SAINT MARY’S CHURCH, SULLINGTON
The little church of St Mary’s, Sullington, has nestled beneath the Sussex Downs for almost a thousand years. It is set within the bounds of a yew grove that is even older. The Tower and the Nave are basically Saxon, about 1050, but altered in Norman times and the 12th and 13th centuries.
In 1978 the exterior stonework of the 13th century reticulated east window was restored, costing £4.000. Half of this was met by donations from a trust formed by the late Sir Gordon Munro and Lillian, Lady Munro, who lived for years in the Old Rectory. The remainder was raised locally from many friends.
In 1987 insurance companies paid £4,800 needed for repairs after the October storm, which blew down two of the old yew trees, damaging parts of the chancel roof and the north and east windows. Many tiles were also blown from the roof.
In 1995 an extension was added to the vestry (normally closed) to provide kitchen and toilet facilities, funded by the Munro Sullington Trust. The inner glass porch was erected in replacement of the Victorian box porch to mark the Millennium. It was funded by the parishioners and with proceeds from the biennial flower festival. The ancient priests’ door and sedilia were restored in 2005 and an Aumbry safe installed, supported by Munro family trusts.
Within the churchyard, the single remaining old yew tree dates from the Ninth Century. Some distance to the west is a small sapling taken as a cutting from a two thousand year old yew tree, planted to mark the start of the third millennium. As the seasons change there is the varying beauty of the South Downs rising to 675 feet. Immediately to the north can be seen the fine old Manor House. Approaching along Sullington Lane observe the massive, weather-boarded and tiled barn with a fine tie-beam roof, dated 1685, said to be the finest example of a Tithe barn to be found in West Sussex.
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