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Thorney, Cambridgeshire

Historical Description

Thorney, a small town and a parish in the Isle of Ely and Cambridgeshire. The town stands on a slight elevation, amid the quondam marshes of the Ken, with a station on the Midland and Great Northern joint railway, 7 miles ENE of Peterborough. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Peterborough. It was anciently called Ancarig and Thorn-ie-the latter signifying " the island of thorns; " rose round a monastery founded in 662; has been almost entirely rebuilt; and has a hotel; a church, a reading-room and library, and horse fairs on 1 July and 21 Sept. The ancient monastery was soon ruined by the Danes; was restored or rebuilt in 972, as a Benedictine abbey, by Bishop Ethelwold; had attached to it an hospital for the poor; gave its abbots a right to a seat in the upper house of parliament; and was given at the dissolution to the Russells. The abbey church was rebuilt in 1089, and became parochial in 1638; but the present church includes little more than the west end of the nave of the ancient one, has additions of 1840-41, and was thoroughly restored in 1888. The parish comprises 17,802 acres of land and 40 of water; population, 1863. The property belongs to the Duke of Bedford. The parish council consists of eleven members. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; gross value, £420 with residence. There is a Primitive Methodist chapel.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCambridgeshire 
Ecclesiastical parishThorney-Abbey St. Botolph 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Thorney from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Cambridgeshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Thorney are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cambridgeshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Cambridgeshire 1575 and 1619 is available online.

CountyCity of Peterborough
Postal districtPE6
Post TownPeterborough