Chichester: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Coordinates: 50°50′11″N 0°46′45″W / 50.83652°N 0.77918°W / 50.83652; -0.77918

Chichester cathedral.jpg
Chichester Cathedral from the Southwestern City Walls
Chichester is located in West Sussex

 Chichester shown within West Sussex
Area  10.67 km2 (4.12 sq mi[1]
Population 23,731 [1] 2001 Census
    - Density  2,224 /km2 (5,760 /sq mi)
OS grid reference SU860048
    - London  54 miles (87 km) NNE 
Parish Chichester
District Chichester
Shire county West Sussex
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PO19
Dialling code 01243
Police Sussex
Fire West Sussex
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Chichester
Website City Council
List of places: UK • England • West Sussex

Chichester (pronounced /ˈtʃɪtʃɨstə/) is a cathedral city in West Sussex, South-East England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings. It is the seat of a bishopric, with a 12th century cathedral, and is home to some of the oldest churches and buildings in Great Britain.

Chichester today is a local government stronghold, with three levels of government being administered there. It is also a transport hub, and the centre for culture in the region, with a Festival theatre and two art galleries. Nearby Chichester Harbour, together with the South Downs and the city walls, provide opportunities for outdoor pursuits.



It has been argued that the area was a bridgehead for the Roman invasion of Britain. The city centre stands on the foundations of the Romano-British city of Noviomagus Reginorum, capital of the Civitas Reginorum, and near to the Roman Palace of Fishbourne. 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 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 city streets have a cross-shaped layout, inherited from the Romans: radiating outwards from the medieval market cross lead the North, South, East and West shopping streets. Quite a lot of the city walls are in place, and may be walked along over what still remains .

An amphitheatre was built close to what would have been the city walls, outside the East Gate in around 80 AD. The remains are now buried under land currently used as a park, but the bank of the amphitheatre is clearly discernible and a notice board in the park gives more information.


Chichester, although in terms of local government in England is a civil parish, has the status of a city,[2] and is one of six so designated, the others being Ely, Hereford, Ripon, Truro and Wells. The City Council consists of twenty elected members serving four wards of the city - North, South, East, and West.[3]

In addition to its own council offices, those of the Chichester District and the West Sussex County Council are also located here. The current MP for the Chichester Constituency is Andrew Tyrie.

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 to only 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"[4] 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 rights.


The 8 areas of Chichester Conservation

The City of Chichester is located on the River Lavant south of its gap through the South Downs. This winterbourne often dries up during the summer months, and for part of its course runs through the city in underground culverts.[5] 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.[6]

The Chichester Conservation Area, designated for its architectural and historic interest,[7] 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 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 and activities.


Climate data for Chichester
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8
Average low °C (°F) 4
Precipitation mm (inches) 58.5
Source: [8] 2009-07-02


The city today has made use of its past and has built a large tourist industry.[9] Several marinas are situated in the area together with related industries. The Northshore shipyard is located in Chichester. This shipyard is known for building the Southerly and Fisher (motor)sailing yachts.

Main sights

Chichester Cross.

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 suddenly and was rebuilt during the 19th century. In the south aisle of the cathedral a window in the floor affords 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 fine memorial statue also 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.

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.[10]

The remains of the Roman amphitheatre are now buried under land south of The Hornet, currently used as a park, but the bank of the amphitheatre is clearly discernible and a notice board in the park gives more information.

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. It is currently still in use by various small business, however Chichester City Council are soon to carry out a full scale renovation of the building, leaving the future of some of the current retailers in some doubt.

The Corn Exchange in East Street was built in 1833, one of the first in the country.[11] It is an imposing building, designed to show off its importance to trade. In 1883 it was also used for drama and entertainment. From then it became a cinema (1923–1984), a restaurant, and then a McDonalds fast food restaurant. It is currently occupied by Next clothing retailers.

The Chichester Cross, a one-time site for the market, stands at the intersection of the four main roads in the centre of the city.


Chichester is the hub of several main roads. The most important of these is the A27 coastal trunk road connecting Eastbourne with Southampton. The secondary coastal road, the A259, which began its journey at Folkestone in Kent, joins with a junction with 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 from London, which has also joined the A27 to the east of the city; and the A285, which gives access to Petworth and another cross-country road (the A272); and finally the A286, heading towards Guildford.

Stagecoach South bus company has its headquarters here.

Chichester railway station, on the West Coastway Line, has regular services to Brighton, London Victoria via Gatwick Airport, Portsmouth, Southampton and Basingstoke. In the past there was a branch line to Midhurst in the north; and a light railway built by Colonel HF Stephens known as the West Sussex Railway which ran south to Selsey, and which closed in 1935.

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 the name the path.


