The village water pump, with its thatched roof.
The village water pump, with its thatched roof

The parish of Fringford is bounded on the east by the Roman road that linked Alchester with Towcester, on the south by a brook that joins the River Bure, on the north by a brook that forms a tributary of the Great Ouse, and on the west by field boundaries. Fringford village is in the north of the parish, surrounded on two sides by a bend in the tributary of the Great Ouse.

At the southern edge of the parish, beside the tributary of the River Bure, there may have been a Roman villa. The site is only about 200 yards west of the Roman road. It is now occupied by Fringford Lodge.

Fringford’s toponym is derived from an Old English tribal or family name Ferring and the ford that formed the only crossing-point of the narrow stream that flows around the village. An earlier form of the name would have been Ferringas-ford.

After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, William of Normandy gave his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, manors that included Fringford. Later the Crown deposed Odo and granted the manor of Fringford to Baron William de Arsic of Cogges.

By the early part of the 12th century William’s son Baron Manasses Arsic had built a stone church. It was dedicated to Saint Michael and All Angels and granted to the Benedictine Priory founded at Cogges by Baron William.

The west tower of the church has three bells. Robert Atton, of Buckingham, cast the second bell in 1617. Richard III Chandler, of Drayton Parslow, cast the treble and tenor bells in 1702. The church also has a Sanctus bell that Robert I Wells, of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, cast in about 1780.

In 1815 Henry Dawson Roundell was appointed Rector. He is described as “possessed of ample means and genial temperament”. He started letting parts of the parish glebe as allotments for labourers in the parish and, throughout his incumbency, he promoted the restoration of the church.

The north aisle was rebuilt in 1905 and the roof was restored in 1909.

Fringford in the 19th century is associated with Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise to Candleford trilogy, in which Fringford is the model for Candleford Green. In 1844 the Oxford Chronicle noted “there aren’t enough dwellings to shelter the poor”. The 1851 census shows a population of 357 and during this time the parish had only a few good farm-houses. However, the population grew and in 1871 reached 479, its highest number until the 1990s.

Fringford then had five blacksmiths, three carpenters, three sawyers, three brickmakers, a stonemason, a shoemaker, three decorators, a carrier, a coal haulier, two bakers, two grocers and a butcher. Also two grooms, two footmen, six gardeners and a coachman from Fringford were employed at Shelswell House, Tusmore Park and Swift House.

Mains electricity was not supplied until after the Second World War and mains water didn’t arrive until 1960.