CornwallSOUTHHILLStSampson(judithayersPERMISSIONBYEMAIL)1 JudithAyers

St Sampson

A Grade I medieval church in a little known corner of Cornwall with an intriguing history and some delightful treasures.

South Hill, Cornwall

Opening times

The church is usually open for visitors during daylight hours.
Visitors are welcome at any time. It is fine to visit during prayer group or choir practice but please keep noise gentle during those times. Thank you.


South Hill
PL17 7LP

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.

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Famous connections

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • National heritage here

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access throughout

  • On street parking at church

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Services are held every Sunday at 11.15am except on the fourth Sunday of every month when our All Age service starts at 10am and is followed by refreshments. Our prayer group meets every Tuesday at 9.30am. The church choir practices here every Tuesday at 10.30am.

  • Church of England

  • Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant, £5,000, 2021

  • Urgent roof valley repairs.

  • Gateway Grant, £5,000, 2021

  • Urgent roof valley repairs

  • Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant, £5,000, 2020

  • Wolfson Fabric Repair Grants are awarded for urgent repair projects, based on our recommendation, to help keep churches open.

  • Gateway Grant, £4,000, 2020

  • Our Gateway Grants fund churches developing building projects and also urgent maintenance and repair projects to help keep churches open.

  • Project Development Grant, £1,795, 2018

  • Our Project Development Grants funded churches developing building projects to help keep churches open.

Contact information

Other nearby churches