Horsley was noted in the Debatable Lands survey of 1604 as being a property held under customary tenancy and occupied by seven men and their families. By the nineteenth century this property, all of which belonged to Lord Redesdale, constituted the first village/hamlet community in upper Redesdale.
The community was centred on the Turnpike road approximately a mile south of Rochester. Hodgson notes that it was sold by the Howards to Lord Cranstoun, a Scottish peer, who sold it to the Earl of Warwick in 1763. In turn, probably in the 1790s, it was sold to Sir John Mitford. Unfortunately, Hodgson does not provide any details of the composition of the property.
An estate map drawn up by Thomas Arkle in 1839 shows the area of “Ancient Land” which was probably some of the property referred to in the seventeenth century survey. Around this had grown up a number of buildings centred on the structure known at the time as the Horsley Inn, now the Redesdale Arms. By 1839, this building had become a posting inn and a place where stage coaches changed horses. The inn also had farmland attached to it and some of the buildings marked on the map close to the inn were agricultural as well as including ones used for the coaching business. The buildings along the Turnpike to the south of the inn housed a blacksmith’s shop and homes for the smith and his assistants.
By the time that the map was made, a large house, occupied by the agents for the estate, had been built to the east of the inn. This was Redesdale Cottage, but there are no details of its construction. Another property is located in the wood alongside the road to the north of the inn. This was a cottage of indeterminate age that was used to house the estate woodman known as Horsley Wood Cottage.
Just to the south of the cottage, a small enclosure has been sketched in the corner of High Field. This became the sight of the present Holy Trinity Church which was built at the expense and under the patronage of Lord Redesdale between 1842 and 1844 as a chapel of ease for the district. At the time, it was served by a curate of the Vicar of Elsdon living at Byrness, but a vicarage was built by Lord Redesdale in 1883 and a separate parish of Horsley was created with its own clergyman (Pevsner et al. 2001).
A number of farms surrounded Horsley, Bagraw, Stewartshields and Elishaw, all of which belonged to the Redesdale estate. Hodgson describes one farm, Stobbs, as a hamlet. Although it had become a single farm by the early nineteenth century, the buildings which are associated with the present farm contain evidence which suggest that some may have been cottages in former times.