Chichester (/ˈtʃɪtʃɪstər/) is a cathedral city in West Sussex,
in South-East England. It is the only city in
West Sussex and is
its county town. It has a long history as a settlement from Roman
times and was important in
Anglo-Saxon times. It is the seat of the
England Diocese of Chichester, with a 12th-century
The city is a hub of several main road routes, and has a railway
station, theatre, hospital and museums. The River Lavant runs through,
and partly beneath, the city.
1.1 Roman period
1.3 Norman period
1.4 Medieval to modern times
9 St Richard's Hospital
12 Notable people
13 Town twinning
16 External links
Main article: Noviomagus Reginorum
The area around
Chichester is believed to have played significant part
during the Roman Invasion of A.D. 43, as confirmed by evidence of
military storage structures in the area of the nearby Fishbourne Roman
Palace. The city centre stands on the foundations of the
Romano-British city of Noviomagus Reginorum, capital of the Civitas
Roman road of Stane Street, connecting the city with
London, started at the east gate, while the
Chichester to Silchester
road started from the north gate. The plan of the city is inherited
from the Romans: the North, South, East and West shopping streets
radiate from the central market cross dating from medieval times.
The original Roman city wall was over 6½ feet thick with a steep
ditch (which was later used to divert the River Lavant). It survived
for over one and a half thousand years but was then replaced by a
thinner Georgian wall.
The city was also home to some Roman baths, found down Tower Street
when preparation for a new car park was under way. A museum, The
Novium, preserving the baths was opened on 8 July 2012.
An amphitheatre was built outside the city walls, close to the East
Gate, in around 80 AD. The area is now a park, but the site of the
amphitheatre is discernible as a gentle bank approximately oval in
shape; a notice board in the park gives more information.
In January 2017, archaeologists using underground radar reported the
discovery of the relatively untouched ground floor of a Roman
townhouse and outbuilding. The exceptional preservation is due to the
fact the site, Priory Park, belonged to a monastery and has never been
built upon since Roman times.
AR penny, minted in
Cnut the Great
Cnut the Great between 1024-1030
According to the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle it was captured towards the
close of the fifth century, by Ælle, and renamed after his son,
Cissa. It was the chief city of the Kingdom of Sussex.
The cathedral for the South Saxons was founded in 681 at Selsey; the
seat of the bishopric was moved to
Chichester in 1075.
Chichester was one of the burhs (fortified towns) established by
Alfred the Great, probably in 878-9, making use of the remaining Roman
walls. According to the Burghal Hidage, a list written in the early
10th century, it was one of the biggest of Alfred's burhs, supported
by 1500 hides, units of land required to supply one soldier each for
the garrison in time of emergency. The system was supported by a
communication network based on hilltop beacons to provide early
warning. It has been suggested that one such link ran from Chichester
Domesday Book was compiled, Cicestre (Chichester)
consisted of 300 dwellings which held a population of 1,500 people.
There was a mill named Kings Mill that would have been rented to local
slaves and villeins. After the
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings the township of
Chichester was handed to Roger de Mongomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury,
for courageous efforts in the battle, but it was forfeited in 1104 by
the 3rd Earl. Shortly after 1066
Chichester Castle was built by Roger
de Mongomerie to consolidate Norman power. In around 1143 the title
Earl of Arundel
Earl of Arundel (also known as the Earl of Sussex until that title
fell out of use) was created and became the dominant local landowner.
Between 1250 and 1262, the
Rape of Chichester
Rape of Chichester was created from the
western half of
Arundel rape, with the castle as its administrative
Medieval to modern times
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January
A military presence was established in the city in 1795 with the
construction of a depot on land where the
Hawkhurst Gang had been
hanged. It was named the
Roussillon Barracks in 1958. The military
presence had ceased by 2014 and the site was being developed for
Chichester Council House (1731)
Chichester, although in terms of local government in
England is a
civil parish, has the status of a city, and is one of seven so
designated, the others being Ely, Hereford, Ripon, Salisbury, Truro
and Wells. The City Council consists of twenty elected members serving
four wards of the city – North, South, East, and West.
