Fritton

Fritton, or Freetown, probably derived its name from the fact that, in the Middle Ages, it was free from many of the feudal obligations to which other villages were subject. Olketal, a Danish nobleman, held Fritton at the time of Edward the Confessor. Part of the parish, along with the adjoining lands in Morningthorpe, belonged to the Abbot of Bury St Edmunds. Three manors are listed in the Domesday Survey: Barretts, Burtoft and Hemenhale. The first two lay mainly within the present parish, with the third partly in Fritton and partly in Hempnall.

In the C14th a charter was granted for a weekly fair and market in the parish.

Interesting buildings include The Old Rectory, The Hall (mid C16th and thought to be on the site of an earlier manor house), Island House (late C16th) and a number of cottages.

The older buildings suggest that there has been little change to the size and shape of the settlement since at least 1800. The form of the village is mainly linear: around the common, buildings are set amongst trees lining the large open space.

Fritton Common is a good example of the precious survival of old grassland supporting cowslip, meadow saxif rage, hay-rattle, cuckoo-flower and green-winged orchids. The existence of the Common is in part due to the heavy clay soil which made it less suitable for arable farming. Common lands were nevertheless of great value to the rural economy of the Middle Ages; they were sources of clay for house building and marling for fields, as the Fritton ponds indicate. These ponds (both natural and man-made) are very important to the wildlife of the area. The Common is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is currently used for village events and outdoor services in the summertime.

Fritton is now part of Morningthorpe civil parish which has a combined population of 253 (2001).

 


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