The history behind Cliffe Castle Park...

The historical information has been kindly provided by Simon Alderson, Bradford Council's assistant landscape architect


1066
The Butterfield ancestors come over to England after the Norman invasion.

1300s
"Royd" is land cleared for fields, mostly done in the 1300s, and the fields sometimes retain the word in their name.

1600s
1612 - There are long narrow ploughed fields on the park site which are still there up to at least 1840. Three areas of post medieval ridge and furrow topography have been identified, but are now not clear to see. Ridges marking former hedge banks are still just visible in the grass. Hillside fields named "Cliffe" eventually give their name to the house.

1700s
1760 - John Butterfield, a weaver, marries Mary Sharp at Keighley Parish Church on 10th July. They live at Upper Scoles (now called Higher Scholes), near Oakworth.
1766 - Isaac Butterfield (1) is born.
1781 - Isaac marries Hannah Sugden and they live at Lane Ends, Oakworth. They have three children Isaac (2), John and Ann.

1800-1819
1810 - Isaac (2) marries Sarah Shackleton of Green Top.
1817 - Isaac's (2) brother John dies, his money and stapling business passing to Isaac.
1819 - Henry Isaac Butterfield (HIB) is born to Isaac and Sarah. He is one of seven children, one girl and six boys. The oldest brother is Richard (1806-1869) then John (1810-1865), William (1812-1874), Sarah (1814-1871), Isaac (died in infancy 1816), then HIB, and the youngest Frederick (1820-1883). Richard later marries and lives at 'Woodlands' in Haworth.

1820-1839
1820s - The Butterfield family live a house named Spring Gardens above what would be the site of Cliffe Castle.
1823 - Edward Baines's "History, Directory and Gazetteer, of the County of York" lists Christopher Netherwood as one of five attorneys in Keighley, although he is also reported as owning Blubberhouses Mill. Isaac Butterfield is listed under "Miscellany".
1824 - Isaac Butterfield is worth at least £1,000 and is listed as one of about 30 Keighley Improvement Commissioners.
1825 - The main road (Skipton Road) is built.
1828 - Christopher Netherwood purchases some cottages and land at "Lower Spring Gardens or Cliffe" and commissions George Webster of Kendal to design Cliffe Hall in the Elizabethan style, which is built from 1828-1833. Netherwood subsequently and gradually acquires land around the Hall.
1830 - Isaac (2) takes his three eldest sons into the business. They spin yarns at a small mill in Hey's Gardens, Halifax Road, Keighley. Isaac introduces power looms into his Keighley mills.
1832 - Isaac Butterfield (2) dies and the business becomes Butterfield Brothers. The eldest brother, Richard, heads up the business, and the two youngest brothers join.
1833 - Butterfield Brothers build Prospect Mill, Halifax Road, Keighley. Isaac's (2) sister Ann dies and her estate, Cliffe Close, which Netherwood appears to have mortgaged to her, is sold to Keighley Innkeeper William Fox. The proceeds go to her nephews, the older Butterfield Brothers.

1840-1859
1840 - During the 1840s, Cliffe Hall is let to the Butterfield family. The Tithe map shows the field names and that some were arable and meadow as well as pasture.
1848 - Cliffe Hall is bought by the Butterfield family after Netherwood becomes bankrupt. Netherwood has a reputation as a rogue, lives extravagantly, and causes his family trouble. He keeps a pack of hounds at Cliffe Hall. The estate includes Cliffe Hall, an acre of gardens, stables, yards, Low Field, Cliffe, Lower Cliffe and two plantations.
1849 - A Temperance Society gala is held in the grounds, which Sarah Butterfield (senior) supports.
1850s - Butterfield Brothers have manufacturing premises in Bradford, Keighley, Haworth and Stanbury. John and William Butterfield are the two names that appear on legal documents as they acquire fields previously under different ownership in the area around Cliffe Hall, thus increasing the size of the Butterfield Estate. Original field names, boundaries, sizes and ownership are shown on plans accompanying the legal documentation. The two younger brothers, HIB and Frederick go to New York to develop the export side of the business, an ambition of eldest brother Richard. Frederick later settles in America and marries.
1853 - There is a fire at Cliffe Hall, but it is extinguished with the help of neighbours.
1854 - HIB marries Mary Roosevelt Burke, She is niece of Judge Roosevelt of New York, and prefers living in France where she has a prominent position in the court circles of Paris. Henry is 35 and Mary 16. They spend most of their time in France, buying a home on the Place de l'Etoile in Paris and a villa in Cimiez, Nice.
1857 - A field between Dark Lane and Skipton Road is purchased from The Earl of Burlington. There are two other purchases of land from the Earl of Burlington between 1850 and 1860.
1858 - HIB's daughter Eugenie is born and dies in infancy. The same year his son Frederick William Louis d'Hilliers Roosevelt Theodore Butterfield is born in Paris. Frederick spends much of his childhood alternating between France and England. He has a French nurse.