Chichester Council House on North Street dates from 1731; prior to
this the City Corporation had met in
Chichester Guildhall. In addition
to its own council offices, those of the
Chichester District and the
West Sussex County Council are located in the City. The current MP for
Chichester Constituency is Gillian Keegan.
Chichester has an unusual franchise in its history. Chichester's
residents had enjoyed political enfranchisement for 300 years before
the 19th century Reform Bills expanded the right to vote for members
of Parliament to include most ordinary citizens. However, when the
mayor restricted the vote solely to Freemen in the election of 1660
for the Convention Parliament that organised the restoration of the
monarchy, the House of Commons noted that "for One-and-twenty
Parliaments, the Commonalty, as well as the Citizens, had had Voice in
the electing of Members to serve in Parliament; and that thereupon the
Committee were of Opinion, that the Commonalty of the said Borough,
together with the free Citizens, have Right of Election" and
overturned the election, seating instead the candidate elected by the
more-inclusive Commonality of Chichester, and jailing the mayor for
two weeks for contempt because of his wilful denial of the ancient
The eight areas of
The City of
Chichester is located on the River Lavant south of its gap
through the South Downs. This winterbourne for part of its course now
runs through the city in underground culverts. The City's site
made it an ideal place for settlement, with many ancient routeways
converging here. The oldest section lies within the Medieval walls of
the city, which are built on Roman foundations.
Chichester Conservation area, designated for its architectural and
historic interest, encompasses the whole of the Roman town, and
includes many Grade I and II listed buildings. Further to the north
lies the separate conservation area around the former Graylingwell
Hospital, and to the south, the
Chichester Conservation Area has been
extended recently to include the newly restored canal basin and part
of the canal itself. The Conservation Area has been split into eight
'character' areas, based on historic development, building type, uses
Chichester has a maritime climate. With its position in southern
Chichester has mild winters and cool summers.
West Sussex has
high sunshine levels compared with other parts of the UK with around
1,900 hours annually.
The city has a tourist industry. Several marinas are situated in
the area together with related industries.
The Butter Market in North Street was designed by John Nash, and was
opened in 1808 as a food and produce market. In 1900, a second storey
was added to the building, originally housing an arts institute. The
building has recently been renovated.
The Corn Exchange in East Street was built in 1833, one of the first
in the country. From the 1880s it was used for drama and
entertainment and became a cinema from the 1910s.. An attempt to
convert it to a bingo hall was refused in 1977. As it could not be
converted to a multiplex it was closed on 9 August 1980. It
remained closed and unused for six years until the front was opened as
a fast food restaurant and the rear converted for offices..
From 2005 the front had been used by a clothing retailer.
Chichester Cross, which is a type of
Buttercross familiar to old
market towns, was built in 1501 as a covered market-place, stands
at the intersection of the four main roads in the centre of the city.
Chichester Cathedral's west front and millennium statue of Saint
Chichester Cathedral, founded in the 11th century, is dedicated to the
Holy Trinity, and contains a shrine to Saint Richard of Chichester.
Its spire, built of the weak local stone, collapsed and was rebuilt
during the 19th century. In the south aisle of the cathedral a glass
panel in the floor enables a view of the remains of a Roman mosaic
pavement. The cathedral is unusual in Britain in having a separate
bell tower a few metres away from the main building, rather than
integrated into it. Within the cathedral there is a medieval tomb of a
knight and his wife, the inspiration of the poem "An
Arundel Tomb", by
Philip Larkin. A memorial statue exists of William Huskisson, once
member of parliament for the city, but best remembered as the first
man to be run over by a railway engine. Leonard Bernstein's Chichester
Psalms were commissioned for the cathedral. The statue of St Richard
(pictured left) is by the sculptor Philip Jackson. There are further
Philip Jackson sculptures outside the
Chichester Festival Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre and
St Richard's Hospital
St Richard's Hospital in Chichester.
