The following enquiry was emailed to the website by Francis Williams, the owner of Froize End Vineyard :
“I undertook a drive through recently and thought the village was lovely and interesting. My particular interest was in Vineyard Hole. I believe it was a roman vineyard, but cannot find any more information regarding it and was wondeirng if you could help? What is its history in terms of vine growing and wine making?
“Are there any wild vines growing from its past there? A friend in the village told me about it and because I have a fond interest in growing vines was just wondering about it and who might own it? Any plans to rejuvenate it back to former glories?”
‘A History of East Meon’ was written by villager Freddie Standfield. On page 19 he refers to a pipe roll recorded in 1207/8 which describes the accounts kept by the reeves of Menes Manor (run by the monks who lived in what is now The Court House). It lists the produce of the Manor Farm which includes, among all the corn, wool, milk and nuts … “an even more unusual product, four tuns of wine (£4.2s.0d).
“A tun of wine represented 252 gallons,, so over 1,000 gallons – equivalent to 6,000 bottles – were sold, representing by today’s standards, the average output of a two-acres vineyard. Could this represent a link with today’s landscape feature, the huge hollow indented into the side of Park Hill, a furlong east of the Court Hall called ‘Vineyard Hole”. Gouged by nature out of the steep, chalky hillside, facing due south and completely protected from northerly wind, its name must be derived from past use, though no one knows when it ceased.”
In 2006, George and Clare Bartlett established a new vineyard near Vineyard Hole, in the Berry Garden of The Court House. Click here for George’s accounts of the project.