St. Peter's Church, Offham
|Area||11.44 km2 (4.42 sq mi) |
|o Density||129.9/sq mi (50.2/km2)|
|OS grid reference|
|o London||42 miles (68 km) N|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||BN7, BN8|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Hamsey is a civil parish in the Lewes District of East Sussex, England. It is located three miles (5 km) north of Lewes on the Prime Meridian. The original village, now abandoned apart from the church and a few cottages, lay on an island in the River Ouse; the parish consists of the villages of Hamsey with Offham and Cooksbridge being the main centres of population in the parish.
This village is on the A275 just north of Lewes and next to the Chalk Pit and the woods surrounding it. It has a pub, the Blacksmiths Arms.
Cooksbridge is centred on its railway station and has a primary school and a pub, the Rainbow.
It is believed that the village got its name from the cooks who fed the soldiers of Simon de Montfort from the bridge on their way to the Battle of Lewes in 1264. The troops came from nearby Fletching where they spent the night in prayer on their way to the defeat of Henry III.
There are two Sites of Special Scientific Interest that fall within the parish, Clayton to Offham Escarpment and Offham Marshes. Clayton to Offham Escarpment lies on the South Downs and stretches across many parishes. Its chalk grassland, woodland and scrub supporting a wide variety of breeding birds. Offham Marshes, fully contained within the parish, is an area of alluvial grazing marsh. Its biological interest is due to its large amphibian population and several other scarce insect life.
The main part of Hamsey is a group of fairly large houses including the large country house Hamsey House. Further south, on the banks of the River Ouse, there is a collection of converted farm buildings known as Hamsey Place, where there is a large pond with Canada geese. From here there is a lane that ends with St. Peter's Church. This was a prosperous church with a large congregation until the Black Death decreased the local population so much that by the 19th century it was decided that a new church should be built in the previous hamlet of Offham (this one was also dedicated to St. Peter). It was finished in the 1840s. At one point around this time the parish council were actually considering demolishing Hamsey Church.
Hamsey village lies just off the A275 which runs between Lewes and Forest Row, although the road passes through Hamsey parish at Offham and Cooksbridge. In the 18th century, the road was under the control of the Offan to Wych Cross Turnpike Trust. With the coming of the railway to Cooksbridge in 1847 the trustees, no doubt concerned by the increase in traffic that the station might generate, agreed to establish a turnpike at Cooksbridge at its meeting in Lewes on the 12 Oct 1847. It was erected adjacent to Friendly Hall.
The Hamsey Loop was an abandoned and never-opened section of the Wealden Line from Lewes to Uckfield via Hamsey along the west bank of the River Ouse. A proposal to reinstate services between the two stations intends to use the loop, as the main line from Lewes is now obstructed by the Phoenix Causeway road and development.
Media related to Hamsey at Wikimedia Commons