In addition to the cathedral there are five Church of England
churches, St Richard's
Roman Catholic church and nine religious
buildings of other denominations. Redundant churches include the
Grade I-listed St John the Evangelist's Church, an octagonal
white-brick proprietary chapel with an impressive three-decker
Chichester is the hub of several main roads. The most important of
these is the A27 coastal trunk road (connecting
Southampton) which passes to the south of the city. The A27 connects
Chichester to the M27, M3 and M275 motorways. The secondary coastal
road, the A259, which began its journey at
Folkestone in Kent, joins
the A27 here and ends in Havant to the west. Both those roads make
east-west connections. Three roads give
Chichester access to the
north: the A29 to
London joins the A27 several miles to the east of
the city; the A285 runs northeast to
Petworth and beyond; and the A286
runs northwards towards Haslemere, Surrey.
Chichester railway station, on the West Coastway Line, has regular
services to Brighton,
London Victoria via Gatwick Airport, Portsmouth
and Southampton. In the past there was a branch line to
the north; and a light railway built by Colonel HF Stephens known as
West Sussex Railway which ran south to Selsey, and which closed in
There are many bus services, with
Chichester bus station, adjacent to
the railway station, acting as a local hub. Operators include
Stagecoach in the South Downs, Compass Travel, and Emsworth and
District. National Express's Poole-
Gatwick Airport route
passes through Chichester.
Chichester/Goodwood Airport is north of the city.
There are several long distance routes for walkers, cyclists and
riders in the area, some of which, like the Centurion Way to West
Dean, start here. Centurion Way was opened in the mid-1990s and runs
along the former railway line. The name was chosen by Ben Adams, a
local schoolboy who won a competition to name the path.
There are three secondary schools in Chichester: the
Chichester Free School (which also has a primary sector in
Bognor Regis) and the Bishop Luffa School.
Chichester High School for
Chichester High School for Girls merged in 2016 to become
Chichester High School. In the primary sector there are two
infant-only schools: Lancastrian and Rumboldswyke; the Central C of E
Junior School; six all-level schools; and two special-needs
schools at Fordwater and St Anthony's. There is also a Roman Catholic
school, St Richard's Primary School, and a Sure Start Children's
Chichester Nursery School, Children and Family Centre.
In the independent sector there are three-day preparatory schools
(Oakwood Preparatory School,
The Prebendal School
The Prebendal School and Westbourne
The higher and further educational institutions include the Chichester
High Schools Sixth Form, which is the largest Sixth Form in West
Sussex. It offers a range of A-Level and vocational courses with full
use of a wide range of facilities at both boys and girls high schools.
Chichester College, formerly
Chichester College of Arts, Science and
Technology; offers both foundation-level and degree-equivalent
courses, mainly focused towards vocational qualifications for
industry. The college has recently made significant investment in
upgrading facilities, and is now offering a wider range of subject
areas in its prospectus.
The University of Chichester was granted degree-awarding body
status by the
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in 2005. Whereas
Chichester College has always been focused towards vocational
University of Chichester
University of Chichester has a more academic bent.
St Richard's Hospital
St Richard's Hospital
St Richard's Hospital is a medium-sized District General Hospital
(DGH). Built in 1938 and expanded during
World War II
World War II the hospital is
to the north of Spitalfield Lane in the northeast of the city.
Chichester Festival Theatre
The city holds an annual four-week arts and music festival ("Festival
of Chichester") held in June and July.
Chichester Festival Theatre, is one of the United Kingdom's
flagship producing and touring theatres, whose annual summer season
attracts actors, writers and directors from the West End theatre and
Pallant House Gallery, winner of the 2007 gallery of the year
Gulbenkian Prize, has a major collection of chiefly modern British art
and in 2006 opened a new extension that houses the collection of
Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson. It has a changing programme of
Chichester is home to the
South Downs Planetarium & Science
Centre, which opened in 2001 and features a program of public star
shows in its 100-seat theatre.
The Sloe Fair, a funfair that dates back to the 12th Century, is held
annually on 20 October in the city's Northgate car park.
