforton, sold to Mr L Lloyd, Addington, Surrey.

  • Lord Wilton successes

    Lord Wilton successes

    Lord Wilton wins at the Royal and other shows.

  • Breed grows in USA

    Exhibits of Herefords at Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition creates great impression, and leads to wide extension of the breed in the states.

  • Herd Book Society founded

    Hereford Herd Book Society is founded under the patronage of Queen Victoria.

  • Mr Carwardine buys Lord Wilton

    Mr Carwardine buys Lord Wilton at Kilburn Royal Show from Mr L Lloyd.

  • American Hereford Book published

    Volume 1 of the American Hereford Book is published.

  • Anxiety exported to America

    Anxiety bred by Mr TJC Carwardine, Stocktonbury, Leominster, exported to America and bought by Mr Culbertson. He was the sire of some first rate stock in that country, notably Anxiety 3rd and Anxiety 5th, afterwards famous in the American herds of Mr T Clarke and Gudgell and Simpson, respectively.

  • Herefords shipped to New York

    Mr Thomas Clarke ships 125 Herefords in one lot to New York.

  • Stocktonbury sale

    The Stocktonbury sale saw Lord Wilton sell for £3,990.

    Death of William H Sotham, who for 50 years was the champion of Herefords in America.

  • Australian Hereford Herd Book Society started

    Australian Hereford Herd Book Society inaugurated.

  • Protector sells for £1,200

    Protector bred by Mr Allen Hughes, sells for £1,200 to Mr CT Pulley, USA.

  • King Edward VII becomes patron of the society

    King Edward VII becomes patron of the society.

    Sale for Mr W Tudge, of Leinthall; average, £53; total, £4,519. Sale of Mr John Price, Court House, Pembridge, average £54; total £9,152.

  • First exportation to Russia

    First exportation of Herefords to Russia.

  • Irish Hereford Breeders’ Association founded

    Irish Hereford Breeders’ Association is founded.

  • King George V becomes patron

    King George V becomes patron of the society.

  • Moore’s sale

    Sale by auction of Mr LL Moore’s herd at Brampton Brian, when 152 head averaged £121 each.

  • First premier show and sale

    First premier show and sale

    The first premier show and sale is held in February.

    Sale of Mr W Griffiths’ herd at Aldersend; 104 head averaged £474 16s., bull calf Aldersend Conqueror realising £3,150.

    Total exports of Herefords overseas this year, 682 head.

    Sale by auction of Mr TR Thompsons’ herd, when 59 head averaged £446 each.

  • First overseas judge

    Senor Carlos Pereyra Iraola is invited to judge Hereford cattle at the RASE Show in Reading. He is the first overseas judge of Herefords in this country.

  • Free Town Director exported to Australia

    Free Town Director, bred by Mr PE Bradstock, is exported to Australia, purchased by EC Tanner.

  • Free Town Admiral wins the Royal

    Free Town Admiral wins the Royal

    Free Town Admiral wins the championship at the Royal Show for the third year.

  • Britannia wins third female championship

    Britannia, bred and exhibited by Mr HR Griffiths, wins the female championship for the third time in succession.

  • King Edward VIII becomes patron

    King Edward VII becomes patron of the society.

    Tarrington Idol exported to Argentina, bought by Mr RLP Duncan.

  • King George VI becomes patron

    King George VI becomes patron of the society.

  • ‘Bull beyond price’

    ‘Bull beyond price’

    Vern Robert is born on 8 September, five days after outbreak of World War II. Robert is later be known as the ‘bull beyond price’.

  • Ship carrying Herefords torpedoed

    Ship carrying Herefords torpedoed

    A ship carrying a consignment of Herefords to America is torpedoed in the Atlantic and two swim ashore to Ireland, showing the stamina of the breed.

  • Brookhouse and Wickton dispersal sales

    Brookhouse dispersal sale for Mr WH Jones of Lyonshall. 75 head sell for £7,087 10s. to average £94 10s.

    Wickton dispersal sale for the executors of the late Mr FJ Newman of Leominster. 98 head sell for £9,308 9s. to average £94. 19s5d.

  • Weston Masterpiece sets record price

    Weston Masterpiece, bred by Mr CH Morris sets a record price for a Hereford bull sold at auction of 12,500gns, which stood for 20 years.

  • Sales restricted to TB attested cattle

    Sales restricted to TB attested cattle. Herefords the first breed to become fully attested.

  • Weston Masterpiece champion

    Weston Masterpiece champion

    Weston Masterpiece stands first, senior and grand champion at RASE.

  • First poll Hereford registered

    On 4 April, the first poll Hereford is registered in Britain.

    First record of Herefords exported to Norway.

