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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.


Many of you have a particular association with this ancient and very lovely church and its setting.  Perhaps you were married, baptised, or confirmed there, or have family resting in the churchyard.  Do you visit as part of a pleasant walk and somewhere for a picnic?   Many value the site for its biodiversity; home to our several bat species – and of course our now famous Lizard Orchid!

Read the poem  by William Mount  written probably about 70 years ago after a visit to Old Hamsey Church

This year the churchyard at Hamsey is being managed with the help of the South Down Rangers and input from a local botanist.  We will keep the pathways strimmed but allow other areas to wild. 


There will be a main cut and rake assisted by volunteers from the South Down Ranger's volunteers.  It is hoped that in the winter months sheep may be grazed in the old churchyard to help maintain the area.


If you would like to be involved with the maintenance of this very special place please contact

Rev Anne Dunlop 

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