Fritwell village, standing about 400 feet up, lies in the south of the ancient parish. By 1086 and throughout the Middle Ages there were two settlements dependent on the two manorial estates in Fritwell, and the village is still divided into a western part on the Somerton road and a southern part on the Middleton road. The latter, in the former Ormond manor, was perhaps the original settlement: it lay beside Aves Ditch and close to a spring which no doubt gave the village its name of Fyrht-w(i)elle or 'wishing well'. This spring, with others in the village, feeds the southern boundary stream, and was thought by Plot to be the source of the Great Ouse. In the 19th century it was known as the Townwell. The church was built between the two settlements. Its dedication to St. Olave, the early-11th-century king of Norway, suggests that there was Danish influence before the Conquest.


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