Clifton

An ancient Village

Mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086

Clifton is a small village near Brighouse in West Yorkshire, England.

Clifton was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The early Lords of the Manor lived at Clifton Hall and Cross Hall (later called Highley Hall). The former Kirklees Priory is located to the east of the village, there are several grade one listed buildings on this site, where Robin Hood was allegedly buried.

For over four hundred years the fortunes of the Armytage family and Clifton were intertwined after John Armytage bought the land of Kirklees Priory in 1565. He lived at Kirklees Hall to the east of Clifton, and over the next century, his descendants acquired almost all the adjoining land in Clifton and Hartshead. Members of the Armytage family were the Lords of Clifton for over 300 years.

The Armytages chaired many of the local committees and established charities for education and welfare. In the 18th century, they created a ‘dole’ charity for needy tenants and a boarding school with free places for boys from the village; in the 19th century they built almshouses and later gave the land and stone for the building of St John’s Church, the vicarage and the school; in the 20th century, they gave the ground for the War Memorial and opened the Hall and grounds for village celebrations and garden parties.

For over two centuries the townships of Clifton and Hartshead were one parish with St Peter’s at Hartshead as the parish church. Clifton became a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1887.

Clifton developed mostly as an agricultural village but was at one time a centre for wire-drawing, leather tanning and card-making to produce woollen cloth. Surface coal was collected in the village from the 14th century but from the 1840s to the 1920s this activity expanded, and Clifton became a mining village with six coal mines and a complicated tramway system taking coal to the canal basin in Brighouse and Low Moor Ironworks. Miners came to live here from other parts of Yorkshire and beyond.                                                                                                  

The Clifton Parish Council was abolished in 1937 and Clifton became part of the Borough of Brighouse. In 1974 Brighouse became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale.

Clifton today is a vibrant community, with a thriving school, a village nursery, two churches and Community Village Association, which organise many popular and successful activities.