Carenza Lewis visits the Saxons in the Meon Valley

Carenza Lewis visited the Meon Valley to meet the Friends of Corhampton Saxon Church and give the key note talk at the charity’s AGM.
Carenza also visited Droxford School to take part in a workshop to develop resources for the new KS2 Saxon history curriculum and to present to a special assembly on the magic and mystery of archaeology.
… and spent a few hours with the Friends visiting (and ringing the bells at!)  the Saxon church at Corhampton and walking-about the Saxon archaeological sites in the Meon Valley.

Thank you Carenza for visiting us and inspiring our community in its quest for our heritage.

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Carenza chatting with pupils at Droxford School about their interest in archaeology and history

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Carenza , with Guy Liardet, Chris Maxse and Peter O’Sullivan
(Friends of Corhampton Saxon Church)
enjoying the historical beauty of the Saxon church at Corhampton and visiting sites of archaeological interest in the Meon Valley.

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Carenza with Ross Irving (head teacher, Droxford School), Ruth Staples-Rolfe (South Downs National Park/Learning Through Landscapes) & Robin Iles (Winchester Museum).
Discussing the new KS2 Saxon curriculum development

Carenza, formerly of Channel 4′s Time Team, is now the Director of Cambridge University’s Department of Archaeology ‘Access Cambridge Archaeology’.
Cambridge is one of the universities supporting the work of the Friends in exploring and celebrating our Saxon heritage, for which the church at Corhampton (AD 1020) is a living icon.
The Friends welcomed  at our AGM, and Carenza’s talk, 200 people – friends from the villages and  schools in the Meon Valley, from village history and heritage societies, from the ‘Off The Wall’ choir, from our many highly-valued volunteers, from the landowners who have generously offered us the opportunity to ‘survey for Saxons’, from our archaeological team (from Winchester University, Liss Archaeological Society and from our local communities); and the many others who are contributing to bringing to life ‘The Story of the Saxons in the Meon Valley’.
The occasion also offered the Friends the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions from a number of funding and partner organisations and others who share our passion for heritage. These include (in alphabetical order):
The Battle of Stamford Bridge Society, Bishop’s Waltham Museum Trust, Bishops Waltham Society, The Bridge Magazine, Corhampton & Meonstoke Parish Council, The Council for British Archaeology, Dark Skies Productions, The Embroiders’ Guild, The English Companions, English Heritage, Fulford Tapestry, Hambledon Arts Society, Hampshire Archives & Local Studies, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Field Club & Archaeology Society, Hampshire Police,  Hampshire Wardrobe, Herigeas Hundas, Heritage Lottery Fund, Hyde900, Local Giving.Com, The Media Trust, The Meon Hall, Meon Valley Community Transport, Meon Valley Gardening Club, Meon Valley Lions, Meon Valley Printers, Meon Valley Trail, Meonstoke & Corhampton Parochial Church Council, Meon Valley Gardening Club, Meon Valley Trail, Meonstoke School, Regia Anglorum, The Robert Kiln Charitable Trust, South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Society, Sustainability Centre, the Universities of Cambridge, Nottingham & Winchester, Wessex Archaeology, The William Collins Trust, Winchester Area Community Action, Winchester Cathedral, Winchester City Council, Winchester Mill and Wizbit Internet Services.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded the Friends of Corhampton Saxon Church a grant to help the communities of the Meon Valley bring to life the fascinating story of the Saxons in the Meon Valley.
Our charity and our community have since been awarded additional funding and support from the South Downs National Park Authority, Winchester & Hampshire Councils, Winchester, Cambridge and Nottingham Universities, the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society and a number of other heritage organisations. (Thank you)
This has encouraged us to engage people of all ages from the ten villages of the Meon Valley in exploring and learning about the Saxons who lived in the Valley for 6th centuries (and are still here!) to recreate their way of life, their culture, to remember what they have done for us, to celebrate their achievements and to have fun!


Our ancestors were the Meonwara (Meon People). They came from what is now Denmark and settled in the Meon Valley after the Romans left Britain in 410 AD. For seven centuries or more (until, and after, the Norman Conquest in 1066) they developed the Meon as a fertile farming valley running from the South Downs at East Meon to the Soluent at Titchfield Haven. Trading vessels navigated the Meon, a Celtic (ancient British) word meaning ‘Swift One’, the name also of one of our local ales!
From the Soluent the ships reached as far as Droxford Mill, taking flour and other agricultural produce to the Soluent and the trading ports of Hamwic (Southampton) and Portesmuða (Portsmouth).
Saxons also traded in goods from other parts of our Islands, across what we now know as Europe and Asia. A hoard of Saxon gold and silver discovered in 2009 illustrates the extent of Saxon trading. An amateur enthusiast using a metal detector discovered what we now call the Staffordshire Hoard. The hoard includes amazingly crafted artefacts dating back to the 6th century with red garnets from as far away as India or even Sri Lanka.
We have included an amazing Anglo-Saxon world view (Mappa Mundi) produced (without GPS etc.) at Canterbury at the time that Corhampton Church was built (11th Century). It is recognisable today as Europe, Africa and the Far East. The image of the map is used with permission of the British Library.
The name of our nation (or Englaland as it was first known), derives from people known as Angles who also came from what is now Denmark. The people who settled in the Meon Valley were from the same part of Northern Europe; they were Jutes and Saxons. These Germanic peoples were amongst waves of people crossing Europe in what we now call the ‘age of migrations’.
The settlers in Englaland, displacing the Celtic Britons, became collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons or simply Saxons.
The Saxons laid the foundation of the English language, and of our culture, religion, system of government, the layout of our villages and our landscape.