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THE village of East Meon is situ

ated in a beautifully romantic country, diversified with large and lofty bills, which are scattered in the most picturesque manner. From their summits, beautiful views open in various directions. The soil at their base consists of rock and marl, abounding in cornua ammonis, and other marine remains, both in their natural and fossil state.

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Immediately above the Church, on the North side, rises a steep hill of considerable height (part of which appears in the View), on the side of which the Church stands. (See Plate I.)

East Meon is a vicarage, of which the Bishops of Winchester have been from time immemorial the appropriators and patrons*. It is one of the most extensive parishes in the county. The appellation of Meon, Mean, Mene, or Menes, is of remote antiquity. Camden supposes it to have been derived from the Meanvari, "whose country," says he, "together with the Isle of Wight, Edilwalch, King of the South Saxons, received from Wulpher, King of the Mercians, who was his godfather; and at his baptism, gave him this, as a token of adoption. Their country is now divided into three hundreds, with a very little change from the original name, viz. Meansborough (now Meonstoke), East Meon, and West Meon t." Gale, quoted by Camden, supposes the name to have been derived from the appellation Iceni-Magni, or Ceni Magni, mentioned by Cæsar. A late eminent Antiquary informs us that" the two villages of the name of Meon, now distinguished by East and West, were, in the Confessor's and Conqueror's time, known by the general name of Mene or Menes, and gave their name to this hundred §."

The Church is cruciform. It has

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a side-aile, both to the nave and chancel. This side-aile has evidently been added since the erection of the Church. It is divided from the nave and chancel by pointed arches. The length of the Church is about 110 feet, the breadth about 36 feet, the length of the transept about 61 feet. At the intersection of the body and tran. septs rises from massive piers and arches below, an elegant Norman tower. The windows of the tower are richly embellished with the chevron and billet mouldings, the whole style. greatly resembling that of the tower of Winchester Cathedral, erected by Walkelin, about 1080 *. In one of the windows on the South side, hangs the Tintinnabulum, or Saint's Bell, which is quite plain, and without any inscription. Above the windows are circular apertures richly ornamented in the same style as the windows themselves. The spire (which appears to be of considerable antiquity) 18 an incongruous addition to the Norman tower, though it forms a beautiful, object in the surrounding scenery. The South and West doors are both Norman, the former plain, the latter more ornamented. At the West end of the nave is some antient carved and painted wood-work, evidently removed from some other place; and which, I conjecture, was part of the rood-loft. Fragments of this, elegantly carved, still exist in other parts of the Church. Against the N. W. pier of the tower stands an elegant stone pulpit. The readingdesk is ornamented with pointed arches. As reading-desks are of comparatively modern introduction, i. e. since the Reformation †, this, perhaps, is somewhat singular. The East window is large and handsome. It contains a fine piece of painted glass, bearing the arms of the see of Winchester, impaled with Argent, a Lion rampant sable. On each side of this window, on the outside, are shields, the one bearing the arms of the see of Winchester; the other, those of Bishop Langton, who died in: 1500; from which, as well as from the style of the great Eastern

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window, it may be conjectured that he rebuilt this part of the Church. The side-aile of the chancel, or sidechancel, appears to have been used as a Chapel; as the steps of the altar, and the bracket for supporting the holy water-bason, are still remaining.

The Church has undergone considerable alterations, probably at various periods. Only one of the original circular-headed windows remains; and the Pointed style prevails throughout, excepting in the piers and arches supporting the tower.

But the most interesting object in this Church is the antient Font, which from-its celebrity, is probably known to many of your Antiquarian Readers, as one of the most curious in the kingdom. It consists of a block of black marble about three feet square, and 15 inches deep; and exhibits on its South and West side, the history of the creation and fall of man, and his expulsion from Paradise, displayed in rude sculpture. To avoid trespassing on your valuable pages, I must refer, for a full account of this interesting relick of antiquity, to Archæologia, vol. X. p. 183, where is a detailed account by, Mr. Gough, accompanied by a plate. I would observe, however, that the figures which he there styles dragons, birds, &c. are well elucidated by Dr. Milner, who, in describing the celebrated Font at Winchester Cathedral (which this greatly resembles), denominates similar figures, salamanders, emblems of fire; and doves breathing into the sacred chrism, descriptive of the Holy Ghost; alluding to the words of St. Matthew, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire*." The same eminent Antiquary réfers to the portal represented on this font as a specimen of the architecture of our Saxon ancestors, at a period antecedent to the Norman conquest, and even as early as the ninth century t.

