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28 October 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > Faith > St Sampson's Church

St Sampsons Church

St Sampson's Church

St Sampson's Church

A brief history of the Island's oldest Parish Church.

Pulpit at St Sampson's Church

The Pulpit.

St Sampson's Church was once separated off from what we now know as the Vale.

On the 1787 map, St Sampson's Church is shown on the shore at one end of the Braye du Valle, the Vale Church being at the other end of the tidal inlet on the opposite bank.

St Sampson's is claimed to be the oldest Parish Church in the Island and stands on or near the site where St Sampson first landed as a pioneer missionary from Dol, in Brittany, about the year 550 AD.

Stained Glass Window at St Sampson's Church

One of the many stained glass windows.

The Church has been a Christian place of worship ever since.

The Church we see today dates from the 12th Century and consisted of only the nave and chancel. This was the fashion in contemporary churches around Marmoutier to which abbey the church belonged from 1048 onwards.

Work has been carried out over the centuries, however the church was substantially complete by 1350.

The Sun Dial at St Sampson's Church

The Sun Dial.

The sun dial

The dial, made of lime stone, is on the south-west corner of the church.

It is mounted on the gable corners, dial markings are visible on the south and west sides, and it is possible that the east side was also a dial.

The south face has a metal gnomon (the part of the sundial that projects a shadow) which is a replacement for the original. No numbers are visible, although there is double semicircle on the south face. The holes for the mounting of a gnomon on the west face can be seen.

There may possibly have been an inscription beneath the south face of the dial at one time.

Font at St Sampson's Church

The Font.

Interesting facts

• St Sampson's Church is featured on the back of a Guernsey £20 note.
• St Sampson's Church was featured on the Christmas 2000 26 pence stamp showing a winter scene of three youngsters leaving St. Sampson's Church.
• The tower has a saddleback roof and the church is of a rugged style like no other in the Island, though similar to St Brelade's in Jersey and a church at Mont St Michel.   
• In 1973 the North Chapel was dedicated to the memory of St Magloire, cousin of St Sampson. A pre-Reformation chalice and other relics found in the tower in 1913, included a crucifix, censer and candlesticks, are now displayed in St Magloire's chapel.
• The old regimental colours of the 2nd (North) Regiment of the Royal Guernsey Militia were placed in the church in May 1887.

last updated: 02/05/2008 at 15:10
created: 22/07/2005

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