Chichester

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For the larger local government district, see Chichester (district).
For other uses, see Chichester (disambiguation).
City of Chichester
Chichester Cathedral epodkopaev.jpg
The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Chichester
City of Chichester is located in West Sussex
City of Chichester
City of Chichester
 City of Chichester shown within West Sussex
Area  10.67 km2 (4.12 sq mi) [1]
Population 23,731 [1] 2001 Census
   – density  2,225/km2 (5,760/sq mi)
OS grid reference SU860048
   – London  54 miles (87 km) NNE 
Civil parish Chichester
District Chichester
Shire county West Sussex
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CHICHESTER
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

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

Chichester (/ˈɪɨstər/) is a cathedral city in West Sussex, in South-East England.[2] It is the only city in West Sussex, and is its county town. 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 has three tiers of local government offices. It is a transport hub, and a centre for culture in the county, with a theatre, museum and two art galleries. Chichester Harbour and the South Downs provide opportunities for outdoor pursuits.

History[edit]

Roman period[edit]

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.[3] The city centre stands on the foundations of the Romano-British city of Noviomagus Reginorum, capital of the Civitas Reginorum. 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 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 two metres 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 the 8th of 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.

Anglo-Saxon period[edit]

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 to London.[4]

Norman period[edit]

When the Domesday Book was compiled, 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 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.[5] In around 1143 the title 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 was created from the western half of Arundel rape, with the castle as its administrative centre.[6]

Modern history[edit]

An enduring 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.[7]

Governance[edit]

Chichester, although in terms of local government in England is a civil parish, has the status of a city,[8] 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.[9]

Chichester Council House (1731)

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 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 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"[10] 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.

Geography[edit]

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 for part of its course now runs through the city in underground culverts.[11] 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.[12]

Chichester Canal

The Chichester Conservation area, designated for its architectural and historic interest,[13] 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 and activities.

Climate[edit]

Chichester has an Oceanic climate. With its position in southern England, Chichester has mild winters and cool summers. It has high sunshine levels compared to other parts of the UK and Northern and Western Europe. The nearest Met Office weather stations to Chichester are Thorney Island and Bognor Regis.[14]

Economy[edit]

Chichester Marina

The city today has made use of its past and has built a large tourist industry.[15] Several marinas are situated in the area together with related industries. The Northshore shipyard is located in the nearby village of Itchenor. This shipyard is known for building the Southerly and Fisher (motor) sailing yachts. Bagged salad and prepared fruit producers, Natures Way Foods, is a major employer in the area, with over 400 employees.[16] The company was granted planning permission in January 2011 to build a new pack house in Runcton, approximately 1.9 miles (3.1 km) south west of Chichester, which is estimated to create 380 new jobs.[17]

Main sights[edit]

Chichester Cathedral's west front and millennium statue of Saint Richard.

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 and St Richard's Hopsital 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.[18] Redundant churches include the Grade I-listed St John the Evangelist's Church, an octagonal white-brick proprietary chapel with an impressive three-decker pulpit.[19][20]

The site of a Roman amphitheatre is in a park south of the Hornet. The precise location can be discerned by a gentle bank roughly oval in shape. A notice board in the park gives 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. The building has recently been renovated.

Chichester Cross

The Corn Exchange in East Street was built in 1833, one of the first in the country.[21] It is an imposing building, designed to show off its importance to trade.[citation needed] In 1883 it was also used for drama and entertainment.[citation needed] From then it became a cinema (1923–1984), a restaurant, and then a fast food restaurant. It is currently occupied by Next clothing retailers.

The Chichester Cross, which is a type of Buttercross familiar to old market towns, was built in 1501 as a covered market-place,[22] stands at the intersection of the four main roads in the centre of the city.

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.

Transport[edit]

Chichester is the hub of several main roads. The most important of these is the A27 coastal trunk road (connecting Eastbourne with 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 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 also many bus services, with Chichester bus station, adjacent to the railway station, acting as a local hub.

Chichester 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.

Education[edit]

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 C of E Junior School; five all-level schools;[23] 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 Centre, Chichester Nursery School, Children and Family Centre.

In the independent sector there are three-day preparatory schools (Oakwood Preparatory School, Prebendal School and Westbourne House).

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[24] 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 bent.

St Richard's Hospital[edit]

St Richard's Hospital is a medium-sized District General Hospital (DGH). Built in 1938 and expanded during World War II the hospital is located to the north of Spitalfield Lane in the northeast of the city.

Culture[edit]

Chichester Festival Theatre

The city holds an annual four-week arts and music festival ("Festival of Chichester")[25] held in June and July.

A prestigious cultural location is the Chichester Festival Theatre,[26] 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 the US.

Pallant House Gallery,[27] 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.

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.[28]

Chichester Cinema at New Park[29] 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. It hosts an annual 18-day International Film Festival in August/September. Vice-presidents are Dame Maggie Smith and Kenneth Branagh. There is also a larger, multiplex cinema located at Chichester Gate.

Street Art By 'Run' Italian Street Artist Electric Cinema Chichester, West Sussex

The 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 2011 and David Harsent in 2012.[30]

In 2012 The Novium, Chichester's museum, was opened by author Kate Mosse.[31] 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 was home to the Chichester Street Art Festival,World renowned street artists spent seven days in the City Creating colourful murals in various locations around the city.[32]

Chichester is mentioned in a 1992 episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the 2003 film 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 has its own Twitter account.

