The village of Clifford is very old, taking its name from ‘Clyf’, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning ford, referring to the crossing of the River Wharfe at Boston Spa which was then within the Manor of Clifford.  The village is characterised by the use of magnesian limestone visible in many of the older buildings.

It is mentioned in the Domesday Book, 1086, as follows:
In Clifford, Ligulf had 1 manor of 6 caracates taxable where 4 ploughs are possible.  Nigel has (it) from Count Robert.  In lordship 2 ploughs:  and 3 villagers with 2 ploughs.  1 mill, 2 shillings;  underwood, 4 furlongs long and 3 wide.  The whole manor, 1league long and ½ wide.  Value before 1066, 40 shillings; now 10 shillings. (modern translation)

As well as being a farming community, in the 19th century, the old corn mills down Old Mill Lane were transformed into Flax Mills, making chiefly patent yarn and shoe thread.  The mills were owned by the Grimston Brothers who were the main benefactors of St Edward’s Catholic Church.  In its hey-day, the business employed upwards of 300 workers many of whom lived in the stone terraced cottages in Albion Street.

In the 1850s there were 3 additional pubs to the ones at present in the village; these have now been converted to private houses. 

For Clifford Local History Group click here

History Group member Peter Norman has produced a folder of information about Clifford's War Heroes.  It can be found in the Village Hall, on the desk in the foyer.

World War 1:
Men listed on Clifford's War Memorial:

Private Fred Gamble Banks (Tyne Cot Memorial) Private Edward Johnson (Thiepval memorial)
Gunner C O Barker (St Luke's churchyard)  Private T Johnson (Poperinghe New Military Cemetary)
Private W H Baxter (Freetown (King Tom) Cemetary) George Herbert Knapton (St Sever Cemetary Extension, Rouen)
Private Alfred Berry (Corbie Communal Cemetary Extension) Stoker Patrick Moran (Chatham Naval Memorial)
Private H Birch (Forceville Communal Cemetary and Extension) Private T Moran (Flatiron Copse Cemetary, Mametz)
Private H Burns (Bois Guillaume Communal Cemetary) Private Charles Bowling Musgrove (Doullens Communal Cemetary Extension No 1)
Private Percy Caygill (Arras Memorial) Private Thomas Rhodes (Arras Memorial)
Corporal Ricjard Elliot Cryer (Underhill Farm Cemetary) Private Joseph Russell (Mont Huon Military Cemetary, Le Treport)
Driver John Thomas Eastwood (Busigny Communal Cemetary Extension) Stoker 1st Class Wilson Steele (Portsmouth Naval Memorial)
Gunner Alfred Fowler (Hermies Hill British Cemetary) Private Joseph Wetherill (Helles Memorial)
Rifleman Sam Illingworth (Thiepval Memorial)

Private John Joseph Wetherill (Helles Memorial)

Donald Taylor  (information still sought)















much information here:

Men who had a link with Clifford, who served in WW1 and died but are not mentioned on the War Memorial:

Corporal A R Adkin (Carvin Community Cemetary) Private Gerald Halton Morris (Tezze British Cemetary)
Driver John Eastwood (Harrogate (Stonefall) Cemetary) Private Oscar Nixon (Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial)
Private Albert Garrad (Thiepval Memorial) Sergeant Michael Philbin (Kirkee 1914 - 1918 Memorial)
Private John William Hardcastle (Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial) Private John Sullivan (Mikra British Cemetary, Kalamaria)
Private William Arthur Lock (Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Byker and Heaton) Cemetary) Lance Corporal Albert Edward Webster (Helles Memorial)

More information on these men can be found on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.


World War 2:

Lance Corpoal Rowland Britton (St Luke's churchyard) Sapper Alfred Lazenby (Les Moutiers-en- Retz Communal Cemetary)
Guardsman Albert Kidd (Cassino Memorial) Major Charles William Christopher Packe (Hermanville War Cemetary)
Gunner William Hope (St Luke's churchyard) Sergeant Leslie Riley (Brookwood Memorial)

 IF you have additional information you'd like to share with us, please contact the clerk, who will pass it on.  Thanks.


The group was formed in 1999 and is active in this area.

We have a varied programme of monthly talks, walks, visits and social events.

Our fieldwork includes excavation, surveys, buildings archaeology, archaeobotany, and field walking, looking for evidence of earlier settlement. We have found evidence from Mesolithic (9000-4000 BC) through to modern times. In recent years we discovered and excavated a prehistoric flint industry site with ceremonial pit-alignment. The pits contained Neolithic carved rocks (4000-2000 BC) and cremated animal bones from the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The report can be ordered from the Group. It also includes an account of the unusual ‘sheepwash’ we excavated in Wray Wood, which may have been connected to the later medieval sheep industry centred on Clifford.

We recently completed a report for Boston Spa Parish Council on the heritage of the riverside area between Deep Dale and Holgate (its archaeology, ecology, history and some geology, with a special focus on the riverside woodland). Recently we have been investigating Dam House by the weir, which may have been connected with Clifford’s flax industry, and last year we began investigations with Clifford History Group of the Clifford Mill Pond system where it begins at Willowgarth.

At the request of West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, we are drawing up a list of local heritage assets which people value in the LS23 area, including archaeology, ecology, history and geology. It is hoped that Parish Councils will refer to the list as they develop their neighbourhood plans.

We keep a folder in Boston Spa and Wetherby Libraries, where interested members of the public can keep in touch with work carried out and read our published reports. Membership is open to adults. We are also interested in the wider district and draw members from further afield as well as locally. Our website service was interrupted last year, but is now being re-published at

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