History

Ann and David Shaw with some of the early cows

The Shaw family have been farming at Grey Leys Farm on the outskirts of Elvington since 1876 when Robert Shaw gave up his horseshoe nail making business in Leeds and decided to become a farmer. The extended family took tenancy of five farms in the Elvington area, which were owned by the Wenlock Estate of Selby. The farms reared beef cattle and grew potatoes for the local market and they employed many local people over the years.

Robert’s son, James, bought Grey Leys Farm in 1911 when the estate was sold off. It continued to be a mixed farm growing potatoes and cereals, and rearing cattle for beef.

Now in its fifth generation, Robert’s great-grandson David runs the farm with his wife, Anne, and daughter, Helen.

While at college, David conducted work experience at a farm in Devon where he was introduced to the Jersey cow. He fell in love with the breed and bought 13 Pedigree heifers from a sale in Totnes in 1968. He brought them back to Elvington and this was the start of the Greyleys herd.

David and Anne have grown the herd together over almost 50 years and it now includes 250 Pedigree cows and over 170 youngstock, with many of the families descending from the original 13.