From the will of the pious and munificent Wykeham, it appears that East Meon partook of his bounty, "Item lego consimili modo Ecclae de Estmeone unum aliud portiforium dictæ capellæ meæ, et unum calicem."

At a small distance S. E. of the Church, there are the remains of an

*St. Matt. chap. iii. v. 2.-See Hist. of Winchester, vol. II. p. 76.

+ Eccles. Archit. pp. 29 and 31.

antient mansion, which are in several respects very interesting; of which I may send you an account hereafter.

Yours, &c. CHARLES WALTERS. Mr. URBAN, Froxfield, Feb. 7, 1816.

Tis of high antiquity, situated at HE village of East Meon, Hants, the foot of a lofty and stupendous hill, at the side extremity of a valley, interspersed with rich meadows, numerous woodlands, and extensive downs. Though we possess no authentic resources from which we may learn its state in the time of the Saxons, yet it seems pretty generally acknowledged *, that even at this early period, the very large and extensive parish to which it gives a name, with the addition of a fine tract of land to the South-west, was considered of some importance.

When the Saxon power was superseded by that of the Normans, this Parish appears to have engaged the particular attention of Walkelyn, the Conqueror's cousin; and this circumstance may, perhaps, be accounted for by the intimate connexion subsisting between the Parish and the opulent see of Winchester +. However this may be, it is a fact well authenticated, this enterprizing prelate evinced his liberality and taste by erecting the present Church in a style of elegance, which, after a lapse of seven centuries, will not fail to command universal admiration.

This structure is built in the form of a cross, and consists of nave, chaucel, South aile, and transepts, with a tower at the intersection. The interior length of the Church is 108 feet, and the breadth of the nave and South aile 36 feet. At the West front of the building, the attention of the stranger will be arrested by an original door-way which presents us with a fine specimen of the Normau arch, elegantly ornamented with Chevron and billeted moulding, supported by clustered columns. This door-way was formerly intercepted from view by a small mean-looking porch, which, within the last few

*Bede, Ecc. Hist. lib. iv. c. 13.

From time immemorial, the Bishops of Winchester have been the patrons of the living. The customary tenants hold their lands by virtue of a fine certain; and no tenant forfeits his estate except in case of felony, or treason.


years, has been pulled down and entirely removed. At the same end of the Church is a beautiful window in the Pointed style, the tracery of which is exquisite, elegantly surmounted by a quatrefoil.

On entering the Church, the first object in the nave worthy of notice, is the stone pulpit, -a curiosity of which few churches can boast. It is apparently of excellent wormanship; but sorely disfigured by an execrable crust of thick white-wash. The front and sides are divided into several compartments; and from the arches and pannel-work it contains, the execution of the whole may perhaps be assigned to the reign of Henry VII. On the North side of the body of the Church, is an original lancet-shaped window. A little more to the East, the eye is disgusted at seeing the thick and almost impenetrable wall of the building broken through and disgraced by the introduction of a modern square light.

The strong massive tower, by far the noblest ornament of the Church, stands on four semicircular arches, supported by columns or pilasters, the capitals of which are ornamented with plain upright leaves. Like the area in the Church of St. Michael's, Southampton, so ably described by that eminent Antiquary Sir Henry C. Englefield, it forms a sort of vestibule to the chancel, and is open to the South transept, but separated from the North door by a modern

the Church by means of a narrow staircase. The East window has made way for a door, and the place of the North door is now occupied by a chimney. Underneath the abovementioned deal floor is a dark room, in which fuel is kept for the use of the school.

I beg to suggest to the inhabitants of East Meon, that this now miserable room might, were the floor raised only twelve or fourteen inches, be converted into a decent vestry, a comfort and convenience to the officiating clergyman, much wanted here, as well as at most country churches. By such alteration, this part of the Church would no longer be prostituted to ignoble purposes, and the stability of the transept would, by the exclusion of damp, be effectually secured.

In the chancel are tablets, or monuments, erected to the memory of the antient family of Dickens, formerly of Riplington in this parish, but now merged in distant branches, and nearly extinct.

