Chichester History


In 43 AD the Romans invaded Britain and about 44 AD they built a fort on the site of Chichester. The king of the local Celtic tribe, Cogidnubus, co-operated with the Romans rather than resist them. After the Romans had left the fort Codignubus decided to take it over and make it into a town. In the 4th century Chichester declined along with the rest of Roman Britain.

In the late 9th century Alfred the Great created a network of fortified places across his kingdom where men could gather when the Danes attacked including Chichester. In 894 the Danes landed in West Sussex but men from Chichester and the surrounding area went out to meet them and won. Chichester was also a flourishing town with a weekly market. 

The Normans built a motte and bailey castle in Chichester in what is now Priory Park. In the Middle Ages Chichester was one of England's most important ports. However during the 16th century Chichester declined in importance. In 1642 came civil war and the town's loyalties were divided. Then the local landowners, the gentry sent a force of 600 men, 200 cavalry and 400 infantry rode into Chichester and took it for the king. Parliament quickly sent an army to besiege the town. Chichester surrendered and remained in parliamentary hands for the rest of the war.

During the Second World War there were 3 bombing raids on Chichester.