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Frilsham
St. Frideswide's Church

Frilsham has a delightful little church hidden away at a bend in the road. It's most significant feature is its circular churchyard, an indication of an Iron Age pagan site. The later Roman temple here would have been converted for Christian worship in late Roman or early Saxon period. It could have originally been used for the worship of Jupiter, for an altar dedicated to the chief of the gods was once found buried in the parish.

Strong local legend tell us that the church stands on the site of the pig-sty to which St. Frideswide fled from the unwanted attentions of a Mercian prince in the late 7th century. Presumably the local swineherds had made good use of the old ruined temple. Frideswide hid there for some time, sustained by a nearby well, still pointed out today. When this lady's pursuer eventually caught up with her, she prayed for deliverance and the prince's eyes popped out! She miraculously restored them upon a promise that she would thenceforth be left alone. Frideswide was a princess herself and her father gave he land to found a nunnery on the site of what is now Oxford Cathedral.

There is nothing left of the Saxon Church built here to commemorate to holy events of St. Frideswide's life, but the present building is of 12th century date. The chancel and larger windows were added in the 15th century under the patronage of Sir John Norreys. The brick tower only dates from 1834, but probably replaced an earlier wooden bell turret. The two bells are dated 1662.
 

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