Read CHAPTER IV of Bell's Cathedrals: Chichester (1901), free online book, by Hubert C. Corlette, on


To trace the history of the establishment of the city of Chichester we need go back to the time when the Romans had occupied the same site under the ancient name of Regnum. They had fortified themselves in this position, and evidence of their occupation is to be found to-day in the subdivision of the city into four parts by those streets which meet at the Market Cross. But as the centre of the Imperial fabric became weaker the dependencies were abandoned, and the Roman legions recalled early in the fifth century. So when in 477 A.D. “came Aelle to Britain, and his three sons, Cymen, Wlencing, and Cissa, with three ships,” and landed at “the place which is named Cymenesora, and there slew many Welsh, and drove some into the forest which is named Andredslea,” there were no Roman soldiers to oppose them.

In this brief sentence, quoted from the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, there is a reference to several interesting matters which concern the later history of the South Saxons, their acceptance of Christianity, and the foundation of that Church first at Selsea, then at Chichester which was to be the future local centre to support and foster the faith they for so long rejected. The Jute leaders, Hengest and Horsa, had established themselves on British soil in 449 A.D. This was twenty-eight years before Aelle arrived, and with his followers “slew many Welsh”; that is, the British natives, the Wealas, or strangers, whom he found in possession of the land. The place “named Cymenesora,” at which Aelle had landed, was close to Wittering, at the mouth of Chichester harbour. And the chronicle, relating what had occurred thirteen years later, records how “in this year (490-1) Aelle and Cissa besieged Andredes ceaster, and slew all that dwelt therein, so that not even one Briton was left.” This fortress of Anderida, which had been a Roman castrum, occupied the spot now called Pevensey, the landing-place of a later conqueror, the Norman William, in 1066. It guarded on the east the strip of land between the South Downs and the sea; and when it fell before them, the Saxons became masters of the region to the north known then as Andredeslea, or Andredeswold, the forest or weald of Anderida. To the west was Regnum, Cissa’s Ceaster, or Chichester, another of those fortresses which the provident and energetic Romans had established along the South Coast.

One of Aelle’s followers, named Boso, or Bosa, settled at the head of a branch of Chichester harbour, and, as in the case of his superior, Cymen, the place was named after him, as Bosenham, or Bosham. This was in the fifth century. Augustine began his work in Kent late in the sixth century, and Birinus, who was sent independently direct from Rome, had undertaken the conversion of the West Saxons fifteen years before the middle of the succeeding century. But neither by these missionaries nor their brethren was the territory of the South Saxons affected.

The West Saxons, by conquest, extended their rule westward and northward, and missionary enterprise followed the course of military success and subsequent civil protection. The original British occupiers of the land withdrew to Wales, or else became subject to the conquerors. Similar had been the course of events which followed the taking of Kent by the Jutes. So when Augustine arrived he was welcomed by Aethelberht, whose wife Bertha, a Frankish princess, was already a Christian.

Augustine having founded the see of Canterbury, was soon enabled, by the help of political and social influence, to effect the establishment of other sees. Rochester, London, and York were soon centres of activity; but these neighbour principalities had not, ecclesiastically, affected the territories that were close to their respective domains; for the kingdom of the South Saxons remained, nearly two centuries after Aelle’s conquest, in the same heathen condition as prevailed in his day.

Bede relates that at Bosham, Dicul had founded a monastery where, “surrounded by woods and water, lived five or six brethren, serving the Lord in humility and poverty.” But “no one cared to emulate their life, or listen to their teaching.” Dicul came from Ireland, and it is supposed that he had been educated in the monastic centre of missionary life which in the sixth century had been founded there. It is not, however, known how these few men found their way to the South Saxon shores, and their presence there had no influence upon the minds of those invaders who had possessed themselves of the adjacent lands. A quarrel in the Northumbrian kingdom was the cause which sent a missionary to Sussex in 680 A.D.