Chichester Cinema at New Park is the city's first and only
arthouse cinema. It shows a selection of mainstream, small-budget and
older films 7 days a week. It hosts an annual 18-day International
Film Festival in August/September. Vice-presidents are Dame Maggie
Smith and Kenneth Branagh. There is a larger, multiplex cinema located
Street Art By 'Run' Italian Street Artist Electric Cinema Chichester,
Chichester Open Mic has supported regular programmes of readings
by contemporary poets in the city since 2010. It also hosts a
high-profile annual event under the banner Poetry and All That Jazz
which included performances by
Don Paterson in 2010, Sam Willetts in
David Harsent in 2012.
In 2012 The Novium, Chichester's museum, was opened by author Kate
Mosse. Designed by the architect Keith Williams, is approximately
2.4 times the size of the previous museum in Little London. Key
highlights are Roman Bath House, Jupiter Stone and Chilgrove Mosaic.
In May 2013
Chichester hosted the
Chichester Street Art Festival
Chichester Street Art Festival week
where international street artists created colourful murals around the
Chichester is mentioned in a 1992 episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie,
the 2003 film
Bright Young Things
Bright Young Things directed by Stephen Fry, the 2005
film Stoned about
Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones, and also in the
2009 film Sherlock Holmes. The city is periodically referred to in
Call the Midwife, as the seat of the Order of Saint Raymond Nonnatus,
the mother house's exterior being depicted in episode 1.6.
Founded in 1881, the
Chichester Symphony Orchestra has both amateur
and professional players. Three concerts are given each year with the
summer concert being part of the
Chichester Festivities while the
autumn concert is included in the
Chichester Cathedral Lunchtime
Chichester RAJF (From "Real Ale and Jazz Festival"), was a
four-day festival of music and real ale held each July in tents beside
the 13th century Guildhall in Priory Park. Founded in 1980 by
Chichester Hockey Club as a fund-raising event, the
festival's early years focused on traditional jazz and featured
performers such as Kenny Ball,
Humphrey Lyttelton and Kenny Baker. In
the 1990s blues and R&B were introduced and acts including James
Brown, Status Quo, Blondie, Boney M, Robert Cray, Hot Chocolate,
Howard Jones, Go West, The Pretenders,
The Drifters and Simple Minds
played the festival up until its final staging, in 2011.
Chichester City F.C.
Chichester City F.C. is the main football club and are based at
Oaklands Park. They play in the Sussex County League. The rugby
Chichester R.F.C., are also based at Oaklands Park.
Chichester Priory Park Cricket Club and
Chichester Priory Park Hockey
Club share a clubhouse at Priory Park.
The city is home to the
Chichester Sharks Flag American Football Club
who are members of the BAFA National League. In October 2007, the
Sharks won the National Championship, beating Andover Voodoo 31-29 in
the final. The
Chichester Sharks also won the title in 2003.
Chichester Falcons Softball Club, based at Oaklands Park, play in the
Solent Softball League. They have enjoyed success in league and
Chichester Bowls Club in Priory Park is the oldest established bowls
club in Sussex, being founded in 1881. The club has men's and ladies'
sections and plays a mixture of competitive and friendly matches.
The city has a leisure centre with swimming pool, flume, sports hall
and fitness room; it plays host to
Chichester Cormorants swimming
Chichester Runners and A.C is a club with runners and athletes
from all ages. Other sports include cycling.
Main article: List of people from Chichester
William Juxon, born 1582, attended
The Prebendal School
The Prebendal School before
studying at Oxford. He became chaplain to Charles I and was the last
English cleric to hold both church and secular high office. He became
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury following the Restoration. William Cawley,
born 1602 in Chichester, was on the other side of the English Civil
War. Also educated at
Oxford University he became the Member of
Chichester in 1628 and for
Midhurst in 1640. He was a
regicide and served on the Council of State during the Commonwealth,
being forced to flee to Switzerland after the Restoration. A later MP
for the town,
William Huskisson was one of the earlier people to die
from a railway accident, when he was run over by Stephenson's Rocket
at the opening of the
Manchester Railway. In modern
times middle distance runner
Christopher Chataway was elected to
Parliament in 1969.
