Kirkheaton is a village situated 3 miles east of Huddersfield.
Historically it was also a township within the ecclesiastical Parish of Kirkheaton, together with the neighbouring townships of Dalton, Lepton and Whitley Upper, and formed part of the Honour of Pontefract.
The township of Kirkheaton is believed to have comprised the separate hamlets of Kirkheaton and Upper Heaton during the Middle Ages, although "their boundaries did not survive to be recorded by the Ordnance Survey in the nineteenth century".
Kirkheaton was classified as a civil parish from 1837 and as an urban district — with an elected urban district council — from 1894. The urban district was abolished on 1 April 1938 and area was incorporated into the enlarged civil parishes of Huddersfield and Kirkburton.
Pigot and Co.'s Royal National and Commercial Directory of August 1841:
Kirk-Heaton is a populous township and parish in the upper division of Agbrigg wapentake, West Riding, nearly three miles north-east from Huddersfield. The manufacture of fancy goods, chiefly woollen fabrics, and woollen cloths, prevails here to some extent. The places of worship are the parish church, an ancient edifice, dedicated to Saint John ; and three chapels for methodists. The benefice is a rectory, in the patronage of the Rev. M. Alderson, near Rotherham ; the present incumbent is the Rev. Christopher Alderson, and his curate the Rev. George Alston. In the cemetery of the church is a neat monument, erected by subscriptions, to record the awful loss of life from a fire which broke out in Mr. Atkinson's factory, at Colne Bridge, on the 14th of February, 1818, by which seventeen children fell victims to the flames. In the same church-yard is a large yew tree, measuring in girth twenty feet nine inches ; and its antiquity is stated to be traced to the remote period of eight hundred years back. Richard Henry Beaumont, Esq., of Whitley Hall, is lord of the manor. The parish contained, in 1831, upwards of 10,000 inhabitants, and the township about 3,000.
A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848) edited by Samuel Lewis:
HEATON, KIRK (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Huddersfield, Upper division of the wapentake of Agbrigg, W. riding of York; containing 11,930 inhabitants, of whom 3165 are in the township of Kirk-Heaton, 2½ miles (E. by N.) from Huddersfield. The parish consists of the townships of Kirk-Heaton, Dalton, Lepton, and Whitley; and is bounded on the east by the river Calder, which separates it from Mirfield, and on the north-east by the Colne, over which is a handsome bridge. It comprises by computation 6500 acres, whereof about 1800 are arable, 4200 grass-land, and 450 wood. The surface is mountainous; several coal-mines are in operation, and some quarries of good building and flagstone are wrought. The village is pleasantly situated in a deep valley, watered by one of the tributaries of the Colne; the inhabitants are employed in weaving in their cottages a species of fancy goods, a mixture of cotton, woollen, and silk, for gowns and waistcoats. At Colne bridge is a large cotton-mill. The road from Huddersfield to Wakefield, and the Manchester and Leeds railway, pass through the parish. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £25. 13. 9., and in the patronage of the Rev. J. Alderson, with a net income of £537: the tithes of the townships of Kirk-Heaton and Dalton were commuted for land under acts of inclosure in 1799. The church is an ancient structure, with a tower; its principal benefactors were the Hetons, formerly lords of the manor: in the sepulchral chapel of the Beaumont family are some handsome monuments. There are places of worship for Wesleyans.
Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1872) edited by John Marius Wilson:
KIRKHEATON, a village, a township, a parish, and a sub-district in Huddersfield district, W. R. Yorkshire. The village stands in a valley, near the river Colne, and near the Leeds and Manchester railway and the Kirkburton branch railway, 3 miles ENE of Huddersfield ; is a widely scattered place ; and has a station on the railway, and a post office under Huddersfield. The station on the Leeds and Manchester railway is at Heaton Lodge. The township contains also Upper Heaton hamlet, and comprises 1,609 acres. Real property, £5,906 ; of which £600 are in mines, and £24 in quarries. Pop., 3,011. Houses, 617. The parish contains likewise the townships of Dalton, Lepton, and Upper Whitley. Acres, 6,468. Real property, inclusive of Lower Whitley township, £29,148 ; of which £2,070 are in mines, and £50 in quarries. Pop., exc. of Lower Whitley, 11,923. Houses, 2,520. The manor of Kirkheaton belongs to Henry F. Beaumont, Esq. Heaton Lodge, Ravensknowle, Whitley Beaumont, Oak Lands, Greenhead, Grange Hall, Grove House, Westfield House, and Mold Green House are chief residences. The manufacture of fancy woollens, dresses, and vestings, silk spinning, cotton spinning, bleaching, dye-ware-grinding, woollen and cotton dyeing, the manufacture of chemicals, and the working of coal, are carried on. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ripon. Value, £700. Patrons, Trustees. The church is partly ancient ; was partly rebuilt in 1823, and in a subsequent year ; and contains several handsome monuments of the Beaumont family. The p. curacy of Mold Green is a separate benefice. There are, in the several townships, an Independent chapel, four Wesleyan chapels, two Primitive Methodist chapels, a Swedenborgian chapel, two national schools, three mechanics' institutes, and a workhouse ; and the last, at the census of 1861, had 52 inmates. The sub-district is conterminate with the parish.
The extent of the Civil Parish of Kirkheaton (compiled from O.S. maps of the early 1890s) is shown below.