East Meon is a small village in Hampshire, the highest one in the Meon Valley, surrounded by the South Downs National Park. It is situated five miles west of Petersfield and twenty miles from the South Coast at Portsmouth. The River Meon runs alongside the village street and has its source in a spring, one mile south of the village. East Meon was an ancient settlement and may date from 400 AD. The dominant building in the village is All Saints’ Church.
All Saints’ Church has a dramatic situation in the shelter of the steeply rising Park Hill. It was built above the level of the village. It is believed that there was a Saxon church on this site long before the Normans constructed All Saints’ Church between 1080 and 1150. Nothing remains of the Saxon church. All Saints’ Church was built by the lords of the manor, the Bishops of Winchester, who also rebuilt Winchester Cathedral. There are several similarities. The massive tower and lead covered spire can be seen from the South Downs Way. The walls are constructed largely of flint and mortar. The west front still has the original Norman door, over 800 years old. In the east wall, there is an intriguing stone with the inscription on it, ‘Amens Plenty’. In 1869, when this stone was removed from the nearby floor, it was found to be covering the remains of four men who had been buried vertically. It is believed that these were four Parliamentary soldiers killed in the village in 1644 during the English Civil War, but no evidence exists to support this legend. The greatest possession of the church, is the black marble Tournai font, one of only four in Hampshire and seven in the United Kingdom. It was brought from Belgium in 1150, a gift from Henry of Blois, the then Bishop of Winchester. The East Window, designed by Sir Ninian Comper, is of particular interest. It is a war memorial showing the Patron Saints and the coats of arms of all the Allied powers that fought together to defeat Germany in the First World War.
Opposite the church is the Old Court House, which has a medieval hall dating from the 14th century. East Meon belonged to the Bishops of Winchester. The Court House was its administrative centre and home of monks who looked after the Bishop of Winchester when he visited.
East Meon has two pubs. Ye Olde George Inn is a 15th century coaching inn, alongside the River Meon, which has an Inglenook fireplace and wooden floors. It also provides en-suite accommodation. The Izaak Walton pub, originally the New Inn, is a classic local pub very popular with villagers and visitors. It is convenient for walkers and cyclists on the South Downs Way.