So why Olaf's Tun?

So why Olaf’s Tun? We imagine that even those who consider themselves Southampton born and bred may not know the full extent of the amazing history that the Woolston suburb and the lost village of Itchen Ferry have experienced over the centuries.

 

The Olaf connection is all down to one infamous Norwegian by the name of Olaf Tryggvason, Norwegian royalty in fact, reigning as Olaf I from 995 - 1000.

 

In 994, the united Viking forces under Olaf of Norway and Sweyn of Denmark stayed in the Southampton area all winter by arrangement with Aethelred (also known as King Ethelred the Unready). Sweyn camped on the west bank of the Itchen and Olaf on the eastern shore , hence this area became known as Olaf’s Tun.

 

Fast forward to the Domesday book around 1086, and the name has been tweaked to Olvestune. The transformation to Woolston came much later with the wool trade when the Itchen ferry in neighbouring Itchen Ferry Village was used to transport the fleeces across the River Itchen to Southampton.

 

Woolston plays a huge and rich part in the modern history of Southampton, from the war years of the Spitfire manufacture at Supermarine (which attracted the unwanted attention of the Luftwaffe), to the shipbuilding heritage of Vospers, the replacement of the Itchen chain link ferry by the Itchen toll bridge in 1977 and of course the recent transformation of the area through the building of Centenary Quay.