Clifton, West Yorkshire
Clifton is mentioned as Cliftone in the Domesday book The entry reads ‘In Cliftone Escelf has seven carucates of land…where four ploughs may be…’The manor was one of two hundred manors granted by William the Conqueror to the Norman noble, Ilbert de Laci. The early Lords of the Manor lived at Clifton Hall (which was down Well Lane) and Cross Hall (later called Highley Hall). Remnants of the early ‘strip’ farming remain in the fields known as ‘The Acres’.. The parish was recorded on 1 July 1837 as part of the Halifax Registration District. It was abolished as a distinct parish on 1 April 1937 and merged with the neighbouring parishes of Brighouse, Cleckheaton, and Liversedge, the village of Clifton becoming part of the Borough of Brighouse. The borough was abolished in 1974 when it became part the metropolitan borough of Calderdale.
The village is on the north side of the valley of the River Calder and the plateau adjoining it.
The village is on the route of the Calderdale Way. This is a 50-mile circular walk around the hills and valleys of Calderdale.
Nearby towns and villages
Culture and community
There are two public houses at either end of the main street (Towngate). One, the Black Horse Inn, was the Yorkshire Post pub restaurant of 2006. The other is the Armytage Arms. Clifton also has a small hairdressing salon. Clifton Village Community Association organises local events and has oversight of local issues.
There are many local historical references connected to drift mining. It was first recorded in 1307 and also mentioned by Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, in his 1727 book 'A Tour Of Great Brittain'. On the western flank of the village is a long straight ridge, which constitutes the remains of a gravity railway that was last used to transport coal in 1920 to the municipal gasworks by the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Brighouse.
There are also intriguing historical connections such as America Lane, the fever hospital and Clifton 'airport' used by Sir Alan Cobham's Air Circus between the two world wars. The remains of the village well can be seen opposite the school.
At the easterly edge of the village is the 16th-century Kirklees Hall, whose grounds contain the reputed grave of Robin Hood. It was the model for 'Nunwood' in Charlotte Brontë's novel 'Shirley'. At the northerly end of the village, there remains evidence of strip farming, also known as 'open field system'. Originally, there were 32 strips of land and families would work two or three. Beyond were fields known as the Doles, common grazing land.
Doles Lane, a public right of way, still exists and starts (as Well Lane), opposite the Black Horse Inn a meeting place for Luddites, the machine wreckers, in the early 19th century. Highley Hall (formerly Crosse Hall), near the war memorial, was a farm until the 1990s. Originally the family home of Richard de Hileagh, constable of the village in the mid-14th century; it is now again a private residence.
The village, a 'Village Design Statement' area, has a junior and infant school, St John's Primary Academy, originally built in the 1870s. It is a top-performing school, which was called 'outstanding' in successive Ofsted inspections such as in 2014. It was 7th best in England for SATS level 5 in December 2007.
There is an Anglican church (first baptism Goldthorpe Squire 1859, first burial Zillah Ramsden 1860) within the Church of England Diocese of Leeds, and a Methodist church. Patrick Brontë, father of the novelist sisters, was Minister at the nearby Hartshead-cum-Clifton church.
Adjacent to the village is Willow Valley Golf Club. Each June, the club hosts the annual Yorkshire PGA Championship.
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