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St Peter & St Paul's Exton
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St John the Evangelist West Meon
All Saints' East Meon
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St John the Evangelist,
West Meon

Wilfrid will have preached to the Meonwara and led
them in prayer in the open air. According to village
tradition, the yew tree which survived until its
stump was removed in 1861, was the very one
under which St Wilfrid conducted his ministry in what
is now West Meon. The memorial cross which may
be seen today was built in its place.

The church in West Meon was completely rebuilt on a new site in 1846 and is dedicated to St John the Evangelist who shared a similar zeal to Wilfrid to spread the good news of the Gospel. There are pictures in the church of the original Saxon place of worship closer to the village in what is now the lower churchyard.

Visitors approaching the church may be interested in the table-like gravestone of Thomas Lord who lived in the village and who founded Lord’s Cricket Ground in London in 1787. Another famous resident of the graveyard is the spy Guy Burgess whose ashes are scattered among the trees above the church. And you may be amused by the faces and gargoyles decorating the windows and eaves around the porch.

This grand and lofty church, always far too large for a village of this size,was commissioned and funded by the Rector, Archdeacon Bayley and designed by George Gilbert Scott in the 1840s. This was Scott’s first commission and he was just 21 at the time. He employed the new Gothic style and he went on to build many other churches later. 

Pilgrim’s Prayer Panel

36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Wilfrid would not just have told the Meonwara about Jesus and the Bible stories. He would have taught them about what it means to be a Christian. When the Pharisees wanted to put Jesus on the spot about what was important, He replied with this ‘summary of the law’ which we still use in church services today and which would have been heard in the Meon Valley these thirteen hundred years. Jesus was saying that if we start with love of God and of neighbour (and not with self-love and self-interest), then everything else falls into place.

Heavenly Father, please help us to love as Jesus taught . . .

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