The Abbey of St. Frideswide in Oxford has significant associations with Hungerford, and especially with Eddington.
One of the early references to Hungerford by name appears in the Cartulary of St Frideswide in 1147. The document mentions a parish church at Hungerford, which appears to have been in existence for some years previously. An agreement makes clear that Robert de Beaumont (1st Earl of Leicester), who was lord of both Eddington and Hungerford, wished to prevent the development in Eddington of a rival church to that at Hungerford. This suggests that Robert de Beaumont was wishing to promote the further development of Hungerford as a developing community, perhaps as a developing market town. Follow this link for more on the early manororial history of Hungerford.
Frideswide was the abbess, and possibly the founder, of that earliest priory in Oxford, which developed on the site of present-day Christ Church. Frideswide was the daughter of a Saxon nobleman. The story goes that she built the abbey as a means to preserve her virginity. When a personal suitor tried to take Frideswide by force, he was struck blind; only when the saintly Frideswide forgave him was his sight restored.
Frideswide was buried in her monastery, which became the nucleus of the nascent town of Oxford. St Frideswide is the patron saint of the city, and she is remembered every year on 19 Oct in a service in the cathedral attended by both town and university.
A lovely image of her can be found in the window over the south entrance door to St Lawrence's Church. The window was given by Major Portal of Eddington House in 1900.
- Tom Tower - the gatehouse to Christ Church, Oxford
- The east window in the Lady Chapel in Christ Church, Oxford showing "St Frideswide Ascending to Heaven" Window by Edward Burne-Jones
- The stained glass window depicting St Frideswide over the south entrance door to St Lawrence's Church (from a pic by Tony Bartlett, 2017).