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It Must Be In The Genes

The story of one man saving another from being gored by an enraged bull has been told for hundreds of years in Scotland. William Rule saved Robert the Bruce, Scotland’s beloved king, from a charging bull when he grabbed the animal by the horns and flipped it to the ground, breaking its neck. Robert the Bruce knighted Brave William “Sir Turn-e-bull” out of gratitude. As a reward for his feat, William was given lands in Bedrule and dubbed Sir TURN-E-BULL (Turnbull). Centuries of persecution drove countless members of the Turnbull Clan out of their beloved homeland and forced many more to change their names in an often-futile effort to escape execution. The Turnbulls became Trimbles, Trumbulls, Turnballs, and Trumbles. The names may have changed, but the legacy remained as strong as the man who turned the bull.

But this story is about another man who conquered a raging bull.

On a day that began like any other, Constable Derek Turnbull had no idea he would be called to relive history. Hundreds of years after his ancestor saved the king, Turnbull was called to a residential area where an enraged bull had escaped. Turnbull saw the bull jump a hedge and head straight for an elderly man. The policeman displayed the bravery and selflessness of his ancestor when he stepped in front of the charging bull and lifted the man to safety.

“It must be in my genes,” Turnbull said.

Recently, Turnbull was honored with a Chief Constable’s Commendation for his selfless act. “Constable Turnbull acted with complete disregard for his own safety, and this was an act entirely driven with the intention of protecting another’s life,” a Lotian and Borders Police statement said.

Less than an hour away, a monument is being constructed to commemorate the heroic act of William Turnbull and to honor the bravery of Scotland’s border people – people like Derek Turnbull.

The statue will be one-and-half-times life size and will capture the moment when William Rule grabbed the bull by the horns to turn it to the ground. The Turning of the Bull monument has been commissioned by the Turnbull Clan Association and will be placed in the courtyard of the Hawick Heritage Hub. The Turning of the Bull monument and the Hawick Heritage Hub are part of the nationally recognized Heart of Hawick Project, designed to bring thousands of international visitors and genealogy pilgrims to the borderlands in Scotland.

To learn more about the Turnbull of the Bull Monument or to contribute to the monument fund, visit

Contact Information:

Wally Turnbull, President
Turnbull Clan Association - (+1) 919-361-5041



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