City and market town and administrative headquarters of West Sussex, southern England, 111 km/69 mi southwest of London; population (2001) 27,500. It lies in an agricultural area, and has a harbour. It was a Roman town, Noviomagus Regnensium, and the nearby ruin of Fishbourne Palace (about AD 80) is one of the finest Roman archeological sites outside Italy.
It has a cathedral which is mainly Norman, and the Chichester Festival Theatre (1962). Chichester has become a cultural centre, with an annual arts festival in July. Goodwood Park racecourse is nearby to the north.
Features The street plan laid down by the Romans is still evident, and the city walls, built on Roman foundations, survive. A carved-stone octagon was erected as the market cross in 1501 in the centre of the city at the crossing point of the four main streets. The city has many Georgian red-brick buildings, and other features include the 13th-century St Mary's Hospital, the Guildhall, and Pallant House Gallery, which is home to a substantial collection of modern British art. The harbour is a yachting centre.
Cathedral Building of the cathedral, which was consecrated in 1108, began in about 1080 and continued during the 12th century following fires in 1114 and 1187. Covering the altar screen in the choir is a tapestry by John Piper, and there are two sculptured stone panels dating from about 1140 in the south aisle. The largely Norman nave has chapels on each side, and there are some fine medieval carvings and 14th-century misericords (ledges projecting from the underside of the hinged seat of choir stalls, for support during standing). All the glass is modern, as are the central and northwest towers. The spire is 86 m/282 ft high. The cathedral has an unusual detached bell tower (1436). The Bishops' Palace adjoins the cathedral and the cathedral close leads to the cloisters.
Chichester – A Little Piece of Heaven in a Corner of Sussex