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(Abandoned Saxon Island)
Hamsey lies on an island in the middle of the Ouse valley, but
during the period of the Black Death the island was abandoned
and the population moved across the valley to the south west
to Offham which is just on the edge of the downs.
The island was a major Saxon town and port, where at least once
during his reign King Ethelstan (925-940) held his court . It
would seem likely that the river was navigable up to Hamsey, and
that the small island would have been a fortified area surrounded
by fresh water, fish and fertile farmland.
The village remained in the valley until 1348 when the Black Death
forced the inhabitants to move away from the church as did a
number of other villages in the area. The island remained abandoned
or very sparsely populated until this day, the only remaining
resident is the church.
| Hamsey has no services, but Offham on the main Lewes to East
Grinstead road has a few.
The nearest trains run from Lewes about 3 miles to the south,
and this is where the nearest major shopping centre is.
| The old church at Hamsey is found by travelling down a narrow
track across the Ouse valley, then up a small but steep hill
to the church. The view from the church is very pretty, with
the valley all round it has the feel of ancient centuries.
Hamsey Manor is across the valley from the church but is very