Born: Thomas Bates was born on 21st June 1775 at Matfen in Northumberland. He was the younger son of George Bates of Aydon Castle in Northumberland, and Diana Moore, daughter of Thomas Moore of Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire.

Educated: He attended Haydon Bridge grammar school, Witton-le-Wear school and Edinburgh University.

Married: Thomas Bates never married, although he was engaged to a lady who died before they were married.

Family: He had no children.

Home:  As a young man, Thomas Bates farmed briefly at Aydon White House near Aydon Castle and then at Halton Castle near Corbridge. In 1811 he purchased 1,000 acres at Kirklevington and lived at Kirklevington from 1828.

Known for: Thomas Bates became friendly with some of the leading cattle breeders of Northern England including George Culley and the Colling Brothers.  He bought cattle from Charles Colling and crossed them with West Highland cattle to create his own famous herd of shorthorns. Thomas Bates won prizes at many agricultural shows between 1804 and 1812, but gave up showing cattle for 26 years. After this long interval, he won many more prizes between 1838 and 1848. He was especially successful with four shorthorns that he exhibited in 1839. One of these, called Duke of Northumberland, was considered to be an outstanding beast. After his death, farmers came from as far away as America and Europe to buy his shorthorns.

Died: Thomas Bates died on 25th July 1849.

Further Information: “Thomas Bates and the Kirklevington Shorthorns” Cadwallader J.Bates (1897)

Dictionary of National Biography