Thornton Aberdeen Angus Herd
Before founding the Hardiesmill Herd, Alison Tuke owned the Thornton prefix, which she bought from her father in 1998 along with the remainder of the Thornton Herd.
The blood lines remain at Hardiesmill, but in 2002 Alison transferred the Thornton Prefix back to her brother Ian when he wished to have Aberdeen Angus cattle back at Thornton.
History of the Thornton Herd
Lady Thornton-Kemsley, Alison’s Grandmother, founded the Thornton Herd in 1949 at Thornton, Laurencekirk. Females came from Pitskelly and Derculich herds, all purchased at commercial prices. As cash allowed, further cows were added from Edenwood, Harviestoun, Charterhouse, Stype, Islabank, Sandon and Little Dean. Early stock bulls included Eulian of Kilham (by Perfect of Gaidrew), which was purchased for 500gns in 1955.
The herd was taken over by Thornton Farms Ltd in 1957 by Nigel Thornton-Kemsley. In 1967 Elomar of Yeldems was puchased jointly with Fordhouse. A son, Erk of Thornton was sold to Westdrums. At Westdrums, his influence was huge and in 1970, Nigel bought a son of Erk, Proud Frank of Westdrums.
In 1973, Eric of Thornton, a son of Proud Frank, won the Supreme Championship and second top price at Perth. Three other sons went on to well, Thornton Peter, a class winner at Perth, Errisiemo of Thornton – Supreme at the Great Yorkshire and Res Supreme at Perth in October 1974. Jarl Eric of Thornton, in 1975 was Reserve Supreme in Perth, February.
Two cows of the Thornton Herd stand out: Palova 2nd of Thornton (mother/dam of Thornton Peter and Picador of Thornton) won many local shows including the Interbreed title at Tarland Show in 1976. Her daughter Palava of Thornton (by Proud Frank of Westdrums) took the top slot in 1978 at many shows including the Great Yorkshire and in 1979 Supreme ant the Royal Show and Reserve at the Highland.
In 1982, when retiring as Aberdeen Angus President, Nigel won the last championship for Thornton (to date). Picador of Thornton won the Junior and Supreme titles at Perth, whilst the Senior and Reserve Supreme was also Thornton bred (Elmarko of Thornton). Both were by Elvar of Beath.
A change of farming policies in 1987 meant the Thornton Herd was dispersed. However, Nigel and Gaye needed grass grazers and selected females were bought back from various dispersals.
In 1998 Alison and Robin were offered both the cattle and the herd name. Circumstances dictated that the Thornton Ladies were bought before any land, so the Thornton ladies headed south for a short-break at Begley Farm in the Home Counties, before Hardiesmill was purchased, and they headed north again.
Thornton lines continue to flourish at Hardiesmill – Palavas, Electives, Elfins, Edessas and Ediths.
Unfortunately Nigel never saw the Herd head to Hardiesmill but was influential in the purchase of the first stock bull.