Hawkley is a lovely village in the South Downs National Park; the church is at the heart of the village and is a beautiful, welcoming and tranquil 19th century Romanesque style building with an unusual Rhenish helm spire and beautiful interior decoration and stained glass, set in an attractive churchyard.
The church of the Holy Rood, though much rebuilt is of great interest, the oldest part being the chancel, which is Early English.
The nave is later and its arcades, along with the chancel arch and eastern lancet windows have good dog tooth mouldings. It seems that there were formerly north and south chapels to the chancel; the north has entirely disappeared; though the blocked arch leading into it remains.
On the site of the south chapel is a modern vestry; and at the east end of the south aisle are the remains of an arch formerly leading into it. These chapels, together with the aisles, were probably destroyed in 1624, when there was much rebuilding. The original aisle walls were then reerected at a distance of only 2 feet from the nave arcades, some of the old windows being re used.
The shingled bell turret is carried on a truss dated 1624. The remainder of the nave roof and that of the chancel are modern. There is much interesting old woodwork. At the west end is an excellent chancel screen dated 1624, which was removed to its present position in 1868. The font is of Purbeck marble, c1190, with a cover dated 1624. The nave seats are c1400 and the lectern and pulpit are 16th century.