THE FREE TOWN HERD, A SHORT HISTORY
The Herd was founded by Percy E. Bradstock in 1906, at Garford Farm, Yarkhill with three females from the prominent Showle herd of his uncle H. W. Taylor, but moved to Free Town in 1919. The farm is situated in a very beautiful rural location, in the heart of the Frome valley in Central Herefordshire and the lush riverside grasslands and good soils create a perfect location for the rearing of quality cattle.
Since 1906, bulls, heifers and cows from the herd have been exported to 22 different countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, France, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Rhodesia, Russia, S.Africa, Spain, Uruguay, U.S.A., and Zambia.
The Herd won its first Royal Show championship in 1919 and in the 1930's won four successive Championships - three of them with Free Town Admiral and then his son, Rear Admiral. Free Town Director, another influential bull in the 1930's, was used in several British herds before being exported to Australia.
Continued successes came in the war and post-war years, mainly with Tarrington Lionheart's and Temple Setrite's progeny, the latter including Free Town Contrite, champion at the Royal Show and later sold to two of the top herds in the U.S.A. Contrite's grandson Free Town Monarch was one of the most important sires in the herds history, and his influence was widespread in the herd through extensive use of his male descendants. These included Free Town Active (later sold for semen export to Australia), Free Town Archer (also used very successfully at Wenlock) and Free Town Eldorado (exported to S. Africa). Free Town Kendal (by Free Town Grandee) was sold in July 1976 for a then record price at auction of 17,000 guineas, at a herd reduction sale, to E.L.Lewis of the Haven and Avoncroft Cattle Breeders.
More recently, some of this success has been repeated with the bulls Free Town Longfellow and Free Town Maximus, full brothers by SNS Generator out of F.T.Paean. Longfellow was Royal Champion in 1996, and Bull of the Year, and Maximus the following year, when full sister Free Town Praise was Female Champion ( probably a unique achievement). Maximus and Praise also won the 'Bull of the Year' and 'Female of the Year' awards for that year, 1997.
Maximus has since formed the basis of the modern female families leading into the new millennium. These foundations have since been built on using sires including Ervie Classic U122, Longville Sinbad, Westwood Solomon, Border Benefactor D62 and Border Rory D58, as well as Australian genetics from Centennial Tribute, Yarram Pompeii V055 and Mawarra Vice Admiral. Most recently, Spinney Dublin has been used very successfully, leaving a very level and correct group of females.
The herd currently numbers approximately 65 cows.
- Hereford > Cattle