Recorded by the Eastbourne Church Recording Group between 2012/2013.
This tiny church (sixteen foot square) dates from the thirteenth century but, in fact, is part of a bigger church, the ruins of which can be seen to the west of the entrance. The church stands on a small hill, hidden by trees and overlooks the Cuckmere Valley.
The building is in the Early English style and was originally a chapelry of Alciston and for a time belonged to Battle Abbey. It is not known how or when the main part of the church was destroyed but according to tradition it was razed by fire in Cromwellian times. The remaining building was restored in 1894 having been made suitable for services in 1806.
The church was united with St. Andrew’s, Alfriston in 1927 and on September 10, 2000, it was dedicated by the Bishop of Lewes, as ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ – the original dedication is not known in spite of extensive research.
There is no electricity or heating in the church which is only used for services during the summer months, with the exception of a candlelit service on the first Sunday in Advent.
The single bell was made by J. Warner & Son Ltd., London and hung in 1806. It was recast in 1904 and was hung in the ‘B’ frame in 1893.
The pretty and unusual Reredos – date of origin unknown – and is entirely hand painted, is made up of five pine panels, separated by a narrow, facetted wooden beading covered in gold leaf. These depict, left to right:
a) A Pelican in her Piety.
b) A gold painted chalice with a hexagonal, incurved foot.
c) An attached oak cruicifix showing a bearded Christ with red, cruciform nimbus and a crown of thorns.
d) A gold painted roundel with four equidistant arms. In its centre is the Sacred Monogram IJS in decorative Gothic letters.
e) A gold painted Agnus Dei with the Banner of Victory.
Two of the panels have painted passion flowers and green foliage whilst the other two are painted with grapes and green vine leaves.
Two framed photographs hang on the south wall. These were taken 100 years apart, in front of the west door of the church. The first is black and white and commemorates the restoration of the church in 1893 with 18 people in the photograph, including the then vicar of West Dean, Revd. Lawrence.
The second photograph, taken in 1993, in colour, records 45 people, including the Rector of the Cuckmere Benefice, the Revd. Frank Fox Wilson and his wife Mavis.
The bowl of the font dates from the 12th century stone (either Sussex marble or Eastbourne stone) whilst the plinth is of Caen stone. The stem is modern.
On the south exterior wall is a Benchmark indicating the height above sea level based on a similar mark at Newlyn in Cornwall.
The only memorial tablet is situated on the exterior west wall and is dedicated to Thomas Browne, a rector of Lullington who died in 1786. The inscription reads: Here Lie the Remains of the Rev. Thomas Browne / Late Rector of Lullington / & Min. of this Parish / who died …. 1768. The remainder of the inscription is illegible.