I copy the following Inscriptions, as worthy of insertion in your Miscellany:


Francisci Dickins Arm", qui multis domi militiæq; pro Rege ac Patriâ, labori's exhaustus, hic tandem requievit.

Et Magdalenæ Uxoris ejus, quæ conjugi plures annos superstes, nec ipsa morte divellanda comes, non alios voluit inter cineres jacere.

wall, through which is a small door: Obijte A.D. {

way similar in design and execution to its neighbour the square window, before described.

The North transept is now used as a Sunday and day-school for the neighbourhood. I was much gratified to learn, that on Sundays no less than 160 children are collected in this room for religious instruction,a considerable number, when it is recollected that the neighbouring tithings or hamlets, from which many of the children come, are, some of them at least, three or four miles from church.

It cannot but be a matter of regret, that when this room was first devoted to the purpose of instruction, it was not done with more taste and care. The present deal floor is raised six or seven feet from the ground, and a communication is made with


1721 "M. S.




Francisci Dickins de Ripplington, LL.D.
antiquâ familiâ ortus,
antiquis ipse moribus,
apud Cantabrigienses
in aula S. S. Trinitatis
Juri Civili incumbens
à divá Annâ

ad Cathedram Professoriam evictus est ;
quam summa cum laude
quadraginta per annos

In prælectionibus

assiduus, facundus, doctus;

in disputationibus
dulcis sed utilis;

illustrissimam Academiam illustriorem reddidit.

Dei cultor haud infrequens ; homines omni charitate complexus ; inter amicos

verax, candidus, festivus; parcus sibi, pauperibus dives,

obijt cœlebs,

non sine maximo bonorum omnium luctu,
A. D. 1755, ætat. 78.
Hoc grati animi testimonium
optimo Patruo poni curavit
" M. S.
Reverendi Viri Joannis Downes,
A. M. hujus Ecclesiæ novissimi
vicarij; viri planè simplicis et
innocui, in literis tam sacris
quam profanis minimè hospitis;
denique ad omne bonum opus
semper prompti et parati, qui
apud vicinas ædes, brevi hujusce
vitæ stadio decurso, ubi natus ibi
denatus, heic tandem inter
patrios cineres reponit suos utrosque
resuscitandos securus.
Diem obijt supremum 15 Januarij,
1732, ætatis 50.

Marm. Downes, S. T. B.
coll. D. Joann'. apud Cant. soc.
defuncti frater germanus, natu
minimus, saxum hoc, amoris ergo
poni voluit."

"M. S.

Quondam Richardi jacet hic Joanna

nunc Salvatoris sponsa futura sui. Abiit Sept. 3, 1659, ætatis 40." From the extreme dampness of the walls in the chancel, it has been deemed necessary to interline the wall within the rails of the altar with a pannelling of oak. It must be lamented, that it has not been executed in a style more suitable to the antiquity of the edifice. It is strange, that a tablet having a Latin inscription, the top of which is partly visible, should have been excluded from the observation of laudable curiosity.

Passing under an elegant Pointed arch, we enter the East end of the South aile, which, till furnished with a more suitable appellation, I shall designate our Lady's Chapel. Here, doubtless, stood the Prothesis, or side altar, the remains of which are, perhaps, still visible in the present old table, which has occupied its station under the Eastern window from time immemorial. Two steps, extending the whole breadth of the Chapel, and leading up to the altar, still remain; as does also a projection in the wall, somewhat in the form of a cornice, on which was formerly placed the bason containing the holy water. Here, in two miserable boxes, on the top of one of which is painted memento mori, the archives of the Church are preserved.

The South transept is of the same size with the North transept, and measures within the walls 25 feet in length, and 17 in breadth. It is lighted by an acute-angled window, similar to one in the nave. Here is the burying-place of the highly-respectable family of the Eyles's. To the memory of different branches of this family, five mural monuments are erected, the simple elegance of which will secure attention.

