Historically there are many good reasons to visit Horbury, all of them are good and some of them you may even find a little surprising.
Recorded in the Domesday survey as “Orberie.” Horbury’s fascinating architectural features include a number of notable medieval and Georgian buildings interspersed with an interesting mixture of Victorian properties.
The medieval remains include timber-framed Horbury Hall in Church Street, and Nether Hall in Cluntergate now the Shepherd’s Arms. Tithe Barn Street bears signs of the former barn, an old lock-up or “kidcote” originally used as a prison with adjacent former 18th century Sunday School.
Notable from the Georgian period is eighteenth century Sunroyd House now known at Carr Lodge Mansion and awaiting exciting re-development.
When the Victorian House of Mercy opened in 1858 it was the first religious community to be founded in the north of England since the Reformation. Its purpose was to rescue fallen women from sin and destruction. As the huge complex developed it embraced a convent, chapel, hospital and retreat for the clergy. Subsequently re-named St Peter’s Convent it opened a private preparatory school dedicated to St. Hilda in 1949 and still flourishes today.
Famous sons connected with the township include: John Carr (1723-1807), the renowned Georgian architect and a former Lord Mayor of York who was born in the town and funded the church of St Peter & St Leonard. This also serves as his mausoleum which may be visited on special occasions.
The contemporary novelist Stan Barstow, who wrote “A Kind of Loving,” was born in Horbury and his novel “Joby” was filmed in the town. A famous Victorian “visitor” was Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) who married a local girl and wrote the words of the famous hymn, “Onward Christian Soldiers.” Other names associated with music include David Turton (1768-1846) and William Baines (1899-1922).
The nearby National Coal Mining Museum commemorates our coal mining heritage and other former dominant industries include Richard Sutcliffe, Mining Engineers Charles Roberts, Waggon Repairs, Slazenger International Sports Equipment, Redicut International, Leather Products and Richard Poppleton Knitting Wools.
The town also has a myriad of organisations including the historic Common Lands Trust inaugurated by Sir Gervase Clifton in 1653, the Daniel Gaskell Committee, Civic Society, Heritage Trust, Horbury Town Centre Partnership, Horbury Craft & Street Fayre Committee and Horbury & District Historical Society.
Horbury is a small town with a difference. We hope you will visit and enjoy its many treasures.
To find out even more about Horbury, download our leaflet. The leaflet includes a town centre trail and a further circular walk that follows snickets and alleys, canal paths and bridges and ends with a walk in the park. Events and leisure activities are also covered with lovely photographs illustrating what Horbury has to offer.