John Geldard

John GeldardJohn Geldard, © W.R. Mitchell

John Geldard farmed for many years at the head of Malhamdale. He was born at Green Close Farm in 1919 in an area between Clapham and Bentham, near Ingleborough. When John was six weeks old the Geldard family—Thomas Henry, his wife Ellen and three children—moved to Malhamdale. Baby John was carried in a clothes basket softened by a blanket and grew up at Prior Hall Farm in Malham, near Malham Cove.

The Geldard family had strong links with Methodism, Thomas Henry Geldard, his father, being a local preacher and Sunday School superintendent. John was a farmer. He kept Shorthorn cattle, which were dual purpose animals, being not especially great milkers but good beef animals. Milk from the farm was transported daily, by local arrangement, to Kirkby Malham, where a dairy wagon awaited. When cattle were to be sold, they were driven, on the hoof to the auction mart at Hellifield. The sheep were Swaledales, commonly known as "Swardles".

John repaired many of the dry stone walls in Malham, and W.R. Mitchell interviewed him many times about the ancient skill of dry stone walling.