St Peter Hamsey
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.
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.