Chichester Cathedral, (Chichester)




Church website.

A Church Near You (Church of England site for this church).


The Close, Chichester, West Sussex.

Grid reference: 485950, 104760, View on: Google Maps, Open Street Map, Streetmap, National Library of Scotland Map or Oldmaps.


Currently there is no incumbent information available.



There are no baptisms in the OPC database.

IGI Batch: C071381 (1664 ~ 1874).


There are no burials in the OPC database.

No burial IGI batches known.


There are 48 marriages in the OPC database.

IGI Batches: M071381 (1568 ~ 1871); M071382 (1706 ~ 1739).

Monumental inscriptions:

There are no monumental inscriptions in the OPC database.


The old Roughwood Churches Album has images and notes about this church.

There are 75 images of this church in the OPC database.

Building information:

Built: 1091.

Current use: Worship.

Harrison's description (1911):

CHICHESTER is a city of very great antiquity. Before the Roman conquest it was occupied by the Britons. It has been the See of Sussex since 1075, when it removed from Selsey.

The cathedral is valuable to the student of architecture, inasmuch as it furnishes examples of all styles from Nor. to Perp., and even quite modern work. The campanile is the only example of a detached bell-tower to a cathedral existing in the land; with the exception of Manchester, it is the only cathedral that has double aisles, making the width but a few feet less than York Minster.

Bishop Ralph Luffa commenced the building of the cathedral in 1091, and in 1108 the first portion was consecrated; but in 1115 a fire, which damaged the city to a great extent, destroyed a part of the structure; it was, however, soon repaired owing to the King (Henry I.) giving liberally to the work. The pillars and arches of the nave and choir, and triforium are of this period - Nor.; the rest was destroyed by another fire in 1187. Bishop Seffrid II. repaired the church and embellished it, adding a new clerestory (1199). In this Tr.-Nor. work Purbeck marble was freely used. The ribs and vaulting shafts inserted have given the building a lighter and more graceful appearance. About the middle of the 13th c. the outer aisles, or chapels, were added to the nave, and the retro-choir is also in E.E. style. Some fifty years later the Lady Chapel was lengthened, and is Dec. The campanile, or bell-tower, (height 120 feet), the consistory court, the cloisters enclosing the Paradise, and some of the windows are later, and Perp. in style. The tower, originally of 13th c., and spire, of 15th c., were re-built after the latter had fallen, in 1866, and in 1901 the N.W. tower was rebuilt.

During the episcopate of Bishop Sherborne (1508-36), the cathedral attained its greatest perfection. He employed the Italian artist Bernardi, to decorate the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral and Lady chapel, and to paint the two historical pictures in S. transept, representing the granting by Caedwalla of the Monastery of Selsey to St. Wilfred, and its confirmation to Bishop Sherborne by Henry VIII., also a series of portraits representing the Bishops of Selsey and Chichester. To his munificence also is due the great oaken altar screen, now re-erected after having been displaced for more than forty years by a huge reredos of the Ascension (since removed to St. Saviour's, Brighton), the entrance gateway to the Episcopal Palace and the fine ceiling of the dining hall.

Among the many details to be noted are the Galilee porch (early Dec.) at W. end, containing the tombs of bishop and a dean; the N.W. tower, rebuiltin 1903; the S.W. tower, containing the font; the triforium; the Purbeck marble, added by Bishop Seffrid. On S. is the Chapel of St. Clement, with Bishop Durnford's cenotaph; near this the fine E.E. doorway from cloisters. The statue of St. Richard is modern, by Hems, of Exeter. In sacristy is an old chest (?Saxon), and over this room is the Consistory Court (temp. Henry VI.), which has a sliding door leading to a secret chamber, where the plate, etc., were hidden in tme of danger. In S. transept :- the beautiful curvilinear window of Bishop Langton (glass very poor); Laughton's tomb; the tomb of Bishop Stratford (d. 1362), formerly assigned to Richard de la Wych; Bernard's pictures; portraits of the Kings of England. In passing through the S. choir aisle are seen the two Saxon slabs, generally supposed to have been brought from Selsey, and representing the Raising of Lazerus and the Meeting of Our Lord with Martha and Mary; cenotaph to Dean Hook (d. 1874); tomb of Bishop Sherborne. Behind the great altar screen is the platform on which formerly stood the shrine of St. Richard.

The chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, restored in memory of St. Richard (and of Canon Crosse) is adorned with paintings relating to the life of the saint, and has a fine aumbry, in which his head was kept. The retro-choir is Seffrid's masterpiece, with its beautiful grouped columns, showing the dawn of E.E. The Lady chape is lower pitch than the rest of the cathedral. There are three tombs here, one with a pastoral staff and Randulphus Epi. on it, considered to be the resting-place of the founder of the original building. In N. chapel of retro-choir is a bust of Bishop Otter (d.1840). In N. wall, note the trefoil, in which are two hands supporting a heart and the inscription - "Ici gist le coeurr Maude de." In N. choir aisle is a fine canopied tomb, possibly of BIshop Rickingdale (d. 1429) or of Bishop de Moleynes (d. 1449). The plain arch, leading to N. transept, has dog-tooth moulding. This part was used as the Parish Church of St Peter, ans is considered to be the oldest portion of the building. The Library (the Chapel of the Four Virgins) is Tr.-Nor., and on central pillar may be seen dog-tooth moulding. The most interesting objects here are the service book of Archbishop Hermann, with Cranmer's autograph in it, and the old MSS. In N. aisle (outer) is a statue of Huskisson; tomb (restored) of Richard Fitz-Alan, 13th Earl of Arundel, executed in 1387; fine Dec. tomb of lady (unknown); three monuments by Flaxman - one to Collins, the poetm another to Dean Ball, and the third to Matthew Quantock. Note in campanile the fine stone screen, built by Bishop Arundel (d. 1478), which formerly separated the choir from nave. It was removed in 1860.

The cloisters (Perp.) are three-sided and irregular, and enclose a space of burial ground called the Paradise. Note tablet to William Chillingworth on S. wall.

Sir William Waller's troops, during their occupation of the cathedral, destroyed the old glass, the brasses (except one), and the wood-work. Note the flying butresses of the cathedral.

The cathedral is 393 feet long (internal); 91 feet wide; and the spire is 277 feet high. The nave has four aisles, and there are N. and S. transepts, choir and retro-choir, Lady chapel, side chapel, library and cloisters. It is the only cathedral in England whose spire can be seen from the sea.

The chapel of the Bishop's Palace is early 13th c.; a vaulted building with fine mouldings, corbels and painting. The door has richly moulded semi-circular head.

In the interesting building of St. Mary's Hospital is a chapel with some fine early Dec. work, including the splendid old screen, geometrical window, sedilia, and 14th c. piscina with credence, which has some ball flower. The stalls (E.E.) have some misereres of a later date. In the aisles of the great hall are rooms for the sick and infirm.

The Market Cross is a splendid example of Perp. work, and, except the portion remaining at Alfriston, the only one in Sussex.

The churches are not of much interest except the little building of ST. OLAVE'S, which has some old work remaining, as seen in the plain round door on the south of the nave. The two canopied piscinae are good specimens of Dec. work. Font, Nor.; fine 16th c. oak chest. Note: old oak pulpit, choir stalls, and lectern.

ST. ANDREW'S is built above a Roman pavement, and is interesting as containing the tomb of Collins, the poet. There are three piscinae; 14th c. font; mutilated tablet on exterior of W. wall, with remains of a representation of Our Lord. The nave is Perp. Reg. 1568. ALL SAINTS' in the Pallant and ST. PETER-THE-LESS are in the E.E. style, but much restored. ST. PANCRAS was rebuilt in the 18th c. In churchyard are buried the three Smiths, landscape painters. Reg. 1559.

The church of St. RUMBOLD, Rumboldswyke (P.N.; N.R.), was originally Saxon, of which there are traces in the chancel and nave, but has been changed to E.E. The plain round chancel arch is early work, and some Roman bricks may be seen in the building. Note: low-side window in S. wall of chancel; pillar piscina of pre-Conquest date; aumbry; and the herring-bone work. The aisle was added in 1866. Reg. 1670.

In the Priory Park, the chapel (or choir of the church) of a monastery of Franciscans or Grey Friars should be visited. It has been restored; its magnificent E. window of five lights, divided by lofty shafts and foliated capitals, is a fine example of E.E. at its best (c. 1230).

Church histories:

Fall of the spire - February 1861 being an account transcribed from the Illustrated London News, 2nd March 1861


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There are no books about this church in the Sussex OPC Bibliography.

There are 24 articles about this church in the OPC Sussex Archeaological Collections Index.

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