This interesting surname, long associated with Yorkshire, is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for a tender of oxen and gelded horses. The derivation is from the Middle English "gelde" (ultimately from the Old Norse "gelda", barren, sterile), with the Olde English pre 7th Century "hierde", herdsman, tender. A quotation from Whitaker's, "History and Antiquities of Craven" (Yorkshire), dated 1317, reads, "Item - pro geldherds, pro tripherds" to which the editor adds, "Geldherds are elsewhere called 'pastores sterilium animalium'". Job-descriptive surnames, such as this, originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. One Petrus Geldhird and a Ricardus Geldhyrd were noted in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire, and in 1494, John Gelderd appears in the Register of the Guild of the Corpus Christi in the City of York. In the modern idiom the name is variously spelt: Geldard, Geldart, Gelderd, Geldert and Gelder. On July 29th 1588, Anthony Geldard, an infant, was christened at St. Martin's, Coney Street, Yorkshire, and in 1641, Anne Geldard, of Ulverston, was noted in Lancashire Wills Records held at Richmond. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a green shield with a lion rampant reguardant and ducally crowned gold, between three arrows of the last. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Geldehyrde, which was dated 1284, in the "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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