English Place-name Society

Survey of English Place-Names

A county-by-county guide to the linguistic origins of England’s place-names – a project of the English Place-Name Society, founded 1923.

The Owers

Early-attested site in the Parish of Selsey


The Owers are not marked on the O.S. map, but on the Admiralty Charts we have an extensive series of banks of this name, viz. Malt Owers, The Middle Owers, The Outer Owers, running roughly from Medmerry Fm south-eastwards. Mr C. A. Seyler suggests that these may be the last traces of the ora of cymenes ora , the place of landing of the South Saxons in 477 (ASC). This was, according to BCS 64 and 997 (where it is called Cumeneshora and cymenes horan ), south of Pagham or Selsey Harbour just where the coast begins to take a westward turn. Such a position would coincide with the lie of the Owers, and, allowing for the constant advance of the sea on the land, it is probable that the Owers lie where the coast-line lay in the 5th cent.. If so, the Owers are the bank on which the ships of the South Saxons first touched shore. For the pers. name Cymen , cf. cymenes denu in BCS 225, an original 8th cent. Wiltshire charter. OE  ōr > West Sussex [oər], v. EDG § 165.Cf. Ower (Ha), DBHore , 1284 Ch Ore .

Places in the same Parish