Thomas Carwardine

The Carwardine family lived in Kimbolton at Stockton Bury from the mid-19th Century.

The most distinguished breeder of Hereford Cattle was Thomas, who married Mary Russell.  Her brother Henry was a founder member of the firm Russell Baldwin and Bright, Auctioneers of Leominster.

Thomas perfected the breeding of his herd at Stockton Bury, bringing him to the attention of international breeders, in particular, the influential Americans Gudgell and Simpson of Missouri USA. They purchased the yearling bull ANXIETY 4th 9904, bred by Thomas J. Carwardine at Stockton Bury in the year 1881. This bull became the true founder of the American Hereford herd.  His dominant gene passed on the trait of large hindquarters, much sought after by the ranch men of the western part of the United States. It is estimated that 99% of all Herefords in America today can trace their lineage to ANXIETY 4th.

Thomas Carwardine’s intuition in purchasing his two stock bulls LORD WILTON and De Cote in 1879 and his policy of inbreeding corrected the inherent weakness in the depth of quarter of the Hereford of the day.

Thomas Carwardine died in 1884 and with the American boom at its height, the dispersal sale of the Stockton Bury herd was regarded as an important landmark in the history of Hereford Cattle. Those who did not come to buy came to admire the great LORD WILTON and his numerous sons and daughters.

Besides the American buyers, Sir James Rankin the prospective MP for the county was determined to make a serious bid to keep LORD WILTON in England. He instructed his agent Mr Shaw to bid at the auction, who went on to exceed Sir James’ limit by £2000! 

The bidding rose to a staggering £3990. The successful bidder was an American, a Mr. Vaughan. At the end of the day it was discovered that he was unable to pay, either for the bull or the six heifers also knocked down to him at big prices. A second auction was held the next day and this time a consortium of English buyers bought the bull. The heifers were all purchased by Hereford breeders among the most illustrious, Perilla, Mabel, Julia and Bella. 

Visitors from the United States still come to Kimbolton to visit the farm where ANXIETY 4th was born well over one hundred years ago. The bull is still recognised as the primary progenitor of most of today’s American Herefords. The decision made by Gudgell ad Simpson to purchase the bull was a masterstroke. Western ranchmen were eager buyers of Anxiety’s first calves.


Today Hereford Cattle are still a very important breed in America, which is a direct result of Thomas Carwardine’s knowledge and skilful breeding policy.

Written by Joyce M