A flurry of interest on social media followed the action on Monday.
The lych gate, St Nicolas’ Lane, was one of the best-known sights of Shoreham.
With its massive tiled roof, supported on four sturdy oak columns, it was built in 1917 and withstood the elements for 70 years, until the Great Storm of 1987 brought a tree down on to it.
John Simpson, from the Friends of St Nicolas, said: “It was re-erected and survived for another 30 years. However, last year, the gate was observed to be leaning slightly and temporary supports were installed while plans were made to restore it.”
On Monday morning, workmen arrived with a large mobile crane and a specially-made steel cradle, which was placed in the gateway.
Chains were attached to the cradle and the crane hoisted it into position just below the roof of the lych gate. The workmen then removed all the brackets attaching the roof to its supports so that it could be lifted clear.
Mr Simpson added: “The operation was watched by a group of spectators, including Father James Grant, associate vicar of St Nicolas’ Church, whose daughter Ronja enjoyed a grandstand view.”
The lift proceeded smoothly and the 1½-ton roof was detached from the supports. The crane swung it round on to the back of the lorry.
The oak supports were removed from the ground and at that stage, it became clear why the roof had begun to tilt – the bases of all the supports were badly rotted.
The other parts of the gate were then lifted on to the lorry.
Mr Simpson said: “The approach to the church looked very different afterwards and this is how it will look for the next few months, until the restored lych gate is replaced.
“St Nicolas’ Lane is quite narrow and it was a tight squeeze for the massive lorry but it was soon back on the main road and the lych gate was on its way to the specialist restoration workshop in Patching.”