The village's historical roots are survived by the presence of an originally Anglo-Saxon church which underwent significant modification in Norman times. Typically Saxon herring-bone masonry can still be seen in the tower. Despite being an administrative centre for hundreds of years, the population remained small and mostly agricultural until the late 18th century when coal mining began on a relatively small scale in local bell pits. The advent of deeper mining and the discovery of coal seams in Allerton Bywater saw Kippax undergo a rapid expansion in the 19th century into a typical northern mining community. The decline in deep coal mining saw the Allerton Bywater pit finally close in the 1990s despite being in decline since the 1970s.