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Horsforth – A Brief History

9th March 2016

Horsforth village started back in the Anglo-Saxon period.  The name ‘Horsforth’ was created from the words ‘Horse’ and ‘Forde’, referring to a crossing over the River Aire which was used to transport goods.

As with many areas around Leeds the first written reference to Horsforth was in the 1086 Domesday Book.  Land in Horsforth was under the control of Kirkstall Abbey until 1539, until the dissolution of the monasteries meant the land was sold to various private landowners, including the Stanhope family, of which streets in Horsforth are still named after today.

Horsforth was once notable for supplying high quality stone from its quarries, known as Horsforth Stone.  Some of this stone was used to build Kirkstall Abbey, and also a wall at Scarborough sea front.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Horsforth was thought to be the largest village in England, as it had the highest population.

Interestingly, although Horsforth is now regarded as a suburb of Leeds it actually became a town in 1999, when a parish council was established.

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