Music[edit]

The following section considers the city's music scene: in recent years it has experienced growth in various genres.[33]

Chichester Symphony Orchestra[edit]

Founded in 1881, the Chichester Symphony Orchestra plays an important part in maintaining the classical music tradition of the area. The orchestra consists of both amateur and professional players who rehearse on a weekly basis. 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[edit]

For some years a part of the Chichester music scene was the 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.[34] Founded in 1980 by members of Chichester Hockey Club as a fund-raising event, the festival grew 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 increased its capacity to 2500 persons and offered 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 was the RAJF's 30th Birthday and celebrations were held. The last RAJF was in 2011.

Blues on the Farm is a festival held every June at Pump Bottom Farm, two miles (3.2 km) south of the city.[35] Founded in 1991, it became a big UK outdoor blues festival hosting national and international names. Roots Around the World is another such festival.

In 2013 West Dean's popular annual event, Chilli Fiesta, became a weekend festival with camping and live music across all three days. Headline acts in its first year included The London Gay Big Band, Natty Bo and the Top Cats, Jackson Scott and Mano De Dios.

Sport[edit]

Chichester City F.C. is the main football club and are based at Oaklands Park. They play in the Sussex County League.[36] The rugby club, Chichester R.F.C., are also based at Oaklands Park.[37]

Chichester Priory Park Cricket Club and Chichester Priory Park Hockey Club share a clubhouse at Priory Park.[38][39]

The city is home to the Chichester Sharks Flag American Football Club who are members of the BAFA National League.[40] 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 tournament matches.

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 men have a successful track record in the Littlehampton Gazette League and won the Sussex County Double Rink title in 2012. They successfully defended their title in 2013.[citation needed]

The city has a leisure centre with swimming pool, flume, sports hall and fitness room; it plays host to Chichester Cormorants swimming club. Chichester Runners and A.C is a club with runners and athletes from all ages. Other sports include cycling.[41]

Notable people[edit]

William Juxon, born 1582, attended 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 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 Parliament for 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 Liverpool and 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 who won a Victoria Cross during the Third Anglo-Ashanti War. General Charles Harington Harington served in the 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.

Town twinning[edit]

The City of Chichester is twinned with Chartres, France and Ravenna, Italy.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2001 Census: West Sussex – Population by Parish". West Sussex County Council. Retrieved 12 April 2009. 
  2. ^ OS Explorer map 120: Chichester, South Harting and Selsey Scale: 1:25 000. Publisher:Ordnance Survey – Southampton B2 edition. Publishing Date:2009. ISBN 978 0319240793
  3. ^ Manley, John (2007). AD43: The Roman Invasion of Britain. Tempus Publishing. pp. 111–128. ISBN 978-0-7524-1959-6. 
  4. ^ Gower, Graham, London Archaeologist Winter 2002, pp 59–63
  5. ^ Chichester Castle, Pastscape.org, retrieved 10 May 2011 
  6. ^ "Victoria County History – The rape of Chichester". British History Online. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Roussillon Barracks". Royal Sussex. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Chichester City Council website". Chichestercity.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "City councillors". Chichestercity.gov.uk. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "British History Online". British-history.ac.uk. 22 June 2003. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Sub-Urban website: River Lavant[dead link]
  12. ^ "City Walls Walk: includes map". Chichesterweb.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Chichester Council Conservation Areas". Chichester.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Averages for Chichester". 
  15. ^ "The Chichester Guide". Chichester Web. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  16. ^ Business Week Profile
  17. ^ Food Manufacture
  18. ^ "''Chichester Web': churches of Chichester". Chichesterweb.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  19. ^ "Former Church of St John the Evangelist, St John's Street (East Side), Chichester, Chichester, West Sussex". The National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  20. ^ 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. 
  21. ^ "The Corn Exchange". Chichester.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  22. ^ "Chichester City Cross". West Sussex.info. 
  23. ^ They are the Jessie Younghusband Primary School; Kingsham Primary School; Parklands Community School; Portfield Community Primary and Singleton C of E Primary School
  24. ^ 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
  25. ^ "Festival of Chichester". 17 May 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "The Website of Chichester Festival Theatre". Cft.org.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  27. ^ "Pallant House Gallery". Pallant.org.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  28. ^ BBC Domesday Reloaded: Chichester's sloe fair
  29. ^ "Chichester Cinema at New Park". Chichestercinema.org. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  30. ^ "Chichester Open Mic". Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  31. ^ Chichester District Council. "Kate Mosse to open new museum in Chichester". 
  32. ^ GALLERY: Chichester Street Art – Chichester Observer
  33. ^ As an example, Anthony of Antony and the Johnsons originated from the city
  34. ^ "Chichester RAJF website". Chichester-raja.com. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  35. ^ "Blues on the Farm". Blues on the Farm. 20 June 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  36. ^ "Chichester City FC website". Ccufc.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  37. ^ "Chichester RFC website". Chichesterrfc.co.uk. 26 June 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  38. ^ "Chichester Priory Park Cricket Club". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  39. ^ "Chichester Priory Park Hockey Club". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  40. ^ "Chichester Sharks flag American football website". Chichestersharks.co.uk. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  41. ^ "Southdown Velo cycling club". Southdownvelo.org.uk. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  42. ^ "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. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Down, Alec (1988). Roman Chichester. Chichester: Phillimore. ISBN 0-85033-435-7. 
  • Sharp, Thomas (1949). Georgian City: A plan for the preservation and improvement of Chichester. London: The Architectural Press. 

External links[edit]