Empshott Church

The Parish of the Holy Rood Empshott

The Parish of the Holy Rood Empshott

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Empshott is a beautiful area of English farmland and woodland at the headwaters of the River Rother, centring upon the Church of the Holy Rood, which is 13th century, though there has inevitably been some rebuilding over the centuries, including a charming bell turret. The church is the heart of the village partly because there is nothing else, no concentration of houses, no shops, no school, no pub, and the mainroad is the B3006. So it is not only a sense of the holy which the church gives; there is also a strong sense of identity to regular and irregular churchgoers who in their turn communicate it to their neighbours.

The Church of the Holy Rood, though much rebuilt is of great interest, the oldest part being the chancel, which is Early English. The nave is later and its arcades, along with the chancel arch and eastern lancet windows have good dog-tooth mouldings. It seems that there were formerly north and south chapels to the chancel; the north has entirely disappeared; though the blocked arch leading into it remains. On the site of the south chapel is a modern vestry; and at the east end of the south aisle are the remains of an arch formerly leading into it. These chapels, together with the aisles, were probably destroyed in 1624, when there was much rebuilding. The original aisle walls were then re-erected at a distance of only 2 feet from the nave arcades, some of the old windows being re-used.

The shingled bell turret is carried on a truss dated 1624. The remainder of the nave roof and that of the chancel are modern. There is much interesting old woodwork. At the west end is an excellent chancel screen dated 1624, which was removed to its present position in 1868. The font is of Purbeck marble, c. 1190, with a cover dated 1624. The nave seats are c. 1400 and the lectern and pulpit are 16th century.


Friends of Empshott Church is a registered charity  ( no. 1060240) set up in 1997 to provide an opportunity for anyone who has fallen in love with the grade I listed Church of the Holy Rood to support its physical wellbeing into the 21st century.  

Since the Friends’ first grant in 2000 we have contributed a total of well over 16,500 to  the upkeep of this important building, most recently with a donation of 3,200 towards the rebuilding of the historic organ in 2012. There has been regular worship on the site for over 800 years and it is sustained by a small but loyal congregation.

The FoEC seek to garner wider support from people whom are not necessarily tied to Empshott Church by faith or geography. We have our own donation box in the church and you can also get details of how to donate by making contact via the email address given below. We would particularly ask supporters to consider a legacy. Details of how to do this are on a suggested legacy form in the church and you can also find a downloadable version of the same form at the end of this article.

There is no shortage of opportunities to expend some TLC on this ancient building. Rather than build up a great fund, which might lead to a form of moral hazard, we aim to replenish our coffers as we expend our resources, always seeking to keep some dry powder for unforeseeable demands. Please consider how you can best help this important part of all our heritage.

The Friends is an ideal conduit for donations or legacies if (a) your main interest is helping to look after this wonderful church building rather than supporting the mission of the Church of England or (b) you are a keen supporter of the church but would like some of your giving to be ring fenced to help maintain the building.
The trustees are Richard Ashby, Stephanie Hollidge-Goode, James Scott and Susan Sinclair. They can be contacted at their normal abodes.

For any further information or queries please email: church.friends@empshott.org


To download the legacy form please click here
Friends of Empshott Church – Registered Charity No. 1060240