Formerly a coal mining area there is evidence that coal was obtained from Griff from as early as the twelfth century. Nowadays Griff Quarry is a major enterprise producing around 260,000 tonnes (290,000 tons) of material annually.
Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot) was brought up at Griff House, now a hotel. Griff is likely represented in Eliot's novel Middlemarch as "Frick", which is described as "[Mr Solomon's] side of Lowick was the most remote from the village, and the houses of the laboring people were either lone cottages or were collected in a hamlet called Frick, where a water-mill and some stone-pits made a little centre of slow, heavy-shouldered industry."
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