Facts about Horbury
Horbury is a town in the City of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, England. Historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated north of the River Calder about three miles (5 km) south west of Wakefield and two miles (3 km) to the south of Ossett. It includes the outlying areas of Horbury Bridge and Horbury Junction. At the 2001 census the Horbury and South Ossett ward of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council had a population of 10,002. At the 2011 census the population was 15,032. Old industries include woollens, engineering and building wagons for the railways. Horbury forms part of the Heavy Woollen District.
The name Horbury is attested in 1086 as (H)orberie. It is derived from Old English horu ‘dirty land’ and burh (in its dative form byrig), which translates as ‘filthy fortification’ or ‘stronghold on muddy land’. Other spellings include Orberie, Horbiry and Horberie. The name possibly referred to a fortification near an old fording point of the River Calder.
The settlement predates the Domesday Book of 1086 in which Horbury and Crigglestone, on the south side of the River Calder, were the only parts of the Manor of Wakefield not described as “waste”. The survey recorded about 40 people and four ox-drawn ploughs in ‘Orberie’ and ‘Crigeston’ combined. About 400 acres (1.6 km2) of land were in cultivation and much woodland. Horbury had a church dating from about 1106 which was a daughter church of the church in Wakefield and possibly replaced an earlier Saxon church. The Norman church had a tower, nave and chancel.