Military people have included
Edric Gifford, 3rd Baron Gifford
Edric Gifford, 3rd Baron Gifford who won
a Victoria Cross during the Third Anglo-Ashanti War. General Charles
Harington Harington served in the
Second Boer War
Second Boer War and as a staff
officer throughout World War I, and military theorist Major General J.
F. C. Fuller planned the first large scale tank assault at the Battle
of Cambrai in 1917.
Artists who were born or lived most of their lives in Chichester
include Richard Buckner, Heywood Hardy, James Hayllar, Charles Martin
William Shayer and George Smith.
Timothy Peake, who became the first official British astronaut when he
arrived on the
International Space Station
International Space Station in December 2015, was born
Chichester in 1972. Peake attended the
Chichester High School for
Boys, which now has a Sports and Conference centre named after him and
opened by him.
Tom Odell, who was born in
Chichester and is a songwriter who gained
success with his album, Wrong Crowd.
Edward Bradford Titchener (/ˈtiːtʃənər/; 11 January 1867 – 3
August 1927) was a British psychologist who studied under Wilhelm
Wundt. Born in Chichester, Titchener created the school of thought in
psychology that described the structure of the mind: structuralism. He
also created the largest doctoral program in the
United States (at the
time) after becoming a professor at Cornell University, and his first
graduate student, Margaret Floy Washburn, became the first woman to be
granted a PhD in psychology (1894).
The City of
Chichester is twinned with Chartres, France and Ravenna,
^ "2001 Census:
West Sussex – Population by Parish" (PDF). West
Sussex County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 June
2011. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
^ Office for National Statistics 2011 census -
^ "BBC - Domesday Reloaded: CHICHESTER-A CICESTRIAN". domesday.
^ OS Explorer map 120: Chichester,
South Harting and
1:25 000. Publisher:Ordnance Survey –
Southampton B2 edition.
Publishing Date:2009. ISBN 978 0319240793
^ Manley, John (2007). AD43: The Roman Invasion of Britain. Tempus
Publishing. pp. 111–128. ISBN 978-0-7524-1959-6.
Chichester Roman houses found under Priory Park". 26 January 2017.
Retrieved 26 January 2017.
^ Gower, Graham,
London Archaeologist Winter 2002, pp 59–63
Chichester Domesday Book". Open Domesday. Retrieved 31 May
^ Historic England. "
Chichester Castle (1386089)". PastScape.
Retrieved 10 May 2011.
^ "Victoria County History – The rape of Chichester". British
History Online. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
^ "Roussillon Barracks". Royal Sussex. Archived from the original on 2
October 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
^ "Social hub revealed for Roussillon Park". chichester.co.uk.
Chichester City Council website". Chichestercity.gov.uk. Retrieved
16 July 2010.
^ "City councillors". Chichestercity.gov.uk. 16 May 2007. Archived
from the original on 1 September 2009. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
Chichester City Council: The Council House". Retrieved 28 December
^ "UK Parliament website". Retrieved 5 December 2017.
^ "British History Online". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003.
Retrieved 16 July 2010.
^ Sub-Urban website: River Lavant Archived 10 May 2008 at the Wayback
^ "City Walls Walk: includes map". Chichesterweb.co.uk. Retrieved 16
Chichester Council Conservation Areas". Chichester.gov.uk. Archived
from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
Bognor Regis the sunniest spot in Britain". Telegraph. 28 December
2011. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
Chichester Web. Retrieved 16 July
^ "The Corn Exchange". Chichester.gov.uk. Archived from the original
on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
^ "The Novium:
Chichester Corn Exchange". Retrieved 20 November
^ a b c Row, Ken. "Cinema Treasures: Granada Chichester". Archived
from the original on 24 October 2015. Retrieved 20 November
^ "Changing Times - Old corn market house has changed hands a few
times going back to the 18th century"". "
Chichester Post. 9 June 2017.
Retrieved 20 November 2017.
^ "Fashion retailer Next to move into former MacDonalds site".
