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Horsforth West Yorkshire, information about Horsforth, Horsforth cathedral


is a suburb of the City of Leeds, West Yorkshire. grid reference SE236376

Horsforth was considered to have the largest population of any village in the United Kingdom during the latter part of the nineteenth century. It became officially part of the City of Leeds in 1974.

It has been primarily an agricultural village, although it was also home to quarries of high quality and a number of mills along the banks of Horsforth/Moseley Beck. Stone from Horsforth was used in the construction of Kirkstall Abbey and Scarborough seafront.

Horsforth, up until the mid nineteenth century a small agricultural community, expanded rapidly with the growth of the nearby industrial centre of Leeds.

The Museum's collection and displays aim to illustrate and aspects of life set against the changing role of the Village. Horsforth first appears in the historical record as an entry the Domesday Book (1086 AD). Its name derives from horse and ford, although the actual ford alluded to - there are at least four candidates - is a regular topic of debate.

It has a rail station on the Leeds to Harrogate line which is situated in the Troy district of Horsforth.

Horsforth first appeared in the Domesday Book and its name is from horse and ford but which ford is not known.

The three unnamed Saxon theigns that held the land at the conquest gave way to the King, Robert de Bruce and then lesser Norman nobles, but it was not long after this that most of the village came under the control of Kirkstall Abbey, a nearby Cistercian house founded in 1152 AD.

At the dissolution (1539 AD) Horsforth was partitioned and sold off to five families, one of which was the Stanhopes who achieved supremacy and controlled the village for the next three hundred years. The estate record of the Stanhopes are regarded as one of the most extensive and important collections of its kind, complementing the extensive mediaeval record associated with Kirkstall Abbey's activities.

Industrially, Horsforth has a long history of producing high quality stone from its quarries. Not only did it supply Kirkstall Abbey with building materials and millstones in the medieval period, it provided the stone for Scarborough seafront and sent its prized sandstone from its Golden Bank quarry as far afield as Egypt. Situated on Horsforth Beck were a string of mills serving the textile trade, but a large area of the Village still reflects its original function as an agricultural community.

In the late nineteenth century it achieved note as housing the largest village population in England. Railways, turnpike roads, tramways, an airport and nearby canal made it a focus for almost all forms of public and commercial transport and sealed its fate as a dormitory 'town' of Leeds. Despite its large population and extensive commercial activity this suburban role appears to have stopped it achieving independent town status and it remained a village (as an urban district) until its formal amalgamation with the City of Leeds in 1974.


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