There are three secondary schools in Chichester: the Chichester High School for Boys and the Chichester High School For Girls, located on the Kingsham Campus; and the Bishop Luffa School. In the primary sector there are two infant-only schools: Lancastrian and Rumboldswyke; the Central CofE Junior School; four all-level schools;[12] and two special-needs schools at Fordwater and St Anthony’s. There is also a Roman Catholic school, St Richard’s primary.

In the independent sector there are three day preparatory schools in Chichester (Oakwood, Prebendal School and Westbourne House), alongside the state primary schools.

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 & 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.

Finally, the University of Chichester[13] which was granted degree-awarding body status by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in 2005. Whereas Chichester College has always been focused towards vocational qualifications, the University of Chichester has a more academic focus (mainly in The Arts).


Chichester Festival Theatre

The city holds an annual three-week arts and music festival (“Chichester Festivities“)[14] held in July.

Its most prestigious cultural location is the Chichester Festival Theatre,[15] one of the United Kingdom’s flagship theatres, whose annual summer season attracts actors, writers and directors from the West End theatre.

Pallant House Gallery,[16] winner of the 2007 gallery of the year Gulbenkian Prize has a major collection of chiefly modern British art and in 2006 opened its new extension that houses the collection of Professor Sir Colin St John Wilson. It also has a changing programme of exhibitions.

Since 2007, the week long annual I AM JOY Arts and Music Festival in August has exhibited artworks, showcased bands, contemporary dance, theatre and run workshops across different venues in the city. The festival has since 2008, grown into a high street gallery, magazine, monthly comedy night, film nights and live music nights; from Cabaret to Post-Rock.

Chichester Cinema at New Park[17] is the city's first and only arthouse cinema. It shows a selection of mainstream, small-budget and older films, with showings 7 days a week. Vice presidents are Dame Maggie Smith and Kenneth Branagh. There is also a larger, multiplex cinema located at Chichester Gate.

In the 1990s Chichester started to develop an alternative subculture[citation needed]. There is still a shop in Crane Street which retails clothing aimed at the alternative music culture.

The following paragraph considers the city’s music scene: in recent years it has experienced growth in various genres.[18]


Chichester Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1881, the Chichester Symphony Orchestra plays an important part in maintaining the classical music tradition of the area. A friendly group, the orchestra consists of both amateur and professional players who rehearse on a weekly basis, first and foremost, for the enjoyment of playing together. 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 Series.

Popular music

A cornerstone of the Chichester music scene is Chichester RAJF (From "Real Ale and Jazz Festival"), a four day festival of music and real ale held each July in tents beside the 13th century Guildhall in Priory Park.[19] Founded in 1981 by members of Chichester Hockey Club as a fund-raising event, the festival has grown in size and ambition. In the early years the focus was 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 more recently the festival has increased its capacity to 2500 persons and has offered a wide range of popular music including James Brown, Status Quo, Blondie, Boney M, Robert Cray, Hot Chocolate, Howard Jones, Go West, The Pretenders, The Drifters and Simple Minds. In 2009, the RAJF changed from 4 consecutive nights to 2 consecutive weekends. 2010 will be the RAJF's 30th Birthday and a special celebration is being planned.

Blues on the Farm is a festival held every June at Pump Bottom Farm two miles (3.2 km) south of the city.[20] Founded in 1991, it has become the UK's biggest outdoor blues festival hosting many of the top national and international names in a picturesque and friendly environment. Roots Around the World is another such festival, bringing what is described as the best in global music to the city and surrounding village halls.


Chichester has a cricket and hockey club, (Chichester Priory Park, CPPC&HC), a rugby club, Chichester R.F.C.,[21] and a football club Chichester City United[22] who play in the Sussex County League. The city is also home to the Chichester Sharks Flag American Football Club,[23] members of the English Senior Flag League (ESFL). 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.

Other sports include cycling.[24]

The city also offers a well equipped leisure centre with swimming pool, flume, sports hall and fitness room; it also plays host to Chichester Cormorants swimming club.

Notable people

Town twinning

The City of Chichester is twinned with:


  • Alec Down. Roman Chichester. Chichester: Phillimore, 1988. ISBN 0-85033-435-7

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Chichester [1] is a cathedral city in West Sussex, on England's South East coast.

Chichester Cross - at the heart of a busy town
Chichester Cross - at the heart of a busy town

Chichester has been occupied since before Roman times, when it was believed to have been one of the bridgeheads of the Roman invasion of Britain. The city centre is built on the Roman town of Noviomagus, and it benefits from the cross-shaped design favoured by the Romans - North Street, South Street, East Street and West Street converge on the Chichester Cross, a medieval market cross.

Chichester is famous for the annual Chichester Festivities and the Chichester Real Ale and Jazz Festival [2].

Get in

By car

The A27 runs east, past Arundel, to Worthing, and west to Portsmouth, where it joins the M27 and goes on to Southampton. The A286 heads north, eventually reaching Guildford.

