Saxon history project in the Meon Valley

Children from Meonstoke Infants School getting into the Saxon spirit

Cooking up a Saxon feast

First published in News Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

VILLAGES across the Meon Valley are celebrating the return of Saxon culture through a variety of activities, events and studies.

The Friends of Corhampton Saxon Church have been awarded a grant to help bring to life the story of how the Meonwara tribe settled the Meon Valley in the Dark Ages.

This Saturday, July 13, there will be a Saxon stall at the Exton fete giving details of all the local events planned up to 2016, the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings.

Next to the stall will be a small encampment of a Saxon community to share their traditions in weaving, embroidery, pottery and jewellery, and show off their music and food.

Local people will be joined by Herigeas Hundas , a Hampshire Saxon re-enactment and living history society to re-create life in the Saxon era and to stage the popular battle scenes that entranced the school pupils at their Saxon Day in May. Children will again have the opportunity to dress as Saxon farmers and warriors re-live life as it was over 1,000 years ago.

The grant has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hampshire County Council and the South Downs National Park.

Also at the Exton fete will be experts from Winchester and Hampshire councils and Winchester University to explain plans for archaeological surveys of the Meon Valley and to help local people identify and record discoveries made in their gardens and local area.

In May pupils at Meonstoke and Droxford schools celebrated Saxon heritage at their annual Saxon school day, learning about peaceful farming life enjoyed by the Saxons in Hampshire and visiting the 1,000 year old Saxon church at Corhampton before getting involved in a re-enactment of the battles of 1066.

The grants will also support investigations to explore and learn more about the Saxon story, involving Winchester University’s department of history and archaeology and the Winchester, Hampshire and South Downs museums, archaeological and heritage services, as well as local organisations such as the Sustainability Centre on the South Downs.

These and other local and national organisations, such as Tha Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) and Regia Anglorum (Kingdoms of the English) are offering enthusiastic expertise to train people in the Meon Valley through workshops and fun-filled learning activities.

More details of the exciting Saxon project in the Meon Valley can be found on the website http://www.saxonsinthemeonvalley.org.uk.

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