Towersey is a village and civil parish about east of Thame in Oxfordshire. The village was part of Buckinghamshire for most of its history, but the boundary was moved in 1933 when Towersey was swapped for Kingsey.
The toponym is Old English in origin; the earliest form is "Eia" in Domesday Book, 1086, with the meaning "island". In the middle of the 13th century it is recorded as "Turrisey" and "Tureseye" meaning island held by the de Turs family (Richard de Turs held the manor in 1252). This refers to a dry area of land in the marshes of the Aylesbury Vale, on the edge of which the village stands.
The Church of England parish church of Saint Catherine is said to date from the 12th century. Its chancel was built early in the 13th century in the Early English style, and the nave was rebuilt early in the 14th century in the Decorated Gothic style. In 1850-54 the architect James Cranston restored St. Catherine's and added the bell tower, which is in a slightly unusual position on the south side of the nave. The tower has five bells: a peal of four cast in the 17th century and a small Sanctus bell cast at a later date.
In 1862 the Wycombe Railway was extended from High Wycombe to Thame, crossing Chinnor Road on a bridge just south of Towersey. In 1864 the line was extended again from Thame to Oxford. In 1933 the Great Western Railway opened on the west side of the bridge. British Railways withdrew passenger services in 1963 and freight services in 1991. The track has now been lifted but the bridge with its steel span over Chinnor Road still survives.
Birth, marriage and death certificates can now be ordered online from Buckinghamshire County Council. The full postal address is Buckinghamshire Register Office, County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1YU.
The Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies (County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury, HP20 1UU) holds
In Buckinghamshire, as with other counties in England and Wales, the location of offices where Births, Marriages and Deaths were registered has altered with other changes in local government. A list of the location of Registration Offices since civil registration began in 1837 has been prepared by GENUKI (Genealogy: United Kingdom and Ireland). The table also gives details of when each Registration Office was in existence. In the case of Buckinghamshire, the same registration offices were used for the censuses since 1851.
Nineteenth Century Local Administration
English Jurisdictions is a webpage provided by FamilySearch which analyses every ecclesiastical parish in England at the year 1851. It provides, with the aid of outline maps, the date at which parish records and bishops transcripts begin, non-conformist denominations with a chapel within the parish, the names of the jurisdictions in charge: county, civil registration district, probate court, diocese, rural deanery, poor law union, hundred, church province; and links to FamilySearch historical records, FamilySearch Catalog and the FamilySearch Wiki. Two limitations: only England, and at the year 1851.
During the 19th century two bodies, the Poor Law Union and the Sanitary District, had responsibility for governmental functions at a level immediately above that covered by the civil parish. In 1894 these were replace by Rural and Urban Districts. These were elected bodies, responsible for setting local property assessments and taxes as well as for carrying out their specified duties. Thses districts continued in operation until 1974. Urban districts for larger municipalities were called "Municipal Boroughs" and had additional powers and obligations.
Poor Law Unions, established nationally in 1834, combined parishes together for the purpose of providing relief for the needy who had no family support. This led to the building of '"union poorhouses" or "workhouses" funded by all the parishes in the union. The geographical boundaries established for the individual Poor Law Unions were employed again when Registration Districts were formed three years later. In 1875 Sanitary Districts were formed to provide services such as clean water supply, sewage systems, street cleaning, and the clearance of slum housing. These also tended to follow the same geographical boundaries, although there were local alterations caused by changes in population distribution.
Online Historical References