Heene comes from the word hīun or hīwun meaning family or household.
Once part of the parish of West Tarring, Heene was a civil parish in its own right from the 16th century until 1890 when it became part of the Borough of Worthing. Its borders are defined by the Teville Stream and Tarring Road to the north and Elm Grove and Wallace Avenue (once known as Sea Lane) to the west.
During the English Civil War in January 1644, the Spanish warship the Santiago (St James), was beached at Heene. The ship had several Royalist officers on board, as well as 24 brass guns, 2,000 arms and 100 barrels of gunpowder and a large cargo of linen. The ship had set sail from the port of Dunkirk, at the time part of the Spanish Empire, having been pursued by Dutch men of war and to avoid capture seems to have tried to head for either Shoreham or Arundel. The ship was seized by the Parliamentarian William Waller and its contents taken to be securely stored at Arundel Castle.
In the 1670s, three streets in Heene are mentioned - East Street, West Street and High Street (today's Heene Road).
As with other parts of Worthing, the coastline of Heene has changed greatly in recent centuries. The sea is thought to have encroached some 55 yards (50 m) in the century up to 1875. In the early 19th century, the area along the coast known as Heene Common was made up of rough pasture intersected by watercourses and covered with gorse.
In the early 19th century settlement was in Heene village and in an area known as Little Heene in Brunswick Road. The area had a reputation for wildness and lawlessness at the time. Edward Ogle (known locally as 'King' Ogle) and other Commissioners in the new town of Worthing to the east erected a wall at the Heene-Worthing boundary to keep the 'lawless' of Heene out of the civilised east.
In 1863, William Westbrooke Richardson, who owned most of the manor of Heene, sold his land to the Heene Estate Land Company, which in turn sold the southern part of its land to the West Worthing Investment Company in 1864. In 1865, the property of the two companies became the new town of West Worthing, which was intended to be an upmarket resort and residential area in its own right. In 1873, West Worthing was extended westwards up to the boundary with the parish of Goring at George V Avenue. The term West Worthing is still in use today.
In 1873, a new St Botolph's Church was opened on the site of the ruined chapel with the same dedication. In 1882, and again in 1895, there were plans for a pier at the bottom of Grand Avenue, which never came to fruition. West Worthing railway station opened in 1889 to serve the new town of West Worthing. The following year, West Worthing merged into the new borough of Worthing. In 1894, West Worthing was described as being chiefly a good class residential area with much the same relation to Worthing as Hove to Brighton.
In the early 21st century, the formerly wild part of Worthing once known as Little Heene is now known as Worthing's West End.
- Glover, Judith (1997), Sussex Place-Names: Their Origins and Meanings (Countryside Books ISBN 978-1-85306-484-5)
- Heene | British History Online
Media related to Heene at Wikimedia Commons