Place:Halifax, West Riding of Yorkshire, England

Alt namesFelseisource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 212
Halifaciasource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 169
Haliflexsource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 212
Hortoniumsource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 169
TypeBorough (county)
Coordinates53.733°N 1.867°W
Located inWest Riding of Yorkshire, England     ( - 1974)
Also located inWest Yorkshire, England     (1974 - )
Yorkshire, England    
See alsoCalderdale, West Yorkshire, Englanddistrict municipality of which Halifax is the governmental seat since 1974
Agbrigg and Morley Wapentake, West Riding of Yorkshire, Englandwapentake in which it was situated.
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Halifax is a minster town, in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. It had an urban area population of 82,056 at the 2001 census. The town is known as a centre of woollen manufacture from the 15th century onward, originally dealing through the Piece Hall. Halifax is known for Mackintosh's chocolate and toffee (now owned by Nestlé), that manufacture products including Rolo, Quality Street and Rowntrees. Shibden Hall is also based in Halifax. The Halifax Bank and Yorkshire Bank were also founded in Halifax. Halifax Bank is now part of HBOS and originally named, The Yorkshire Penny Bank, Yorkshire Bank now has its headquarters in Leeds. One of the largest textile factories in the world, at more than half a mile long, Dean Clough was located in the north of the town. The premises have since been converted for office and retail use including a gym, theatre, Travelodge and radio station.

GENUKI provides a description of the ecclesiastical parish of Halifax from a gazetteer from the 1820s. It was in the Morley division of the Agbrigg and Morley Wapentake.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The town's name was recorded in about 1091 as Halyfax, from the Old English halh-gefeaxe, meaning "area of coarse grass in the nook of land". This explanation is preferred to derivations from the Old English halig (holy), in hālig feax or holy hair, proposed by 16th-century antiquarians. The incorrect interpretation gave rise to two legends. One concerned a maiden killed by a lustful priest whose advances she spurned. Another held that the head of John the Baptist was buried here after his execution.[1] The legend is almost certainly medieval rather than ancient, although the town coat of arms carries an image of the saint. Another explanation is a corruption of the Old English hay and ley a clearing or meadow. This etymology is based on Haley Hill, the nearby hamlet of Healey (another corruption), and the common occurrence of the surnames Hayley/Haley around Halifax. The erroneous derivation from halig has given rise to the demonym Haligonian, which is of recent origin and not in universal use.

The Earldom of Halifax took the name of the town. Its first creation, in the Peerage of England in 1677, was for William Savile, who was created Baron Savile of Eland and Viscount Halifax in 1668 and later became the Marquess of Halifax (this creation of the earldom became extinct in 1700). George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, (2nd order of the 3rd creation) became the President of the Board of Trade in 1748. In 1749 he helped found Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, in Canada which was named after him. He fostered trade, especially with North America. The Halifax River in Central Florida, United States, was also named after him.


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Halifax is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, and evidence of the early settlement is sketchy. By the 12th century the township had become the religious centre of the vast parish of Halifax, which extended from Brighouse in the east to Heptonstall in the west. Halifax Minster, parts of which date from the 12th century is dedicated to St John the Baptist. The minster's first organist, in 1766, was William Herschel, who discovered the planet Uranus. The coat of arms of Halifax include the chequers from the original coat of arms of the Earls Warenne, who held the town during Norman times.

Halifax was notorious for its gibbet, an early form of guillotine used to execute criminals by decapitation, that was last used in 1650. A replica has been erected on the original site in Gibbet Street. Its original blade is on display at Bankfield Museum. Punishment in Halifax was notoriously harsh, as remembered in the Beggar's Litany by John Taylor (1580–1654), a prayer whose text included "From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell, ‘tis thus, From all these three, Good Lord deliver us.".

The town's 19th-century wealth came from the cotton, wool and carpet industries and like most other Yorkshire towns had it had a large number of weaving mills many of which have been lost or converted to alternate use.

In November 1938, in an incident of mass hysteria, many residents believed a serial killer— The Halifax Slasher —was on the loose. Scotland Yard concluded there were no attacks after several locals admitted they had inflicted wounds on themselves.

Halifax plc started as a building society in the town and is a trading name of HBOS, part of the Lloyds Banking Group. Halifax is twinned with Aachen in Germany. The A58 has a stretch called Aachen Way.

Halifax has benefited from Single Regeneration Budget, European URBAN II and the Home Office’s Community Cohesion Fund money through Action Halifax who have a vision for "a prosperous, vibrant and safe centre where all sections of the community can access opportunities to enhance their quality of life."


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The ancient parish of Halifax was divided into a large number of civil parishes in the 19th century. In Halifax, a body of improvement commissioners or town trustees was created between 1762 and 1823, and the town became a borough constituency under the Great Reform Act of 1832. Halifax was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1848 under the Municipal Corporations Act 1835, and, with the passing of the Local Government Act 1888, became a county borough in 1889. Since 1974, Halifax has been the administrative centre of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, once a part of the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire.

Research Tips

  • GENUKI on Halifax. The GENUKI page gives numerous references to local bodies providing genealogical assistance.
  • The FamilySearch wiki on the ecclesiastical parish of Halifax provides a list of useful resources for the local area.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time on Halifax.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time also provides links to four maps of the West Riding, produced by the United Kingdom Ordnance Survey, illustrating the boundaries between the civil parishes and the rural districts at various dates. These maps all blow up to a scale that will illustrate small villages and large farms or estates.
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding 1888. The "Sanitary Districts (which preceded the rural districts) for the whole of the West Riding.
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding South 1900. The rural and urban districts, not long after their introduction. (the southern part of Bradford, the southern part of Leeds, the southern part of Tadcaster Rural District, the southern part of Selby, Goole Rural District, and all the divisions of Halifax, Huddersfield, Wakefield, Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield)
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding North 1900 The rural and urban districts, not long after their introduction. (rural districts of Sedbergh, Settle, Skipton, Pateley Bridge, Ripon, Knaresborough, Great Ouseburn, Clitheroe, Wharfedale, Wetherby, York, Bishopthorpe, Keighley, the northern part of Bradford, the northern part of Leeds, the northern part of Hunslet Urban District, the northern part of Tadcaster Rural District, the northern part of Selby Rural District)
  • Ordnance Survey West Riding 1944. The urban and rural districts of the whole of the West Riding after the revisions of 1935.
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