Harry Atkinson, the Premier of New Zealand, named Hurworth after a village he had lived in as a child in England. Atkinson contributed to the establishment of the settlement; he built what is now known as "Hurworth Cottage," from what a sawyer had taught him. Along with six other establishments, Hurworth became a thriving settlement, well known for its fine cheeses. In the wake of the First Taranaki War in 1860, however, Hurworth was abandoned—residents were forced to move to nearby New Plymouth. During the war, many buildings situated on the outskirts of New Plymouth, including Hurworth, were damaged or destroyed. Hurworth Cottage was the only building standing in the area after the war in 1861—although its floor had been set afire. Atkinson did not return to the settlement until 1865. The area afterwards grew into another small locality, and in 1967, the cottage was given to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust by its then-owner, Robert Brown, and has since been preserved.