The Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, or as it’s known to most – Chichester Cathedral, is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Chichester. As the name suggests it can be found in Chichester, West Sussex, England. It was founded as a cathedral in 1075, when the seat of the bishop was moved from Selsey (possibly at Church Norton) replacing the old Cathedral founded in 681 by St. Wilfred for the South Saxons.
Chichester was small, for a Norman cathedral, when compared with Winchester, Peterborough and Ely. The Norman construction of the early 12th century can be seen in the nave, which rises in the usual three stages of arcade, gallery and clerestory.
Chichester Cathedral has fine architecture in both the Norman and the Gothic styles, it also has two architectural features that are unique among England’s medieval cathedrals—a free-standing medieval bell tower (or campanile) and double aisles. The plan of Chichester is in the shape of a cross, with an aisled nave and choir, crossed by a transept. The eastern end of the building is long by comparison with the nave, is square ended and has a projecting Lady chapel. Also typically English is the arrangement of paired towers on the western front, and a taller central tower over the crossing. To the south side of the building can be found the a cloister.The masonary spire was built in the 14th century and stood for 450 years before collapsing on Feb 21st 1861. Later rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott.
(above) A view looking directly up inside the tower at the ceiling.
A copper bowled Cornish polyphant stone font (Above left) can be found in the Baptistry in the South West Tower, this was designed by John Skelton (1983) and is part of the memorial to George Bell (Bishop 1929-1958). In the background is the painting The Baptism of Christ is by Hans Feibusch (1951).
Heading east along the south aisle before reaching the Arundel Tomb we come tothe Chapel of St George, in here, we find the Royal Sussex Regimental (Army) Chapel which was dedicated in 1921. It contains panels listing all the 6,800 Regimental casualties from the Great War The 1,024 names of the casualties from the Second World War are contained in a Memorial Book that rests by the altar. The are also colours from the 1st Bn, 2nd Bn and 4/5th (Cinque Ports) Bn.
There is also a guidon of the Sussex Yeomanry that hangs over a panel containing the names of the Regiment who died in both wars.
The Royal Air Force memorial is situated in the chapel of St Clements and the Royal Navy memorial in the chapel of St Michael.
Remember all those who served and gave their lives in the persuit of freedom throughout the world
We will remember them
Continuing east along the south aisle passing the tomb of John Arundel – Bishop of Chichester 1459 – 1478, we arrive at the south transept to be greeted with this beautiful stained glass window from the early 14th century (above). To the right of the window and lower down we find this timber backed mural entitled “Operibus Credite” by Lambert Barnard.
Operibus Credite or to give the full motto – “Operibus Credite, et non Verbis” “Believe in deeds, not words” or more colloquially “Action speaks louder than words“.
In 686 king Caedwalla issued a charter confirming the rights and territories previously given to Wilfrid by king Aethelwealh and the estate of the Hundred of Pagham including Shripney, Charlton, Bognor, Bersted, Crimsham, Mundham and Tangmere.
The handing over of the charter is wonderfully depicted in the Lambert Barnard mural in the south transept of Chichester Cathedral commissioned by Bishop Robert Sherburne c 1508-1536 (see photo above)
Chichester or as the Romans called it – Noviomagus Reginorum was established shortly after the Roman Conquest in AD 43. The Roman road of Stane Street started at the east gate and connected the city with Londinium (London) and from the north gate, ran the Chichester to Silchester road. Other public buildings were also present: the public baths are beneath West Street, the amphitheatre under the cattle market and the basilica is thought to be beneath the cathedral.
The piece of mosaic flooring pictured on the left can be found under the floor of the south aisle in the Cathedral, and is therefore most likely to be from the basilica or from one of the surrounding buildings.
The Lady Chapel located at the very east end of the cathedral. A Lady chapel, also called Mary chapel or Marian chapel, is a traditional English term for a chapel inside a cathedral, basilica, or large church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Traditionally, a Lady chapel is the largest chapel of the cathedral.
As the development of the chevet, or radiating system of apse chapels, progressed during the 12th and 13th centuries, custom began to dictate that the chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin be given the most important position, directly behind the high altar.
(left) at prayer in the Lady Chapel
The Organ has a magnificent double case, designed by Dr. Arthur Hill, which was added in 1888, incorporating some decorated display pipes from the 1678 instrument by Harris. It is one of the finest examples of Hill’s work but unfortunately was never more than a façade, leaving the sides and back of the instrument exposed. When Hele of Plymouth finally enlarged the organ in the early years of the 20th century, the Swell box was cantilevered precariously backwards, and the appearance from the aisles and transept left much to be desired.
Above, left – Reginald Pecock (1395 – 1461) Consecrated as Bishop of Chichester on 23 March 1450. Philospher and writer.
Above, center – Ralph Luffa (Died 14 December 1123) Luffa was consecrated on 6 January 1091 as bishop of Chichester, from 1091 to 1123. He built extensively on his cathedral as well as being praised by contemporary writers as an exemplary bishop.
Above, right – St Wilfred (AD 634-709) In 681 Wilfrid became the 1st Bishop of Selsey and the cathedral seat remained at Selsey until bishop Stigand c 1076 when it was moved to its present site in Chichester.
(right) looking through the Nave towards the west entrance.
Looking up the north west tower on an east west axis.
The main entrance (public(far left photo)) is situated at the western end of the cathedral, flanked by the north and south towers. The free-standing medieval bell tower (or campanile) of the early 15th century, probably the work of William Wynford who also designed the cloisters, can be seen in the center left hand photo. The walls are of large courses of sandstone ashlar and are divided by string-courses into three stages. The tower has a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet, the string of which is enriched with paterae.(A circular ornament, resembling a dish, often worked in relief on friezes, and the like).
A cloister (from Latin claustrum, “enclosure”) is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, (center left photo) with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church, commonly against a warm southern flank, usually indicates that it is (or once was) part of a monastic foundation, “forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier… that effectively separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went on outside and around the cloister.”
In recent summers the cathedral becomes a nesting site for Peregrine Falcons, which use a crenellated turret at the base of the spire. The birds can be viewed on site or via a webcam.
It is said that Chichester being one of only two medieval English cathedrals that is visible from the sea, the other being its near neighbour, Portsmouth Cathedral.
“We do not charge for entry to the Cathedral, as we believe this beautiful building should be available to all”
Whilst entry is free, in order to continue the restoration programme, the Trust needs to raise £1,000 each and every day every day. So please give generously if you can.
I’ve repeated this message again as it is a wonderful building well worth giving some money to visit.
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