  • British Polled Hereford Society founded

    British Polled Hereford Society founded.

    North British Hereford Breeders’ Association founded.

  • First World Hereford Conference held

    The first World Hereford Conference is held in Hereford under the chairmanship of the Hereford Herd Book Society’s patron, Sir RG Cotterell Bt, and attended by delegates from nine countries; Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Uruguay, USA and South Africa.

    First record of Herefords sold to Israel.

  • First Vern reduction sale

    Vern herd reduces, realising a record average of £670 for 66 lots offered, breaking a record which had existed since 1918.

    South of England Hereford Breeders’ Association founded.

    Death of Mr HR Griffiths, Tarrington.

    Lothian Dollar sold at Edinburgh for 1,000gns and exported to Argentina.

  • Vern Diamond makes record price

    Vern Diamond sells for record price of £16,000 to Wyoming Hereford Ranch, USA.

    Midlands and East Anglia Hereford Breeders’ Association founded.

  • Eaton Eastern wins Queen’s Cup

    Eaton Eastern Venture bred by Mr OS Hellyer wins the Queen’s Cup for the best beef bull at the Royal Show, Windsor.

  • First ‘bull of the year’

    First ‘bull of the year’

    Penatok Crusader becomes the first ‘bull of the year’ and co-winner alongside Sugwas Oyster Lassie 5th of the Burke Trophy when awarded for the first time for the best pair of beef animals.

    Toko Excelsior is imported from New Zealand by Messrs Cooper, McDougall and Robertson of Berkhamsted, the first poll to found the poll Herefords.

    Record price realised for bull calf, with Haven Just Do selling for 4,000gns to the Argentine.

  • Second World Hereford Conference held

    The second World Hereford Conference held at Buenos Aires.

    North of England Hereford Breeders’ Association founded.

  • Royals visit Hereford market

    Eaton Eastern Venture, Penatok Crusader and Vron Gaffer are on display at Hereford market to mark the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

  • Third World Hereford Conference

    The third World Hereford Conference held at Kansas City, USA and the Scandinavian Hereford Breeders’ Association is elected as a member.

    Dispersal of the Tarrington herd for the executors of the late Mr HR Griffiths; 90 lots sold for £47,376 to average £526 8s.

    Export of Vern Leopold which sells for the record price of £17,000 to Argentina.

    Dispersal of the Berkhamsted poll Herefords, realising a breed record average of £699 16s.3d. for 84 lots offered.

  • Second Vern reduction

    Second reduction sale of Vern cattle creates global breed records. Julia Vern 40th sells for the world record price of 6,400gns. The 48 lots sold make world record average of £1,590 4s.4d. eclipsing the record of £1,397 11s. per head established by the Milton Park poll Hereford dispersal in Australia in 1960. Prunella Vern 55th makes the record price for a heifer calf, realising 1,350gns.

  • HRH Princess Royal society patron

    Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal becomes the patron of the society.

    Vern Logic sells to Sir Ellerton Becker of Aldersend, Tarrington, Hereford, for the record price of £20,000.

  • Interbreed champion at the Royal Highland Show

    A team of four Herefords win the interbreed beef championship at the Royal Highland for the first time ever. The Hereford Herd Book Society commences its own weight recording scheme within breeders’ own herds.

  • Fourth World Hereford Conference held

    The fourth World Hereford Conference is held in Ireland and the American Poll Hereford Association is elected to membership.

  • Death of Captain de Quincy

    Death of Captain de Quincy

    Captain RS de Q Quincy of the Vern herd dies.

    A Hereford wins the supreme beef championship at the Royal Smithfield Show for the first time since 1900. The animal is 21 month old heifer Barnoldby Orange Miss, exhibited by Messrs Osmond and son, Grimsby.

  • Vern herd dispersal

    Vern herd dispersal

    Dispersal of the world famous Vern herd. 136 lots produce a record sale aggregate of £230,706 and a world record average of £1,696 7s.4d. for a sale of horned Herefords. Vern Scorpio breaks the 20 year old record for the highest price realised at auction when sold for 15,000gns. Lynda Vern 35th breaks the record price for a heifer calf by auction, when sold for 1,500 gns. Plum Vern 33rd makes a new record price for an in-calf heifer of 2,600gns. 2,200gns, is paid for Curly Vern 112th to create a new unserved heifer record, and the highest price ever paid for a bull calf was realised for Vern Sirdar which made 4,500gns.

  • Performance testing station

    Hereford Herd Book Society starts the first performance testing station at Holme Lacy.

    A poll, North Clifton 1 Lass 14th of Cerezo Estates and Farming Co Ltd, becomes female of the year for the first time.

