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cades of the eighteenth century, there had been throughout Angus a considerable proportion of polled cattle. This idea is further supported by the following quotation from the ‘General View of the Agriculture of Angus,’ published in 1813: “With regard to the permanent stock, they are of various breeds, and differ very much from each other in shape and quality. Little attention is paid to the selection of the males or females by whom the breed is propagated; and no pains have been taken to elicit a breed distinguished by any peculiar properties, either as a good milking or a good fattening breed. A great proportion of the permament stock are humlies—that is, they have no horns; and in this particular they seem allied to the Galloway breed.” Youatt's account of the origin of the polled cattle of Angus is strangely contradictory. In his well-known work on ‘Cattle, their Breeds and Management,’ published about 1835, he says: “There have always been some polled cattle in Angus; the country-people call them humlies, or dodded cattle. Their origin is so remote, that no account of their introduction into this county can be obtained from the oldest farmers or breeders. The attention of some enterprising agriculturists appears to have first been directed to them about sixty years ago [that would be about 1775], and particularly on the eastern coast and on the borders of Kincardineshire.” Having described the characteristics of the breed, and noted in particular the operations of the late Mr Hugh Watson of Keillor, Youatt remarks that the Angus cattle “are not quite equal to their ancestors, the Galloways, in quickness of feeding and fineness of grain,” and adds, that “in many places the Angus cattle have gradually given way to the old occupiers of the land, the Galloways.” The inconsistency between these statements is very striking, and detracts greatly from the value of Youatt's evidence. In support of the suggestion which has sometimes been made, by others as well as Youatt, that the Galloways had been the ancestors of
cades of the eighteenth century, there had been thos. out Angus a considerable proportion of polled cattle. I idea is further supported by the following quotation to the ‘General View of the Agriculture of Angus' polio in 1813: “With regard to the permanent stock, the to of various breeds, and differ very much from each Oslo. shape and quality. Little attention is paid to the solo of the males or females by whom the breed is propogo and no pains have been taken to elicit a breed distinguio. by any peculiar properties, either as a good milking to good fattening breed. A great proportion of the so ment stock are humlies—that is, they have no lon;" in this particular they seem allied to the Galloway broti Younit's account of the origin of the polled to i Angus is strangely contradictory. In his wo work on Cattle, their Breeds and Management, publish: about 1835, he says: “There have always been solo po cattle in Angus; the country-people call then humies dodded cattle. Their origin is so remote, that no " If their introduction into this county can be obtained to he oldest farmers or breeders. The attention" o interprising agriculturists appears to have first been veted to them about sixty years ago [that would be o: 775), and particularly on the eastern coast and o orders of Kincardineshire." Having described the clo steristics of the breed, and noted in particular the o ons of the late Mr Hugh Watson of Keillo," o at the Angus cattle “are not quite equal to their o is, the Galloways, in quickness of feeding and *: in," and adds, that “in many places the *...* ve gradually given way to the old occupiers . - o , Galloways.” The inconsistency between t mo the nts is very striking, and detracts greatly o ue of Youatt's evidence. In support of the so || 3S ch has sometimes been made, by others as * of att, that the Galloways had been the aucest0
POLLED CATTLE IN ABERDEENSHIRE. 33
the polled cattle of Angus, there is absolutely no proof whatever. About 1792, or soon after, some Galloway bulls were introduced into Forfarshire by Lord Panmure—the first importation of the kind of which we have any record —and although, as expressed by Mr Bowie, Mains of Kelly, the Galloway cross added to the “dodded ranks,” it was not satisfactory in its results, and was consequently abandoned. It has been shown that, nearly half a century before Lord Panmure's introduction of Galloway bulls, there were polled cattle in Angus, and that, in 1797, “many ” of the cattle in the parish of Bendochy, at the extreme corner of Angus, from Lord Panmure's estates, were “dodded, wanting horns.” These, and the other considerations previously submitted, have impelled us to set aside Youatt's second statement as to the origin of the Angus doddies, and to accept the conclusion that they are, as already stated, indigenous to the district; and that the peculiarity of no horns having suddenly appeared at some remote period, has attained the fixity it now displays through longsustained selection in breeding. A variety of polled cattle has also existed in the county of Aberdeen from time immemorial. The breed, now scattered all over the county, formerly had its headquarters in the Buchan district, which originally embraced the lower parts between the river Don and the river Deveron. It is stated by Keith, in his ‘Diocese of Aberdeen,’ published in 1730, that the Thanedom of Buchan “is so called because abounding of old in pasture, paying its rents in cattle—for the word in Irish signifies cowtribute.” In all the early works dealing with the agriculture of Aberdeenshire, the cattle of Buchan are referred to as a distinct and useful breed; but in no book or record of any kind written before the present century have we
* By others the name Buchan is said to be derived from the Gaelic words “Bo,” meaning an ox, and “caen,” the head.
