The former spelling of Gisburne was phased out after the introduction of railways in the parish. Gisburn railway station was closed under the Beeching Axe in 1962. Before standardized spelling, Gisburne and similar spellings were also sometimes used for Guisborough in North Yorkshire, leading to Gisburn often being referred to as “Gisburn in Craven”.
Historically Gisburn was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, within the Deanery of Craven, and Wapentake of Staincliffe. It touched the historic county of Lancashire on the south. Today it is in Lancashire, and touches North Yorkshire on the north.