St Sampson’s is a small rural church with a deep sense of peace, standing on a site likely to have been Christian since the 6th century.
The church you see today was completed in 1333 with 15th century additions and some minor 19th century restoration, it is constructed of stone with a slate roof. Originally cruciform, a south aisle and porch were added in the fifteenth century. The church now comprises nave, chancel, south aisle, north transept, tower and porch.
The organ and furnishings are mostly Victorian or later. Treasures include a 12th century font from the earlier church, medieval roof bosses, two medieval carved heads on chancel tomb recesses and an unusual carved stone frieze, representing the twelve apostles, around the parapet of the tower.
In the churchyard is a nationally important 6th century early Christian inscribed stone. Archaeological excavations in 2000 confirmed there was an earlier Norman church and an extensive cist cemetery on the site.
This, and the 6th century stone, suggests Christian settlement here since the 6th century. South Hill may therefore be the site of the monastery which historians consider likely to have been built somewhere in Cornwall by St Sampson, a genuine historical figure, before he left for Brittany where he became Abbot of Dol.
Our little church also has a link to Bishop Trelawny, of Cornish anthem fame. As Reverend Jonathan Trelawney, South Hill was his first parish.