St Wilfrid (or to give him his proper title at the time – Bishop Wilfrith) brought his Christian Mission to the Meon Valley between 681 and 686AD. During that time he is said to have converted many of the local people to Christianity and founded a number of churches stretching from Titchfield in the south to East Meon in the north.
After the Roman Legions left Britain in 410AD Angles, Saxons and Jutes came to to the south coast as mercenaries, settlers and traders. The Meon Valley was mid-way between West Saxons (to the West in what is now Wiltshire and Dorset) and South Saxons (Surrey and Kent) and the Wight-Gara Saxons of the Isle of Wight. Some of the people in the Meon Valley may have been and remained Christian even after the Romans left but the new settlers are unlikely to have been.
St Wilfrid probably landed in Titchfield – at that time a port linked to the Solent by the River Meon estuary – and established a Church there. Over the next few years it is said he established Churches in Wickham, Soberton, Droxford, Meonstoke, Corhampton, Exton, Warnford, West Meon and East Meon.
Those early churches would most likely have been made of wood, wattle and daub and so no longer exist. But over time – especially in the Norman period – they were replaced by stone built churches on the same site or nearby.
Those early stone churches have themselves been rebuilt and repaired over time. Many still have parts and elements dating back to Saxon times for example Corhampton was built in 1020AD and still retains many original elements.
We were recently commissioned by the Friends of Corhampton Saxon Church and the Saxons of the Meon Valley to create a video about the Meon Valley, the River Meon and the influence of the Saxons. Evidence of the Saxon presence is being found continually in local surveys and archaeological excavations.
The production of the DVD has involved considerable planning due to the large number of locations being filmed at and the mix of aerial footage via an (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) UAV and ground based shots.
As part of the location survey, the aerial and ground based filming a number of still images were taken at each Church.
These can be seen on Flickr. Just click on the links to see interior and exterior photos as well as the UAV in action at each Church.
- St Peter’s – Titchfield
- St Nicolas’ – Wickham
- St Peter’s – Soberton
- St Mary and All Saints’ – Droxford
- St Andrew’s – Meonstoke
- St Peter and St Paul’s – Exton
- Church of Our Lady – Warnford
- St John the Evangelist – West Meon
- All Saints – East Meon
Full details of the churches and a pilgrimage walk along the Meon Valley to see them can be found here.
The video shoot also included Curdridge Church and the Sustainability Centre. We also did a shoot at Butser Hill, which is the source of the River Meon and Old Winchester Hill, which is the site of an old Iron Age Hill Fort.
We also shot video at Titchfield Abbey, which was dissolved in 1537 by Henry VIII. The property was transferred to Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, who used the site to build Place House. It is the ruins of Place House that can be seen today.
A short video was made of the ‘rushes’ so that everyone involved in helping the production happen – the local Meon Valley historical and Church societies and groups could have a sneak sample of what was captured and what would be coming. The video can be seen here.