Towersey shown within Oxfordshire
|Population||425 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|Website||Towersey village website|
Towersey is a village and civil parish about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) 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 Towersey Halt 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.
The village is the setting for the Towersey Village Festival which is a festival of folk music and dance. It was founded in 1965 and is held annually on August bank holiday weekend. Its foundation was followed by the foundation in 1966 of a Cotswold Morris side, Towersey Morris, which still performs today.
- "Area: Towersey CP (Parish): Parish Headcounts". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
- Great Britain Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, Bullington RD. Retrieved on 2009-09-09.
- Ekwall, E. (1940) The Concise Dictionary of English Place-names; 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press; pp. 164, 456 (the earliest record of Kingsey is as "Eya" in 1174, then in 1194 as "Kingseie").
- Towersey Festival: St Catherine's parish church
- Sherwood & Pevsner, 1974, page 819
- The Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bellringers, South Oxon Branch: Towersey
- Towersey village website
- Disused Railways website
- The Three Horseshoes
- Towersey Morris
- Sherwood, Jennifer; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1974). The Buildings of England: Oxfordshire. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 819–820. ISBN 0-14-071045-0.
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