Chichester Observer. 23 June 2005. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
Chichester City Cross". West Sussex.info.
Chichester Web': churches of Chichester". Chichesterweb.co.uk.
Retrieved 16 July 2010.
England (2011). "Former Church of St John the Evangelist,
St John's Street (East Side), Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex
(1026696)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 28 April
^ Beevers, David; Marks, Richard; Roles, John (1989). Sussex Churches
and Chapels. Brighton: The Royal Pavilion, Art Gallery and Museums.
p. 58. ISBN 0-948723-11-4.
Chichester network map
Compass Travel timetables
^ Emsworth & District buses
^ National Express Route 206
^ They are the Jessie Younghusband Primary School; Kingsham Primary
School; Parklands Community School;
Chichester Free School, Portfield
Community Primary and Singleton C of E Primary School
^ The establishment was initially called Bishop Otter College,
although throughout its history it has had many names: West Sussex
Institute of Higher Education, then
Chichester Institute of Higher
Education, then University College Chichester
^ "Festival of Chichester". 17 May 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
^ "The Website of
Chichester Festival Theatre". Cft.org.uk. Retrieved
16 July 2010.
^ "Pallant House Gallery". Pallant.org.uk. Retrieved 16 July
^ "BBC - Domesday Reloaded: CHICHESTER'S SLOE FAIR". domesday.
Chichester Cinema at New Park". Chichestercinema.org. Retrieved 16
Chichester Open Mic". Retrieved 23 April 2012.
Chichester District Council. "
Kate Mosse to open new museum in
Chichester". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014.
Chichester Street Art". chichester.co.uk.
Chichester RAJF website". Chichester-raja.com. Archived from the
original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
Chichester City FC website". Ccufc.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July
Chichester RFC website". Chichesterrfc.co.uk. 26 June 2010.
Retrieved 16 July 2010.
Chichester Priory Park Cricket Club". Retrieved 17 March
Chichester Priory Park Hockey Club". Archived from the original on
11 April 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
Chichester Sharks flag American football website".
Chichestersharks.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
^ "Southdown Velo cycling club". Southdownvelo.org.uk. 12 July 2010.
Retrieved 16 July 2010.
^ Stewart, Brian; Cutten, Mervyn (1987).
Canterbury, Kent: Bladon Press. ISBN 0-9512814-0-2.
^ Hardy, Kimber G. (2016). The Hardy Family of Artists: Frederick
Daniel, George, Heywood, James and their descendants. Woodbridge,
Suffolk: ACC Art Books. pp. 68–155.
^ "British towns twinned with French towns [via WaybackMachine.com]".
Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July
2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
Down, Alec (1988). Roman Chichester. Chichester: Phillimore.
Sharp, Thomas (1949). Georgian City: A plan for the preservation and
improvement of Chichester. London: The Architectural Press.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chichester.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Chichester.
Chichester District Council
British History Online - The City of
Chichester - Historical
"Chichester". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
List of civil parishes in Chichester
Ceremonial county of West Sussex
West Sussex Portal
Boroughs or districts
Mid Sussex District
See also: List of civil parishes in West Sussex
Population of major settlements
South Downs National Park
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings
Cities of the United Kingdom
Brighton and Hove
Kingston upon Hull
Newcastle upon Tyne
Major towns of Roman Britain
Placenames in brackets are either present-day names or counties where
the towns formerly existed.
Corinium Dobunnorum (Cirencester)
Deva Victrix (Chester)
Durovernum Cantiacorum (Canterbury)
Isca Augusta (Caerleon)
Isca Dumnoniorum (Exeter)
Isurium Brigantum (Aldborough)
Lindum Colonia (Lincoln)
Noviomagus Reginorum (Chichester)
Ratae Corieltauvorum (Leicester)
Venta Belgarum (Winchester)
Venta Silurum (Caerwent)
Verulamium (St Albans)
Viroconium Cornoviorum (Wroxeter)
Calleva Atrebatum (Hampshire)
Venta Icenorum (Norfolk)
List of Roman place names in Britain