English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.


Major Settlement in the Parish of Guiseley

Historical Forms

  • Ho(r)seford(e) 1086 DB
  • Horsseford(a) 1154–70 YCh 1293 QW
  • Horseford(e) 12,13 Kirkst 1246 c.1250 Calv 1316 Vill
  • Horseforth(e) 1379 PT 1622 Comm
  • Horsford 1154–79 YCh1452 1574,1871–2 Kirkst 1202–8 Ass 1237 Skyr 1246,1250 FF 1327 SR
  • Horsforth 1378 Baild 1597 SessnR 1614 FF
  • Horsfourth 1674 PRAdel
  • vadi de Horsford in 1154–75 YCh 1574


Mr R. H. M. Dolley, who has provided numerous coin spellings (mostly with the reading Orsna Forda), dates these coins 895–905 and on numismatic grounds thinks they have a northern provenance, since they are associated with finds in the Ouse at York and at Cuerdale and Little Crosby (La), no specimens having been found south of the Humber. Orsna Ford would stand for OE  Horsna-ford and Horsforth seems to be the only northern p.n. at all resembling this. Horsforth is usually interpreted on the evidence of the other later spellings to be 'horse ford', that is 'one which a horse can cross' (v. hors , ford ). But the OE  form is a gen.pl. orsna - and could only be from an OE  wk. noun horsa , which is not recorded either in OE or (in corresponding forms) in cognate languages, except as the name of the Jutish leader Horsa (Redin 77) and perhaps also as a pers.n. in the p.ns. Horsanleah BCS 282 (Brk) and Horsenden Bk 169; the ON  byname Hrossi might also be adduced (though a different explanation can be given of the only example, Þorgrims hrossa prestz , v. LindBN 158). An OE  secondary weak declension form horsa as an appellative as well as a pers.n. is possible in these p.ns. and is certainly demanded by orsna ford 'ford of the horses' (whatever the identification); although they eventually achieved a semantic differentiation OE  bucc and bucca provide a parallel pair of a strong and a weak form from the same root (cf. NED s.v. buck sb. 1). The later forms of Horsforth (Horsford , Horseford ) could come equally well from OE  hors-ford , horsa-ford (with the normal gen.pl. horsa ) or horsna-ford . The location of the ford (which was called vadi de Horsford in 1154–75 YCh 1574) is not known, but the nearest crossing of the R. Aire is by Newlay Bridge.v. Addenda.

Places in the same Parish

Other OS name

Early-attested site