A Jumbo Design Site
Biltcliffe Family Information
"Bilcliff is a homestead two miles south-west of Penistone and three miles south-east of the boundary of Kirkburton parish in the township of Hepworth. In the Ordnance map the name is given as Belle Clive."
There are gravestones in Penistone churchyard where the surname is followed by "of Billcliff". A modern Ordnance Survey map at a scale of 1:25,000 shows the farm of Lower Belle Clive at National Grid Reference SE219015, not far from the A628 and just south of a minor road.
Alternatively, one book on names suggests the origin as “Billa’s Cliff” where “Billa” is a Saxon name.
One example is that “Billcliffe” was written with a loop on the first “l” but not the second one. This could be taken as an un-crossed “t”. Two badly written “l” s can look like “n” or “nt” and the tendency to slur names soon leads to changes. The 'T' seems to have come from the curate at Cumberworth.
We can be sure that most people now called Bilcliff, Billcliff, Bilcliffe, Billcliffe, Biltcliff and Biltcliffe are related. Biltcluff is very probable. Bintcliff and Bintcliffe are also linked as most occurrences of Bintliff and Bintliffe.
On Tyneside Bilcluff, Bilclough, Bilcleugh, and Bilclugh are less sure. Some people moved there from West Yorkshire but we cannot yet link many of them directly. However, "Bilclough" is common after 1800 and rare before so it appears that "Bilcliff" is the earlier spelling.
Where are we?
One family migrated to New Zealand in the 1880’s and another went to Connecticut., USA. They have spread to Pennsylvania, Tennessee and North Carolina. About twenty years ago we met a young Biltcliffe from Queensland, Australia so there must be at least one family there.
In the case of British Census information now available on-line, be particularly careful. The enumerators spelled as best they could if the people were illiterate. They also made mistakes such as spelling surnames different ways on consecutive lines of one family and occasionally describing daughters as sons and vice versa. They were particularly prone to writing “Bi” as “Be”. Then the transcribers have produced their own variants such as “Bildippe” , “Bilchppe”, "Rildiff" and “Billaleffe”, as well as “Bellcliff”.
The IGI is usually accurate but has some oddities such as “Hannah Herd” for “ Hannah Ward”