Welcome to the Parish Church of St Peter Offam and Hamsey
It is hard to miss our Parish Church as its tower can be seen as you drive up from Lewis or down from Cooksbridge. We are conveniently located opposite the Blacksmith’s Arms! A church and a pub. If we could add a Post Office, we would have ticked all three boxes – the village ideal!
The Parish of Hamsey is unusual in having two churches both dedicated to St Peter, the ‘new’ church on the main road dating from 1860 and the ‘old’ church at Hamsey which is over 1000 years old. Both are part of the Church of England, the Diocese of Chichester, with our ‘mother’ church, the Cathedral in Chichester, well worth a visit.
Why two churches? Over time the population moved from Hamsey to Offham leaving the old church remote, with access difficult especially in the winter when there were just muddy tracks. The Rector described it as most “unsuitable and inconvenient” and eventually the present Victorian church was built at Offham.
Old Hamsey Church survived – just – as it has been under threat of abandonment and demolition twice and each time rescued by those who loved it. Its very location has saved it and its future now secured by the Friends of Hamsey who now care for the building. It is also the site of the Parish churchyard which is still in use. Hamsey church was used as a location in the making of the film 'My Cousin Rachel'.
On the first Sunday of the month during the summer (May to September) there is a morning and evening service, and near Christmas, the yearly highlight of the very atmospheric Christmas carol service. Concerts and exhibitions also use the church and these, together with the services, afford you the opportunity to experience the simple beauty of this mediaeval building. Its location is exceptional with wonderful views and is a popular destination for walkers and tourists and a delightful spot for a picnic.
For 160 years St Peter Offham has witnessed the baptisms, weddings and funerals for what is a relatively stable rural population with family names appearing again and again in the Registers. There is a regular Sunday service of Holy Communion and various courses and activities throughout the year.
We are fortunate to have a modern hall alongside the church with adequate parking. This is available for hire for regular meetings or special events. It is a good venue for a children’s party, an exercise class, choir rehearsals, or community groups.
We would be delighted to welcome you to our community. St Peter is a church which is traditional in its form of worship. Our regular Sunday service is Holy Communion from The Book of Common Prayer except for the first Sunday of the month when we use Common Worship with a 9.00 a.m. said BCP Holy Communion. We have a small but enthusiastic choir. Contact the Rector for information regarding Christenings (baptism), or weddings. Our regular Parish Newsletter will keep you informed.