William Bartlemore (1848-1902)

Joined the Society: 1871 (🌳 Original Member)

William Bartlemore came from an eminent improving agricultural family, intimately involved with the breeding of the Ayrshire breed of cattle. He was born in Renfrew in 1848, and at the age of 23 became a founding member of the Philosophy Society in 1871. It is not known what involvement he had at the University, but it is known that by the time of the 1881 census, he had moved back to Renfrew, where he lived until his death in 1902 and where he is now buried.

In the latter half of his life, he made his living as a solicitor, but it is evident that his true passion was the family endeavour of agricultural improvement. At the agricultural fairs, so central to rural life in those days, he was reputed as a judge of cattle and his opinions were being quoted with reverence even after his death. He also made his impact as Secretary and Treasurer to the Renfrewshire Agricultural Society and as Clerk and Law Agent to the local Cowfeeders’ and Dairymen’s Association.

The typical Ayrshire cow is an alert vigorous animal showing strong character and mild temperament. […] She has depth and openness of rib, an indication of her production potential, the skin is pliable and soft with fine silky hair and her bone structure is fine and flat being proportionate to body weight. […] The breed can efficiently produce large quantities of high quality milk from forage, and is renowned for foraging ability. Ayrshires are now becoming very popular in organic systems.

—Ayrshire Cattle Society

The Ayrshire remains one of Scotland’s most popular breeds, and is likely to continue to play a significant part in Scottish rural life as our dairy farms adapt for greater genetic resilience, reduced climate impact and respect for the wild environment.

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