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. Completed in 1333 with fifteenth century additions and some minor nineteenth century restoration, it is constructed of stone with a slate roof. Originally cruciform, a south aisle and porch were added in the fifteenth century. Today’s building 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 medievalcarved heads on chancel tomb recesses and an unusualcarved stone frieze, representing the twelve apostles, around the parapet of the tower. In the churchyard is a sixth century early Christian inscribed stone. Archaeological excavations (2000) confirmed there was an earlier Norman church and an extensive cist cemetery on the site. This, and the sixth century stone, suggests Christian settlement here since the sixth century. South Hillmay therefore be the site of the monastery which historians consider likely to have been built by St Sampson, a genuine historical figure, somewhere in Cornwall, before leaving for Brittany where he became Abbot of Dol.
This project will fund essential repairs to the stone and lead work of 12 of the windows.