Thorney is a village about 8 miles (13 km) east of Peterborough in the City of Peterborough unitary authority, England, on the A47. Historically it was part of the Isle of Ely, which was considered part of Cambridgeshire but was transferred into the former county of Huntingdon and Peterborough and remained part of the Peterborough district into the transfer to Cambridgeshire and when it became a unitary authority in 1998.
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries the estate became crown property and it was granted to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford in 1550. At this time only a few hundred acres of the land was cultivatable. In the 1630s Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford spent a reputed £100,000 draining the fens, bringing almost all of the estate and parish of nearly into agricultural use. A community of Walloon Protestant refugees, originally from areas of Flanders that are now northern France, was settled here in the 17th century with their own church and minister, employing the ruins of the abbey for services in their own language. The Walloons had expertise in fenland drainage. The Russell family's rents from the Thorney estate increased from £300 in 1629 to £10,000 by the early 19th century. The family, whose main seat was at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire, occasionally resided at the manor house in Thorney village, which was known as Abbey House. The estate was sold to the tenants in 1910.
Much of the village was built at the command of the Dukes of Bedford, who wished to have a healthy place in which their estate workers could live. In the mid 19th century many buildings were added to the designs of the architect S.S. Teulon, himself a descendant of Huguenots. This explains the uniformity of the housing in the original centre of Thorney.
The 7th Duke of Bedford's model agricultural village included a modern water supply and sewerage scheme. This neo-Jacobean Tankyard building, now known as Bedford Hall, includes a 96 ft high water tower, erected in 1855, that supplied fresh water to the village. Part of the building houses Thorney Heritage Museum.
The windmill on the outskirts dates from 1787 and contains six floors; it originally had six sails. During the war four German prisoners of war used it as a base during the day whilst working the land.
The village had a railway station on the old Peterborough to Wisbech line. The station and the line were closed in the early 1960s. Little evidence to suggest a rail link now remains, apart from level crossing gates at the side of Station Road. These gates are apparently not the original ones, the original being much larger.
The A47 bypass opened in Winter 2005. The opening of the bypass has made the village much quieter.
The village's only school is the Duke of Bedford Primary School which is located next to Wisbech Road.