1860-1879
1865 - A survey of Dark Lane is drawn up by Keighley surveyor B. Hopkinson. The lane is shown as walled on both sides. Most of the land off the lane is stated to be under the ownership of John and William Butterfield, but there are still some original fields under the ownership of others and walled field boundaries are shown. John Butterfield dies this year. Only William and Sarah Butterfield continue to make Cliffe Castle their main home.
1867 - HIB's wife dies. Afterwards Sarah Butterfield acts as surrogate mother to Frederick.
1869 - Frederick accompanies HIB on a trip to America in the spring, taking seventeen days to get there on a paddleboat, and eight days to get back on a sailing boat in the autumn. Sarah Butterfield presents a drinking fountain to the town which replaces the stocks on Church Green. Sarah is fond of animals, is a good horsewoman, and is often seen with her greyhound Chloe. Richard Butterfield dies. William Butterfield's name appears on legal documentation related to the acquisition of a field between Dark Lane and Skipton Road called 'High Cliffe'.
1871 - Sarah Butterfield dies in Palermo. HIB's Paris home is struck by a shell during the Commune rising and he moves some possessions to Cliffe Castle.
1874 - On the death of his brother William, HIB takes over Cliffe Hall as the last remaining Butterfield family member in Keighley. The estate extends to 30 acres.
1875 - HIB begins a nine year spree of rebuilding Cliffe Hall. He employs Bradford Architect George Smith to extend the house with a gothic entrance tower, carriage porch, a fourth reception room, staircase tower and winter garden. Beechcliffe House is purchased. Mr W. E. Maltby is appointed as Head Gardener around this time.
1877 - The road at the side of Cliffe Hall called Cliffe Lane and also known as Fatty Close is stopped up, becoming a private road, but leading to a footpath through to Utley. It was previously used to access land belonging to 'Mrs Craven' before acquisition by the Butterfields. The first Friendly Society procession starts in the grounds of Cliffe Hall. HIB writes about his plans for Beechcliffe which he has recently bought, not wanting it to be prominent from Cliffe Hall, but wanting castellation so as to look in character with the walls. Three statues are dispatched from Milan.
1878 - Cliffe Castle Lodge and the gateway are built, having been designed by George Smith. Cliffe Hall is renamed Cliffe Castle. George Smith designs an extension comprising of a gardener's cottage, potting shed, cart shed, and mistal. At the same time, new glasshouses are added against the walls of the extension with a curved linking glasshouse to Cliffe Castle. A Coachman's house and stabling have already been constructed. Another local architect, Wilson Bailey, adds two more castellated towers, a ballroom, billiard room, new library and a glass dome on the Winter Gardens. Concrete floors are installed in later parts of the house. A Bradford Surveyor, Mr Murray, is employed to landscape the grounds, and plant trees which are mainly lime, chestnut and sycamore. The terraces are created at this time from the sloping banks originally in front of the house. At the rear is another terrace, with a bank sloping down to the house. (Construction of the music room and the later addition of the craft workshop have obliterated the bank at the rear). With HIB often absent, Frederick's early manhood is spent supervising alterations to Cliffe Hall, and later he describes the "enormous expenditure" and "every costly detail his (HIB's) Parisian experiences could suggest". In a letter to his son, HIB reveals his pride in his own house. Two lodges are referred to as 'Large Lodge' and 'Small Lodge'. Tenders for several gates bordering Dark Lane are submitted under HIB instruction from Paris. A new carriage driveway is shown on a drainage drawing which runs from the house to Dark Lane near to the junction with Spring Gardens Lane. HIB refers to Maltby (Head Gardener) planting big trees to mask the six houses of 'Gt M'. The firm Messengers are involved in the building of the Winter Garden and the Vinery. Copying the garden at nearby Oakworth, a rockery and grotto are built by a 'band of Frenchmen' headed up by a Monsieur Ancante, possibly the same men used at Oakworth. A Thames Embankment lamp-post of 1870 is placed on the lawn. Around this time, HIB has two three-tier carved marble fountains brought from Italy. These, together with the pond, all have limestone rock work around them. The original fishpond was probably built earlier for Cliffe Hall gardens.