By train

Chichester has a station just south of the City Centre. It is served by Southern services from London, Brighton, Portsmouth and Southampton; and First Great Western services from Bristol and the West Country.

Get around

The centre of Chichester is small, and can easily be covered on foot. As with most other towns in England, the town is well serviced by buses and taxis.

By bus

There is a bus station situated next to the railway station, south of the city centre. It is a hub for main south coast and local services.

  • Chichester Cathedral - built in 1075, it is the only medieval cathedral to have a separate bell tower, and the only cathedral in England visible from the sea. Free entry and guided tours. Try and coincide your visit with evensong. [[3]]
  • Walk the old city walls
  • Take part in the annual Chichester Festivities


At Smith & Western American diner next to the train station

The Kennels, Goodwood

Get out

Other places of interest in the Chichester area

  • Arundel Picturesque town with impressive and famous castle among other sights
  • Emsworth little fishing town has some great restaurants, pubs and an excellent food festival in early September.
  • Selsey Bill popular coastal destination
  • Bognor Regis Traditional seaside resort, popular with families
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHICHESTER, a city and municipal borough in the Chichester parliamentary division of Sussex, England, 69 m. S.S.W. from London by the London, Brighton & South Coast railway. Pop. (1901) 12,224. It lies in a plain at the foot of a spur of the South Downs, a mile from the head of Chichester Harbour, an inlet of the English Channel. The cathedral church of the Holy Trinity was founded towards the close of the 1rth century, after ' the see had been removed to Chichester from Selsey in 1075. The first church was consecrated in 1108, but fires in 1114 and 1187 caused building to continue steadily until the close of the 13th century. Bishop Ralph Luffa (1091-1123) was the first great builder, and was followed by Seffrid II. (1180-1204). Norman work appears in the nave (arcade and triforium), choir (arcade) and elsewhere; but there is much very beautiful Early English work, the choir above the arcade and the eastern part being especially fine. The nave is remarkable in having double aisles on each side, the outer pair being of the 13th century. The church is also unique among English cathedrals in the possession of a detached campanile, a massive and beautiful Perpendicular structure with the top storey octagonal. The principal modern restorations are the upper part of the northwest tower, which copies the Early English work of that on the south-west; and the fine central tower and spire, which had been erected at different periods in the 14th century, but col lapsed, doing little damage to the fabric, in 1861. Under the direction of Sir Gilbert Scott and others they were reconstructed with scrupulous care in preserving the original plan. The Lady chapel at the east end is in the main early Decorated, but greatly restored; the library is a fine late Norman vaulted room; the cloisters are Perpendicular and well restored; and the bishop's palace retains an Early English chapel. The cathedral is 393 ft. long within, 131 ft. across the transepts, and 90 ft. across the nave with its double aisles. The height of the spire is 277 ft.

At the junction of the four main streets of the town stands the market cross, an exquisite octagonal structure in ornate Perpendicular style, built by Bishop Story, c. 1500, perhaps the finest of its kind in the United Kingdom. The hospital of St Mary was founded in the 12th century, but the existing buildings are in a style transitional from Early English to Decorated. Its use as an almshouse is maintained. Other ancient buildings are the churches of St Olave, in the construction of which Roman materials were used; and of St Andrew, where is the tomb of the poet William Collins, whose memorial with others by the sculptor Flaxman is in the cathedral; the Guildhall, formerly a Grey Friars' chapel, of the 13th century; the Canon Gate leading into the cathedral close; and the Vicars College. The city retains a great part of its ancient walls, which have a circuit of about a mile and a half, and, at least in part, follow the line of Roman fortifications. The principal modern buildings, besides churches and chapels, are the council house, corn exchange, market house, and museum of the Chichester Literary Society. The grammar school was founded in 1497 by Bishop Story. There is a large cattle market, and the town has a considerable agricultural trade, with breweries and tanneries. A canal connects with Chichester Harbour. The diocese includes the whole county of Sussex except a few parishes, with very small portions of Kent and Surrey. The municipal borough is under a mayor, six aldermen and eighteen councillors. Area, 1538 acres.

