Why is Worthing called Worthing?

Ever wondered how our wonderful town got its name?

Thursday, 20th July 2017, 2:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:24 am
Worthing pier at dawn, photographed by Jenny Durrant of Worthing SUS-160405-100203001

We did, so we sent our reporter down to Worthing Library to see what he could find out.

The town of Worthing dates back to at least 1086 and appears in William the Conqueror’s Domesday Book as ‘Ordinges’, according to historian Anthony Poulton-Smith in ‘West Sussex Place Names’.

Mr Poulton-Smith said the name Worthing is a combination of a Saxon name and the Old English word ‘inga’.

He writes: “This tells us this was the ‘(place of) the family or followers of a man called Weorth’.

The town’s name has evolved over time, going through several stages before arriving at the modern day ‘Worthing’, according to Judith Glover’s ‘The Place Names of Sussex’.

According to her, the town was known as ‘Ordinges’ in 1086 and then ‘Wurddingg’ in 1218, ‘Wurthing’ in 1240, ‘Worthinges’ in 1288 and ‘Wyrthyng’ in 1397.

She added: “Worthing’s popularity as a coastal resort began in 1798 when Princess Amelia, a daughter of George III, was sent here by her father to ‘recuperate’ from a love affair with one of his equerries.

“Until sea-bathing became fashionable in the late 18th-century, Worthing had been a small fishing village, but by 1820 it had firmly established itself as a rival to Brighton.”

Got a great fact about Worthing’s history? Want to share some unbeatable trivia?

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