1880-1899
1880 - Architects Hargreaves and Bailey are commissioned to add the lodge tower at the far end of the glasshouses (still existing), various small service rooms and a music room designed as a baronial hall. They are completed by 1882. Frederick Butterfield stays with his mother's side of the family in America in order to study at the Columbia College Law School, graduating in 1882. His cousin Theodore also studies law at the same time, but does not complete the course, having political ambitions instead.
1882 - Frederick leaves America to join his father in Paris. Plans produced for a water supply show the Cliffe Castle Estate ending at the southern edge of Moorhouse Wood.
1883 - A pipeline is constructed over neighbouring property to supply water to Cliffe Castle. It runs from Utley across Hollins Lane and adjacent to Moorhouse Wood. Frederick Butterfield (HIB's brother) dies having settled in America. An article in 'The Bradford Weekly Telegraph' of 7th July describes the mansion and its gardens.
1884 - A shell sculpture in marble by Italian sculptor Constantino Pandiani is acquired by HIB for installation in the Winter Gardens. Much later it remained in place even after the top of the building was removed, and it is now within the only surviving conservatory. Wanting to get away from "uncomfortable surroundings" Frederick lives in Leipzig between 1884 and 1887 where he learns music and how to play the pianoforte.
1887 - HIB and Frederick are at Cliffe Castle for the summer. Frederick meets his future wife Jessie Kennedy Ridgway at a party held at Cliffe Castle. HIB builds the Victoria Jubilee Tower above Steeton, marking the furthest point of his land. He has already added a lodge on the northern edge of his garden, built as a tower. Plans to create a picturesque landscape with garden buildings and with a new approach to the house over his land that by this time extended to about 300 acres never come to fruition.
1888 - Frederick moves to America and marries Jessie Ridgway. They have a daughter, Marie-Louise Roosevelt. Then they spend two years in Belgium, where Frederick is US Consul, before returning to America.
1889 - HIB offers £1,000 towards a park at Lawkholme rather than on an alternative site next to his land, but he is turned down when the Council site Devonshire Park where it now is.
1892 - HIB has Dark Lane closed by the Borough Council in exchange for a gift of land, now the Leisure Centre site. He contributes a generous £5,250 towards the setting up of Victoria Park.
1893 - Frederick and family move to Washington, having tired of New York.
1894 - Frederick and family move to England to be near HIB who is getting elderly. They live in Oxford up until 1905 where Frederick, having felt the lack of a college education, spends the time studying at the University.
1897 - HIB is awarded Freedom of the Borough.

1901-1929
1901 - Frederick’s cousin Theodore becomes American President.
1904 - The Corporation transforms the single tram track along Skipton Road into a double track system. This necessitates boundary changes to the Cliffe Castle estate in the vicinity of Beechcliffe, with grass edges and railings being set back further from the road. A bust of Marcus Aurelius stands on a pedestal in front of the Winter garden in an illustration from the year.
1905 - Frederick and his daughter visit President Roosevelt and family in America for the winter. HIB sends a present via his son to the President.
1906 - HIB stops travelling to Nice, having bought a property in Teignmouth, Devon, where he lives. The house in Nice is retained in the family until the middle of the century.
1910 - Henry Isaac Butterfield dies in Teignmouth on February 11th following what is reported to be a cold that turned into pneumonia. Frederick William Louis Butterfield inherits Cliffe Castle, and moves in with his family. He writes that there is still enough left of the depleted family fortune to keep up the heavy outlay represented by Cliffe Castle.
1915 - In June, Frederick organises a garden fete at Cliffe Castle to raise money towards fitting up the Keighley Victoria Hospital for receiving wounded soldiers.
1916 - Frederick William Louis Butterfield becomes Mayor of Keighley. He hosts a visit to the town by King George V and Queen Mary on May 29th 1918. He is Mayor from 1916 to 1918.
1922 - Frederick William Louis Butterfield is knighted.
1927 - 16 acres of the estate are sold for £8,000 in order to build Greenhead School. Jessie Ridgway dies. Frederick later re-marries.
1928 - Ownership of the estate is transferred to a company, Cliffe Castle Estates, set up by Sir Frederick.

1930-1949
1939 - The Keighley Corporation considers plans for a new Hard Ings link road and roundabout. A small parcel of Sir Frederick’s land adjacent to the Skipton Road would be needed in order to accommodate the roundabout. It is another 26 years before the project is complete.
1940s - The interiors of Cliffe Castle become plainer and the buildings start to fall into disrepair. The small lodge adjacent to Holly House (Dark Lane entrance) is demolished because the roof caves in.
1941 - Marie-Louise’s husband Gervas Evelyn Pierrepoint succeeds to the Thoresby Hall estate in Nottinghamshire and they become the 6th Earl and Countess Manvers.
1943 - Sir Frederick dies on July 21st and Marie-Louise inherits the Cliffe Castle Estate. She takes some of the contents of Cliffe Castle to her home at Thoresby Hall.
1945 - The structure of the Winter Gardens has become unsafe and is demolished, the base being retained.
1949 - The Cliffe Castle Estate Special Committee is set up by the Corporation to consider the allocation of the control of the estate.