found it stated whether they were polled or horned. We
o - -34 EARLY HISTORY OF ABERDEEN OR ANG!'s CATTLE.
found it stated whether they were polled or homel W. however possess evidence which proves not only tuto early in the present century a polled variety of Catley. railed over the lower parts of Buchan, but also this." different places in the county of Aberdeen, homes to had been bred, even during the eighteenth century, i. that too with some degree of care and skill. It camok
doubted that the polled breed, which is well knownto
been the prevailing breed in Buchan about the Qolī; the present century, was the direct continuation of is famous old Buchan cattle which are spoken of as a vio able “native" race in early works; and in view of their that the absence of horns was a dominant chando seventy or eighty years ago, we can hardly be wo concluding that, far back into the eighteenth centio" not indeed much earlier, there had been polled to Buchan. Dr Skene Keith, in his Agricultural Survey of Abo. deenshire,' published in 1811, states that this." then raised “a greater number and value of black (also than perhaps any other in Scotland." He dwells" o length upon the circumstances connected with the aft Ittempts to improve the native cattle of Aborio ind presents a table giving “a general view of the so reeds of black cattle in the county of Aberdeen," a to me he wrote. In this table four varieties * * el, as follows: (1) Largest English or foreign b s .) Largest Scotch or Fifeshire, mixed with native i. utive and unmixed lowland or Aberdeenshire; and (4. tive and unmixed or Highland breed. But while he is classifies the different varieties, and also go IIlllC eresting information as to their respective working, o ing, grazing, and milking properties, he produces *: erfect representation of their general o, III] us nothing either as to their form or colour (the to ck cattle,” as already stated, was at one to" applit
THE “STATELY WILLIAMSONs.” 35
to all domestic varieties of the ox), nor does he say whether any or all were horned or hornless. He submitted his “general view" of the breeds for correction to Mr George Williamson, farmer, St John's Wells, Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, who was then “the principal cattle-dealer in the north of Scotland,” and who, with his two brothers, James and Robert, generally sold “about 8000 cattle yearly in the markets of England and of the south of Scotland, of which two-thirds are raised in this county.” The Messrs Williamson approved of the table, and supplied Dr Keith with a great deal of information regarding the cattle trade. They stated that “they decidedly prefer the true native breed, unmixed, and raised by good keeping, to the mixture of the Falkland or Fifeshire breed with that of this county, and consider both these to be much superior to the English or to any foreign breeds. . . . They consider the small Highland cattle, which are generally bought by inferior dealers, as too restless and impatient for feeding well. They prefer the native low-country breed to the larger ones, as they are most easily maintained, more hardy in work, have flesh of the finest grain, and pay better in proportion to the goodness of their keep.” It should be noted that the testimony of the “Stately Williamsons” (as they were familiarly called) carries with it the very highest authority. Besides being largely engaged in cattle-dealing, they also farmed extensively. Dr Keith says: “They rent about 2000 Scotch acres of land, besides £500 of grass rent, within the county. They have at present  about 200 acres of turnips employed in feeding as many black cattle and in rearing 400 cattle or winterers.” Mr George Williamson in particular was a man of great worth and enterprise. Over his grave in the churchyard of Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, there is a monument bearing the following inscription: “George Williamson, late in St John's Wells, died 17th April 1823, aged 75, on whose remains this monument was erected by
the Aberdeenshire Agricultural Association, as a mark of respect for his upright and honourable conduct in private and public life, and in testimony of the great benefit derived by the county of Aberdeen from his meritorious exertions as an eminent cattle-dealer for upwards of fifty years.” George Williamson had commenced dealing in cattle about 1770. It thus becomes evident that long before the advent of the present century, there had been a distinct native breed in the lower parts of Aberdeenshire, possessed not only of such well-defined features as to mark it out as a separate breed, but also of such excellent properties as that the most extensive and most experienced cattle-dealer and farmer of the day regarded it as superior to all the other varieties which then existed in the county. It would seem that the Williamsons had taken special care to impress upon Dr Keith their “decided ” preference for the native low country breed in its purest form. It was the “true native breed unmixed"— the native low country breed—which they so unhesitatingly placed above the others. Youatt, in his work on cattle, brought out about 1835, gives a great deal of information regarding the different varieties of cattle then existing in Aberdeenshire. Like Dr Keith, he divides them into four classes—namely, “the native unmixed Highland” horned breed, “which he found towards the interior and on the hills;” the crosses between the native and Fifeshire and other races (which came to be known as the Aberdeenshire horned breed); another “variety consisting of all the pure breeds from the north of England and the south of Scotland;" and the “polled cattle of Buchan.” Regarding the last, he says: “Besides these [the other three classes mentioned above] there is a breed of polled cattle, said by some to be different from the Galloways, and to have existed from time immemorial. Others, however, with greater reason, consider them as the Galloways introduced about thirty