  • Rt Hon the Earl of Avon becomes patron

    Rt Hon the Earl of Avon becomes patron of the society subsequent to the death of Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal in 1965.

    Fifth World Hereford Conference is held in Australia, with the associations of Mexico, Portugal and Spain elected to membership. At this conference, a permanent international working group is formed to work out ways and means the immense genetical potential of the Hereford breed should be put to good use throughout the world.

  • Al use limited

    Rules introduced allowing the limited registration of calves got by artificial insemination.

    Death of Mr EO Jones, OBE, Sheephouse, Hay-on-Wye.

    A poll steer, Crickley 1 Blazer, owned by Messrs HA Colburn and son Ltd, wins the supreme beef breed championship at the Royal Smithfield Show.

    620 bulls and females gross over £202,200 to average over £320, sold through Edinburgh Market during the year ended 31 October 1969.

  • Centenary of the herd book

    Centenary of the herd book

    Publication of the centenary edition of the herd book.

    50th anniversary of the premier show and sale in Hereford.

  • Sixth World Hereford Conference

    The sixth World Hereford Conference in South Africa.

  • Herefords win best stand trophy at Paris show

    Herefords win trophy for the best stand at Paris Show.

  • Stockman’s Club formed

    Stockman’s Club formed

    The Hereford Stockman’s Club is formed.

    The seventh Hereford World Conference in Canada.

    King Gustav of Sweden imports Hereford cattle.

     

  • ABRO chooses the Hereford for testing programme

    The Animal Breeding Research Organisation chooses the Hereford breed for an important long-term testing programme.

  • France member of World Hereford Council

    France is granted membership of World Hereford Council.

  • Eighth World Hereford Conference

    Eighth World Hereford Conference in Uruguay.

  • First National Hereford Show for horned cattle

    First National Hereford Show for horned cattle at Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire.

  • Nineth World Hereford Conference

    The nineth World Hereford Conference in New Zealand.

    Sultan of Oman purchases a Hereford bull.

  • First European Hereford Conference in United Kingdom

    First European Hereford Conference in United Kingdom.

  • 10th World Hereford Conference

    The 10th World Hereford Conference in Spain.

  • 11th World Hereford Conference

    The 11th World Hereford Conference in South Africa.

  • Hereford Herd Book Society renamed

    Hereford Herd Book Society renamed

    The Hereford Herd Book Society is renamed to the Hereford Cattle Society on the 150th anniversary of the first Hereford herd book.

    The 12th World Hereford Conference is held in in USA.

  • 13th World Hereford Conference

    The 13th World Hereford Conference held in Argentina.

  • Foot and mouth outbreak

    Shows and sales are cancelled across the country due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

  • 14th World Hereford Conference

    The 14th World Hereford Conference in Australia.

  • Adoption of ABRI Breedplan

    Adoption of ABRI Breedplan

    The Hereford Cattle Society adopts the ABRI Breedplan registry and its performance recording system is installed.

  • 15th World Hereford Conference

    The 15th World Hereford Conference in Scandinavia.

  • Bronze bull unveiled

    Bronze bull unveiled

    A life-sized bronze Hereford Bull statue is unveiled in Hereford city centre to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

    The 16th World Hereford Conference held in Calgary, Canada. Kazakhstan and Switzerland become affiliated members of the World Hereford Council.

  • Laertes takes two major interbreeds

    Laertes takes two major interbreeds

    Normanton 1 Laertes from TD and WT Livesey, Leicestershire wins the interbreed championships at both the Royal Welsh and Royal Highland Shows.

    A Hereford bull (Hawkesbury 1 Ronaldo) parades at Wembley Stadium for the FA Vase – Hereford FC vs Morepeth.

    The 17th World Hereford Conference held in Uruguay. Brazil and Paraguay become affiliated members of the World Hereford Council.

  • UK record price for a Hereford female

    UK record price for a Hereford female

    Sky High 1 Lancome Lucy, a 16 month old heifer bred by B Birch and G Brindley,  sells for 11,000gns and creates a new UK record price for a Hereford female sold at public auction.

  • Record price for a poll bull

    Record price for a poll bull

    Coley 1 Pilot, a two year old bull bred by Heather Whittaker, Halifax sells for 13,000gns (£13,650), creating a new UK record price for a poll Hereford bull sold at public auction.

    Shraden 1 Alice P809 from the Timmis family, Baschurch sells at 7,500gns at Hereford market, setting a new female centre record.

    Hereford Cattle Society moves from microsatellite to SNP DNA testing.

  • Female centre record topped

    Female centre record topped

    The dispersal sale of the Greenyards herd of Phil and Alison Allman, sees a new centre record set at Hereford market of 10,500gns for Greenyards 1 True Love M314.