1950-1959
1950 - Cliffe Castle has become empty and is bought for Keighley Town Council by Sir Bracewell Smith, a former Lord Mayor of London, for £18,000 on the 18th January. Lady Smith is reported as being whole heartedly supportive of her husbands proposals. Bracewell Smith’s intentions are to construct a civic centre, with an assembly hall, banqueting chamber, museum and art gallery, and also to open a new grammar school on another part of the site. The 40 acres of grounds are opened to the public immediately, but the house is not, being in a state of disrepair. Plans show the pond as a swimming pool at this time. The Beechcliffe site is not part of the sale.
1950s - The park was replanted with more exotic species than originally planted by HIB, and records are kept in park minute books. The berberis hedge along the terrace path remains and was chosen for its cheerful spring colour.
1953 - Keighley Town Council decide not to go ahead with a £49,000 refurbishment of Cliffe Castle in February, but then during the summer the ground floor of Cliffe Castle is opened to the public for a short period, and in November the Mayor of Keighley calls a meeting to find out how many organisations would use the building if it is put into a state of repair. Sir Bracewell Smith’s offer to pay the cost of Beechcliffe House for use as a boys’ grammar school is turned down by the Council. Moorhouse Wood, originally a small area of woodland on the northern edge of the site, is extended with tree planting within the narrow strip extending north west behind the school grounds.
1955 - The Keighley Corporation has been unable to maintain Cliffe Castle due to the high costs of repair. It is reported that there is rampant dry-rot that could have started 30 years earlier, and structural problems. Keighley Council accept an offer from Sir Bracewell Smith to renovate the mansion. He offers to renovate the building at a cost of £50,000, and sets up a group of Trustees, contributing a further £50,000 to be used for maintenance. Renovation is to be carried out under the supervision of eminent architect Professor Sir Albert Richardson. Keighley Corporation lease Cliffe Castle to the Trustees on a 999 year lease. The main tower is lowered, and the other towers and entire top third storey with gables are removed. The kitchens, service rooms, billiard room, and library are removed and replaced with a new octagonal exhibition hall. The top of the Winter Garden has already been removed, and the base is retained. There is reference on drawings to the curving glasshouse still existing next to the house, but a new roof is specified for the conservatory near to the carriage porch. The North Eastern Gas Board propose a 12” pipeline passing into the park and around the rear of Beechcliffe. In June, the Keighley Cage Bird Society offer to supply birds for the aviary in Cliffe Castle grounds. A small part of the original estate next to Spring Gardens Lane is conveyed to the Corporation from Cliffe Castle Estates, with the purchase price of £300 being paid for by Sir Bracewell Smith.
1956 - Professor Sir Albert Richardson visits Cliffe Castle and comments “The gardens are superb as they are. The mansion will be modified to blend in with the landscape garden and will be like a garden pavilion. I am very pleased with what has been done. They have sorted out the material and it is very well directed. I think the gardens with their autumn tints are among the best of their kind for landscape gardens.” He suggests only small alterations to the gardens, such as re-arranging the vases from their haphazard positions to give a formality on the lines of Versailles. He describes the original mansion as a Victorian fantasy. Sir Bracewell Smith publishes a plan of the future Cliffe Castle.
1957 - The problem of how to acquire an art collection for the new gallery is debated in the press. The decision is taken to transfer historical collections from the Keighley Museum in Victoria Park to Cliffe Castle when the rebuilding is complete.
1958 - The acquisition of Beechcliffe from Timothy Taylor and Company Limited as an adjunct to Cliffe Castle is made with Sir Bracewell Smith providing the purchase price of £5,000. He also contributes £10,000 to the trust fund specifically for Beechcliffe, and it is evident that the intended use was for an elderly person’s centre. Beechcliffe House itself is empty, but the adjacent cottage and part of the garden is let. Much of the conversion of Cliffe Castle has been done, and the new exhibition hall is named the Sir Bracewell Smith Hall. The name decided upon for the estate is Cliffe Castle Park. Sir Bracewell Smith adds another £20,000 to the trust fund.
1959 - On the 14th April Cliffe Castle is officially opened as a museum and art gallery by Sir Bracewell Smith. An under lease between the Trustees and the Corporation lasting 50 years and dated 1959 leases the Cliffe Castle Estate back to the Corporation. Sir Bracewell Smith adds £25,000 to the trust fund. His total contribution to the project is now £170,000. A further under lease between the Trustees and the Corporation allows for an area adjacent to Spring Gardens Lane to be used as a visitor’s car park, and this under lease also permits the use of this area for greenhouses and potting sheds. The Corporation is covenanted to keep the buildings in good repair, and this includes the gardener’s cottage.

1960 to Present