The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lullington stands on the side of the South Downs above the Cuckmere Valley, almost hidden amongst a clump of trees. Its white weather-boarded belfry peeps above the foliage, and there are magnificent views.
It is the smallest church in Sussex, and one of the smallest churches in the country, being 16 feet square, and seating only about 20. There is no electricity and evening services are conducted by candlelight. The building is the remains of the chancel of a larger church, which is believed to have been razed by fire in Cromwellian times.
The church dates from the 13th century, and is of Early English style, with the list of vicars extending back to 1356. The original dedication is not known for sure, but may be to St Zita (a saint canonised not because of miraculous powers, but because of simple devotion and hard work). More latterly, and after a decision by the local community, the church was rededicated in 2000 to the Good Shepherd (one of the earliest Christian titles for Jesus), in keeping with agricultural practices of the area.
The location of this unique church, its history, and the atmosphere created by its beautiful location make it popular with visitors throughout the year.
More recently, the church was the inspiration for the popular song, “The Smallest Church in Sussex”, by the nationally acclaimed band British Sea Power. The organ music featured on that song was made using the harmonium inside the actual church here.
Throughout the year the church is used for worship, and all are very welcome. An atmospheric Lantern Service by candlelight occurs every Advent Sunday at 4.30 pm, and an Easter Sunday Sunrise Service takes place at 6.30 am. In the warmer months (following Easter) a service of Evensong takes place at 3.00 pm on the second Sunday of each month, culminating in Harvest Festival. You can see the services for the year here.
Weddings and baptisms are conducted from time to time in the church, and any inquiries should be made to the Rector here.
The churchyard is closed for burials, but permission has been given to inter the ashes of loved ones. No plaques are permitted, but the remains are buried below a Yew tree, the symbol of eternity. Such interment requires some tangible connection with the local area, and inquiries should be made to the Rector.
The church is open every day of the year.
If you click once on a gallery photo below, it will open to a full size image.