The Romano-British town on this site was perhaps Regnum or Regni. Many inscriptions, pottery, coins, &c., have been found, and part of the medieval walls contain a Roman cave. An interesting inscription from this site is preserved at Goodwood. Situated on one Roman road in direct connexion with London and another leading from east to west, Chichester (Cissaceaster, Cicestre) remained of considerable importance under the South Saxon kings. In 967 King Edgar established a mint here. Though Domesday Book speaks of one hundred and forty-two burgages in Chichester and a charter of Henry I. mentions the borough, the earliest extant charter is that granted by Stephen, confirming to the burgesses their customs and rights of the borough and gild merchant as they had them in the time of his grandfather. This was confirmed by Henry II. Under Henry III. the fee farm rent was X38: ios., but this was reduced by a charter of io Edward II. to X36, the customs of wool, hides and skins being reserved to the king. Edward III. directed that the Sussex county court should be held at Chichester, and this was confirmed in the following year. Confirmations of the previous charters were also granted by Edward III., Richard II., Henry VI., Edward IV., and Henry VII., who gave the mayor and citizens cognizance of all kinds of pleas of assize touching lands and hereditaments of freehold tenure. A court leet, court of record and bailiffs' court of liberties still exist. The charters were also confirmed by Henry VIII., Edward VI., Philip and Mary, and Elizabeth. In 1604 the city was incorporated under a mayor and aldermen. Since 1295, when it first returned a member, Chichester has been regularly represented in parliament. Throughout the middle ages Chichester was a place of great commercial importance, Edward III. establishing a wool staple here in 1348. Fairs were granted by Henry I. and Henry VII. Fuller mentions the Wednesday market as being famous for corn, while Camden speaks of that on Saturday as the greatest for fish in the county. The markets and a fair on the 20th of October are still held.

See Victoria County History, Sussex; Alexander Hay, History of Chichester (Chichester, 1804).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. A town in West Sussex, England

Simple English


Chichester shown within the United Kingdom
Population 23,731
OS grid reference SU865045
District Chichester
Shire county West Sussex
Region South East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PO19
Dialling code 01243
Police Sussex
Fire West Sussex
Ambulance South East Coast
UK Parliament Chichester
European Parliament South East England
List of places: UKEngland • West Sussex
Coordinates: 50°50′02″N 0°46′20″W / 50.834°N 0.7723°W / 50.834; -0.7723

Chichester is a small cathedral city in West Sussex, England, with a population of 23,731, (2001 Census). It is quite near the sea, and near to a harbour for yachts.

The City of Chichester is twinned with:

There are many buildings in the centre of Chichester which have interesting architecture. The oldest building is Chichester Cathedral. There are many beautiful houses in the Cathedral precincts. In many parts of the city one can still see the old city walls, and it is possible to walk along the top in some places. There is an old butter market dating from 1808. A century later another storey was added on top.

Just to the north of Chichester is the Goodwood race course. Many people go there in the summer to watch the horse races. Goodwood is in the South Downs which is a beautiful area for walking.

Chichester is an old Roman town. In the centre of Chichester are four main streets: North Street, South Street, East Street and West Street. These four streets meet in the centre, where there is a small round building with a cross: the Chichester cross. The four main streets form an area which is mostly pedestrianized. Chichester Cathedral stands near the centre, between West Street and South Street. Further to the north lies the area of Summersdale and the conservation area around Graylingwell Hospital. South of Chichester is a canal which links the city to the sea. Soon after it was built in the 19th century the railway came to Chichester so that the canal was not used for long. The canal was left in a bad state for many years until, more recently, it was restored. Some of it can be used by small boats, and there are reedbeds where birds can breed.

There is a Roman Museum near Fishbourne, just west of the city, where many Roman remains can be seen, including a palace which once stood there.

Chichester is a Fairtrade City. Suppliers of Fairtrade are shown by a green dot in the web directory.

Because Chichester is so beautiful it has been divided into eight conservation areas. People are very anxious that the town should not lose its historic character.



Every year, in July, a three-week festival, the Chichester Festivities, takes place. Then in August since 2007 there has been a week long I AM JOY Arts and Music festival held across different venues in the city. The Chichester Festival Theatre has productions for most of the year. It is one of the most famous theatres outside London.

Pallant House Gallery won the 2007 gallery of the year Gulbenkian Prize. It has a lot of modern British art.

The Joy Gallery, open from December 2008 to November 2009, showcased emerging and established artists from the local area.

Chichester has its own amateur orchestra, the Chichester Symphony Orchestra, which gives three concerts during the year.

Chichester RAJF (From "Real Ale and Jazz Festival") gives a four day festival of music and real ale held each July in tents beside the 13th century Guildhall in Priory Park.


There is plenty of sport in Chichester. Chichester R.F.C. are a central team and rugby club. There is a large swimming pool with fitness rooms and sports hall. There are tennis courts near the Festival Theatre.


Chichester has several schools, including Chichester High School for Boys, Chichester High School for Girls, Bishop Luffa School and Prebendal School which is linked to the Cathedral. There is a University of Chichester which, until recently, was known as Bishop Otter College.


Several roads lead into Chichester. The A27, which runs along the south coast, now bypasses the city. There are rail links to London, Gatwick, Portsmouth, Southampton and Basingstoke. Many years ago there was a small train which went to Midhurst, and even a tram to Selsey. Nowadays busses go to these towns. They depart from the central bus station near the railway station.

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