Place:West Thorney, Sussex, England

NameWest Thorney
Coordinates50.821°N 0.928°W
Located inSussex, England
Also located inWest Sussex, England     (1865 - )
See alsoChichester Rape, Sussex, Englandrape in which it was located
Bosham Hundred, Sussex, Englandhundred in which it was located
Westbourne Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district of which it was part 1894-1933
Chichester Rural, Sussex, Englandrural district 1933-1974
Chichester District, West Sussex, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Family History Library Catalog
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

West Thorney is a village and civil parish in the Chichester District of West Sussex, England located 9 kilometres (5.4 miles) west of Chichester south of the A27 road.

West Thorney has a land area of 1223 hectares (3021 acres or 4.72 sq mi). In the 2001 census 1079 people lived in 217 households. At the 2011 Census the population was 1,183.

The parish is located on Thorney Island, the southern part of a peninsula of land between two arms of Chichester Harbour, separated from the mainland by a channel called the Great Deep. The island was a World War II airfield named RAF Thorney Island which remained in use until 1976. Since 1982 the base has been used by the Royal Artillery who only allow the church and coastal footpath to be open to the public (and then with security measures in place).

The Anglican parish church is dedicated to St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors. The original building dates from around 1100 A.D.

The Manor of Thorney belonged to the chapelry of Bosham at the Norman conquest and was held by the Bishops of Exeter. In 1086 A.D. the Domesday Book recorded that 'Mauger holds of the land of this church 12 hides as one manor; it is called Tornei and pays geld for 8 hides'. It was sold by the Bishop of Exeter in 1548 to Thomas Fisher, who the following year sold it to Henry Bickley.

Just to the south of Thorney Island is the smaller Pilsey Island, a haven for birds.

The following description from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72 is provided by the website A Vision of Britain Through Time (University of Portsmouth Department of Geography).

"THORNEY (West), a parish in Westbourne [registration] district, Sussex; within Chichester harbour, 3 miles SW of Bosham [railway] station, and 6½ WSW of Chichester. Post town: Emsworth [Hampshire]. The area was insular, with 940 acres of land and 2,065 of foreshore; but works were in progress in 1865 to unite it with the mainland, and to reclaim about 2,000 acres of the foreshore. Real property: £1,808. Population: 93. Houses: 23. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Chichester. Value: £320. Patron: F. Padwick, Esq. The church is plain."

Google Earth took its aerial photographs of this area at low tide. The result is a very informative picture of the local area. Enter "West Thorney, Emsworth, UK" in the Search Box.

Research Tips

  • The West Sussex Record Office is located in Chichester. Because it holds the records of the Church of England Diocese of Chichester, which covers the whole of Sussex, it has church records relating to both parts of Sussex.
  • An on-line catalogue for some of the collections held by the West Sussex Record Office is available under the Access to Archives (A2A) project (a nationwide facility housed at The National Archives, Kew).
  • West Sussex Past - database of 2 million records from West Sussex heritage organizations.
  • The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies' Sussex Collection (PDF). This is a 9-page PDF naming the files relating to Sussex in their collection-a possible first step in a course of research.
  • The National Library of Scotland has a website which provides maps taken from the Ordnance Survey England & Wales One-Inch to the Mile series of 1892-1908 as well as equivalent maps for Scotland itself. The immediate presentation is a "help" screen and a place selection screen prompting the entry of a location down to town, village or parish level. These screens can be removed by a click of the "X". The map is very clear and shows parish and county boundaries and many large buildings and estates that existed at the turn of the 20th century. Magnification can be adjusted and an "overlay feature" allows inspection of the area today along with that of 1900. The specific map from the series can be viewed as a whole ("View this map") and this allows the inspection of the map legend (found in the left hand bottom corner. Becoming familiar with the various facilities of these maps is well worth the trouble.

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at West Thorney. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.