"Thorney is a small village, 8 miles east of Tuxford, and 14 miles north by east of Newark. Its parish forms a tongue of land which stretches into Lincolnshire, and comprises the three townships of Thorney, Broadholme and Wigsley, in which are 413 inhabitants and 4,140 acres of land, of which 300 acres are in woods, of the value of £2,690. The manor of Thorney has long been possessed by the Nevile family, and now belongs to the Rev. Christopher Nevile, who resides in the Hall, a neat modern mansion near the church.
The church is a handsome edifice with two bells, dedicated to St Helen. It was rebuilt of stone at the sole expense of the present vicar and the Nevile family. It is in the Norman style and will seat 300 persons. The pews are all open, and all the windows are of beautifully stained glass. It was consecrated April 11 1850. In the vestry are two ancient tablets of the Nevile family. The living is a vicarage, valued in the King's books at £4 7s 6d, now at £1,600. The Rev. Christopher Nevile B.A. is the patron and incumbent, and the Rev. Henry Nevile B.A. the curate. There is a small vicarage house and 18 acres of glebe, purchased with £400 of Queen Anne's bounty. In 1841, a Sunday School was erected by Captain Nevile, father of the present incumbent, and about 50 children attend.
The township contains 2,380 acres of land, of the rateable value of £1,400. The vicarial tithe was commuted in 1843 for £170."
[WHITE's "Directory of Nottinghamshire," 1853]


Archives & Libraries

The Library at Newark will prove useful in your research.



  • The parish was in the North Collingham sub-district of the Newark Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1841 H.O. 107 / 862
1861 R.G. 9 / 2476
1871 R.G. 10 / 3539
1881 R.G. 11 / 3373
1891 R.G. 12 / 2711

Church History

  • Legend has it that the local people asked to settle here around 662 and the place was known as "Ancarig", or "the island of the hermits".
  • Danish invaders destroyed the religious settlement here in 870 AD.
  • There is no mention of a church here in the 1086 Domesday Book.
  • There was very likely a church built here prior to 1201.
  • Thorney had a monastic settlement until 1550.
  • The church was repaired in 1635.
  • The Anglican parish church is dedicated to Saint Helen (Helena).
  • The church was rebuilt in 1849-50.
  • Richard CROFT has a photograph of St. Helen's Church on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2006.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1562 and is in fair condition.
  • Also, you can search the East Trent Genealogy site for church records.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Collingham.

Civil Registration

  • The parish was in the North Collingham sub-district of the Newark Registration District.
  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.

Description & Travel

Thorney is a small village and a parish which contains three townships: Thorney, Broadholme and Wigsley. The parish is 149 miles north of the city of London, on the A47 trunk road near the navigable Fossdyke Canal and about 11 miles south-east of Retford. The parish covers 4,140 acres.

If you are planning a visit:

  • Bus service out of Newark is available on the #67 line operated by Travel Wright.
You can see pictures of Thorney which are provided by:






Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Thorney has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



  • Archaeologists have found traces of Iron Age, Bronze age and Roman settlements around the parish.
  • The Saxons built a settlement here around 500 AD.
  • The parish used to have lands on the west side of the Trent River, but, after a deanery judgement in 1301, the parish surrendered all the holding on the west side of the River Trent.
  • The village was built upon a low island in the swampy Fens that was about 5 metres high.
  • The surrounding Fens were drained in the 17th century.
  • In 1855 there was a Public House called "The Buffalo Head" in Drinksey Nook, run by Robert RABY.


  • Thorney Hall was the residence of George NEVILE, esq, J. P. in 1881. It was a red brick building.


  • See our Maps page for additional resources.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK859728 (Lat/Lon: 53.24528, -0.714178), Thorney which are provided by:


Military History

  • The hamlet of Wigsley is a "Thankful Village", having sent 7 lads off to war in world War One and all returned alive.
  • RAF Wigsley was opened on 8 February 1942.
  • Built mostly in Wigsley township, the airfield extended across the border into Lincolnshire.
  • The airfield operated as a satellite to RAF Swinderby in Lincolnshire as a part of Bomber Command.
  • The airfield saw a little combat usage during the war. It was used primarily as part of RAF Swinderby's training role.
  • The airfield closed on 1 July 1958.
  • Photographs of the Control Tower show the present condition of the Control Tower.
  • The gate and gate posts to the parish church are a War Memorial. Richard CROFT has a photograph of the War Memorial gates on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2006.

Military Records

There are the 4 names listed on the north gate of the WWI War Memorial gateway:

  1. J. BRIGGS
  4. T. HARDY

There are the 4 names listed on the south gate of the WWI War Memorial gateway:

  1. G. LOBLEY
  3. J. REAR

Richard CROFT has a photograph of five Commonwealth War Graves on Geo-graph, taken in October, 2006. The description includes the monument inscriptions. Four of the men died on the same day.

The churchyard contains a total of ten Commonwealth War Graves from World War II. They are for:

  1. Raymond George ALEXANDER, srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 27, died 31 Aug. 1944. Husband of Joan Nora ALEXANDER of Egham, Surrey.
  2. Patrick BROOK, srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 27, died 2 Mar 1943. Son of Evan and Violet Emily BROOK of Hampstead, London.
  3. William Ernest John COX, flgt. srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 21, died 31 Aug. 1944. Husband of Gladys Ethel COX of Hornchurch, Essex.
  4. Robert William HOLDITCH, pilot ofcr., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 22, died 17 Jan. 1945. Son of Robert Reginald and of Hilda Edith HOLDITCH.
  5. Aereon HUGHES, srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 20, died 31 Aug. 1944. Son of Harry and S. E. Hughes, of Tan-y-fron Denbighshire.
  6. James William HUMPHREY, srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 23, died 14 Jan. 1945. Son of Mr. and Mrs. James Henry HUMPHREY of Penge, Kent.
  7. Walter Stephen JOBLING, Flying ofcr., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 34, died 1 Sep. 1943. Husband of Dinah Annie JOBLING of Lincoln
  8. James LAMBELL, srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 36, died 31 Aug. 1944. Son of Samuel and Eleanor LAMBELL, of Darlington, Co. Durham.
  9. Joseph John Gordon NICHOLSON, flgt. srgt., RAF Vol. Rsrv., age 28, died 12 Apr. 1944. Husband of Joan NICHOLSON of South Africa.
  10. Robert William RASHBROOK, flgt. srgt., RAAF., age 20, died 1 Sep. 1943. Son of Ethel May RASHBROOK of Bassendean Western Australia.

Names, Geographical

  • The name Thorney is from the Old English Thorn+haga, or "thorn-tree enclosure". In the 1086 Domesday Book, the village is given as Torneshale. [A. D. MILLS, "A Dictionary of English Place-Names," Oxford University Press, 1991].

Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient parish in county Nottingham and became a modern Civil Parish when those were established.
  • The parish was in the northern division of the ancient Newark Wapentake (Hundred) in the southern division of the county.
  • You can contact the local Parish Council concerning civic or political issues, but they are NOT staffed to assist you with family history searches.
  • For today's district governance, contact the Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Newark petty session hearings every other Wednesday.
  • After the Poor Law Amendment Act reforms of 1834, the parish became part of the Newark Poor Law Union.
  • The Common Lands were enclosed in 1843.


 Year Thorney Broadholme Wigsley
1801 134 47 62
1851 191 115 106
1881 162 95 91
1891 186 102 78
1901 192 90 89