On a small tablet of Sussex marble, on the West side of the transept, is the following inscription, which, from its simplicity, I take the liberty of inserting :



The communication of the South transept with our Lady's Chapel on the East and the aile on the West, is made by the segment of a circle, which appears to have been broken in each of the walls, when the addition hereafter to be mentioned was made to the Church. Passing under one of these segments, we enter the aile, by far the most disgraceful part of the edifice. At the West end, near the steps leading into the organ-gallery, is another wood-house, which, since no fires are kept in the Church, appears to be altogether superfluous. At the opposite end of the aile is a rude and unsightly gallery, the workmanship of which would disgrace the most ignorant village mechanic. Ascending the steps of this gallery, we observe in the South wall two oblong narrow windows, placed together after the manner of the latter end of the twelfth century, when the pointed arch was as yet scarcely known. "This disposition of lights," as the learned Antiquary of Winchester observes," occasioned a dead space between their heads;" doubtless, the village Nestors had just discernment sufficient to mark the defect; and conceiving it would add to the beauty of this part of the Church as well as increase the reflection of light into the gallery, determined to fill up the space between the heads of the offending windows, by the introduction of a trefoil or a quartrefoil. But, unfortunately, the man employed to make


the projected improvement was not possessed of the sapience of his employers; and instead of introducing either of the above-mentioned ornaments, actually perforated a hole in the wall, neither square, round, nor oval; and, without the least addition of moulding, or tracery, finished his undertaking, by placing in the aperture one solitary piece of glass!

When this gallery, commonly called The Oxenborne Gallery, was erected, I have had no means of ascertaining. In the tithing of Oxenborne formerly stood a Chapel belonging to this Parish. Not the least vestige, however, now remains. The plough has repeatedly passed over the place where once stood the sacred fane dedicated to St. Nicholas.

It is pro

bable, that at the demolition of this Chapel, the people resident in the tithing might be compensated by being allowed to erect the gallery in question. It appeared necessary that a place should be provided for this part of the parishioners; but the only subject of deliberation appears to have been in what manner the Church could be most effectually disfigured? This question was fully answered in the event. This assertion I shall exemplify by stating that the gallery, occupying the span of one arch only, fronts the pulpit, and looks into the nave of the Church. In this conspicuous situation, it might reasonably have been expected that some regard would have been paid to decency, if not to neatness. But alas! neither neatness nor decency were taken into consideration. Exclusive of the ex

ever, is built with a durable stone, scarcely effected by the destructive hand of time. It is perfectly square,

and measures on the outside 24 feet. It rises square above the roof of the nave upwards of 20 feet, and is surmounted by a spire, which, whatever may be said as to its propriety or impropriety, certainly adds to the effect of the surrounding scenery, and constitutes an interesting and pleasing object. Though by no means to be compared in magnitude to the massive tower at Winchester, it is not saying too much to affirm, that it is equal in workmanship, and superior in design. Its treble circular arches, its numerous chevron and billeted mouldings, the capitals and ornaments of its columns, together with the modest magnificence of its outline and structure, are conclusive evidence of its antiquity.

The Church-yard of this Parish is uncommonly spacious; and from its extent, and from the fineness of its mould, seems peculiarly suited to the mournful purposes to which it is devoted. It is kept tolerably free from nuisances, and abused only by one foot-path. It still retains its antient appellation of Liten. At the West end of this cemetery is an elegant marble tomb, erected to perpetuate the memories of the different branches of the antient family of the Bonhams of this county.

Yours, &c.

J. D.

ON PHRENOLOGY, &C. (Continued from p. 207.) REGULAR hand-writing may

treme clumsiness of the workmanship. A present several modifications, the

an addition is made, which is, in the strictest sense of the word, intolerable. Over the column on which part of the gallery rests, stands a pew, something like an opera-box, which, suspended by a single rafter, projects into the nave, and overhangs the pews below, much to the terror of the alarmed spectator.

The whole of the exterior of the nave, transepts, and aile, have been besmeared with a sort of yellow wash; and it was by mere accident, that the tower, the original work of Walkelyn, was saved from a similar fate. Like the generality of such buildings in Hampshire, this edifice is composed chiefly of hard mortar and small flints. The above-mentioned tower, how

most remarkable of which will be uniformity. These are traits which must be invariable, because they relate to the essential formation of the letters, but there are others which may be varied at will. When we see every letter made in one precise and uniform manner, we are led to believe that this singularity is connected with a great equanimity of disposition. It is almost needless to add, that this has been fully confirmed by experience. The hand-writing should always be legible; this is the first and most requisite quality, and one which a careful man will not fail to observe as indispensable. It is not enough to love order: if symmetry prevails in the


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