The Horner family appears to have originated from two main areas, Yorkshire and Hampshire. The name is an occupational surname. Horners made bowls and cups out of horn and appear to have worked for the Cistercian and Augustinian monasteries in Yorkshire and Glastonbury.
The Horners of Yorkshire appear to have orginated in the area of Nidderdale, but they soon spread into many Yorkshire dales and towns. They were closely associated with the Abbeys and Monasteries of Jervaulx, Bylands, Coverham and Fountains. The Nidderdale Horners represent many different branches, some of whom interconnected and married to create large fortunes in Hull. Other branches remained in Nidderdale and were smallholders and weavers in the linen, flax and early cotton industries.
In the York and Ripon areas the Horners were industrious merchants who had followed the monastic trading routes to Hull, and created large fortunes. The Horners were Mayors and Aldermen of Ripon and York and closely associated with the Baltic trading companies, and York Guilds. Some of these Horners had originated from Nidderdale, some moved to London, some remained in Yorkshire and moved to Leeds.
In the Craven area, including Burnsall and Conistone, the Horners were yeomen farmers who appear to have been originally connected with Bolton and Fountains Abbeys. In the nineteenth century Horners from Nidderdale, Coverham and Redmire move into the area. The Foster Horners section tracks the Coverham, Middleham and Redmire Horners.
The Grindleton Horners are closely associated with the Monasteries of Sawley and Whalley and one line accumulated large estates in Slaidburn and Waddington. These estates passed by sale to the Lister Parkers of Browsholme in 1800, and to the Browns of Settle by marriage in the early nineteenth century.
The Skipton Horners represents one line of Nidderdale Horners from Pateley Bridge who moved, via Settle and Austwick in Clapham Parish to Skipton, by 1834. This line is intimately connected with the other non-Horner lines on this website.
The Glastonbury Horners represent research into the line of Horners who reputedly are the source of the famous nursery rhyme Little Jack Horner. Whether or not this line is connected with the Horners of Nidderdale is open for debate. Nineteenth century antiquarians were convinced that this line was descended from Nidderdale via Ripon. I am not convinced! Whatever the reality, the Glastonbury Horners show how one Horner family greatly benefitted from the dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey.