Tales About Meon Hill

Meon Hill from a distance, in the mist.
Image courtesy of Gary Stocker

Meon Hill was said to have been caused by Old Nick himself: he was watching the construction of Evesham Abbey from Ilmington Hill when, in a fit of annoyance, he kicked a huge clod of earth at it to bury it. However Saint Ecguuine saw it incoming, prayed, and it fell to the ground and became Meon Hill.

There is a prehistoric camp on top, that was there from Neolithic times up until the Iron Age, which is mentioned by Tacitus. There are legends of buried treasure and in 1800 a lot of Celtic currency bars were excavated. There are also two legends about ghostly huntsmen –  one is of a huntsman who even hunted on the Sabbath; one Sabbath when he and his entourage were out hunting, the hill opened up, swallowing the whole, godless lot! Their ghosts are still said to haunt there at midnight on Sundays.1


There is also a legend about a spectral black dog seen going down the hill, originating from the time when Meon Hill gained national notoriety in 1945. On St Valentine’s Day,  an agricultural labourer, Charles Walton, was found murdered there. It seemed to have all the hallmarks of a ritual killing and Charles Walton’s alleged brushes with the supernatural at different times seemed to confirm this. Fabian of the Yard even got involved but, although he had his suspicions, no one was ever arrested. When he was going up there once, a black dog went running past him.

A few minutes later a boy approached him so he asked the boy if he had lost his dog. When the boy asked if it was a black dog and Fabian responded yes, the boy ran off, terrified. On the BBC TV series Nationwide back in the mid 1970s they did a programme about it, the murder in particular. They went to the local pub in nearby Lower Quinton and no one would speak to them. In fact most finished their drinks and went.

All mist and smoke

I was in nearby Newbold-on-Stour Sea Scouts in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We used to borrow a Ford Transit van from Lower Quinton Community Group. As most kids of that age do, we all used to tell each other friend-of-a-friend stories about Meon Hill (probably all untrue or, at best, grossly exaggerated!). A less sinister piece about it is some weather lore: “If Meon Hill be all mist and smoke, Men of Crimscote look for a stroke.” Whatever a stroke is!

There is a public footpath which goes around the hill, about halfway up. There is no public access to the summit, however there is nothing to say that you cannot go up there either! The walks are quite well marked on the Ordnance Survey map and there are various walks encompassing it on the internet.

1 This probably had the same root as the Wild Hunt legend.