Halifax () is a minster and market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. It is the commercial, cultural and administrative centre of the borough, and the headquarters of Calderdale Council. In the 15th century, the town became an economic hub of the old West Riding of Yorkshire, primarily in woollen manufacture. Halifax is the largest town in the wider Calderdale borough. Halifax was a thriving mill town during the industrial revolution.
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. The legend is almost certainly medieval rather than ancient, although the town's 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.
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