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Our Bulls…

…have become an increasingly important part of our operation…not only joining herds from Canada to Louisiana but as leased sires to smaller farms that can’t justify a full-time bull.

Right now we have eight bulls at work for Thistle Hill…and a dozen more in the development stage.


Our bull pen is still headed by Highwayman, sired by the English bull Millennium Falcon. The dam was from the Goldings herd of the legendary cattleman Ivan Rowe. Ivan gave us the pick of his herd and smiled a rare smile when we selected Norah. It was the only pedigree that he had carried in his pocket. Ivan judged many breeds in his 60 years as a cattleman. When he pronounced an animal bullet proof you knew he had found it to have perfect conformity and an impeccable pedigree!

TDA 35
TDA 35 

TDA 35 is a full brother of Highwayman. The sire of both in the same flush was an exceptional bull, Millennium Falcon.

Millennium sons were the mainstays of many of the great English Devon herds we visited. And he originated in Margaret Elliott’s Cutcombe herd. As a judge Ivan Rowe pronounced Millennium top of the show and years later purchased his son Falcon. And that’s where we collected him in Cornwall and brought his genetics to the states 12 years ago.


Another legendary breeder in English Devon circles was Brian Drake, who has now retired. Brian was a frequent judge in cattle shows, too, and his Essington Park herd was a must-stop for touring cattlemen.

Our bull Essington is out Brian’s Buttercup by that bull his colleague Ivan judged best in show, Ashott Barton Millennium Falcon.

Both Brian and Ivan were unashamedly old fashioned and stood athwart the English Devon stampede to “modernize”, which actually meant Ross-breeding with French Salers.

Thistle Hill Prince
Thistle Hill Prince

Joining our group of senior bulls is Thistle Hill Prince. He’s the son of a Tulip cow…and in England you’re not considered serious if you don’t have a Tulip! They all trace back to the original Champson herd. The sire is Jaunty…the most famous product of Margaret Elliott’s Cutcombe herd.

Margaret has been generous with her time and counsel, as important in the development of our herd as Ken McDowell, Ivan Rowe, Gavin Hunter, Gearld Fry, and the Enghs.


The newest addition to our team of bulls is Defender, son of the great bull Champson Defender out of Thistle Hill Bribery. With the decline in the numbers of absolutely pure English Devon it has taken many years to find a male line to put into rotation in our herd.

Church settled on Defender a few years ago and now he’s moving into the field test stage.

Thistle Hill Farm · Hume, Virginia · info@thistlehill.net · (540) 364-2090