Ecgfrith and his witan had banished Wilfrith, Archbishop of York, from his see. The unfortunate exile wandered some time in search of welcome. Eventually he found his way to Sussex, where Aethelwealh and his Christian wife offered him a new field for his energies. Twenty years earlier he had been in the same kingdom. On that occasion, having been consecrated by the Bishop of Paris, he was returning from Gaul when the vessel in which he travelled was driven upon the coast and stranded. While in this helpless condition they were discovered and attacked by the South Saxons, who were three times beaten off, but whilst they were continuing their preparations for another assault, the vessel rose with the tide and escaped. Under other circumstances he was now among these people again. The famine which prevailed at the time of his arrival gave him the necessary opportunity to gain their affections by first satisfying their material needs. He showed the starving folk how to catch fish with nets which he and his companions had made, and then was able to teach them other things. He preached with success for some time, and baptized many who heard him. Bede has left a record characteristic of his day, in which he relates that immediately they had accepted the faith which he taught, “the rain, so long withheld, revisited the thirsty land.”

Aethelwealh, grateful for Wilfrith’s aid, granted him lands at Selsea. The bishop at once gave freedom to those families and their slaves who occupied the district, and baptized them, giving them release, as Bede has told, from spiritual and temporal bond’s at the same time. Selsea thus became another see from which Christian principle and practice might be taught in the midst of the surrounding tribes. In this spot, near the residence of the king, a church was built, in which the bishop’s cathedra was placed. The structure was dedicated to S. Peter, and was the first cathedral church in Sussex. It is not now known what the architectural character of this building was. Perhaps there was some attempt in its design to take advantage of such suggestions as the Romans left behind them at Regnum, for we find in early instances of English architecture that such examples had exercised some influence upon the elementary efforts of those days. But it is more likely that his first church was nothing but a small and simple barn, for men were not then burdened with the idea that a cathedral must be a big church, provided it served as a centre from which the bishop could use his pastoral responsibility. During Wilfrith’s stay at Selsea many changes took place.

Then Ceadwalla, who had defeated Aedilwalch, or Aethelwealh, confirmed the grants to the Church made by his predecessor, in return for the kindness he had received from Wilfrith some time before.

Under their new head the missionaries at Selsea undertook, with the king’s sanction, to convert those who inhabited the neighbouring island of Wight and also parts of the mainland which now were subject to the new ruler. But after five years in the south Wilfrith returned to his old diocese of York. Sussex, to a large extent, had accepted the faith he endeavoured to teach, and many churches were established and organised before his departure.

For some years after Wilfrith had returned to York there was no bishop in charge of the newly founded diocese in Sussex. The community of workers he had brought together at Selsea still continued to exist; but Sussex in ecclesiastical affairs was subject to Winchester during this interval. Ceadwalla, when Kentwine, King of Wessex, died in 685, had begun “to strive for the kingdom,” so the chronicle has recorded, and having established himself upon the throne, he succeeded also in conquering the ruler of Sussex, and so brought both kingdoms under his sway. Wilfrith had converted him to the Christian faith; but when this prelate was recalled to his former diocese, no one had been appointed to carry on the work he had begun. For twenty years this vacancy continued. Then, after the death of Ceadwalla, Ine, his successor, divided the large diocese, which was subject to the Bishop of Winchester, by making, with the consent of his witan, a new see at Sherburne and reviving that of Selsea. Of this latter, Eadberht was appointed the first bishop in the year 709. The community in Selsea over which Eadberht had presided before his consecration was a secular foundation. Whatever was the principle upon which it had been founded, there seems no doubt that during the interim which elapsed before a bishop was placed in charge some elementary form of government was carried on by a succession of elected presidents. This body was either composed of secular clergy, who were distributed throughout the diocese, living as priests in charge of parishes in saeculo, or it was a foundation supported by those who lived according to a regula. The regulars were those who lived together, having vowed obedience to some particular form of rule. These were unmarried men, who used one building, property, refectory, and dormitory of the institution in common. Not all of these were ordained, as there were among them lay brothers as well as those who were priests. But the seculars those in the world were not subject to rules and conditions such as these. Many, as priests living in their parishes, were married men.

After the consecration of Eadberht and his installation as Bishop of Selsea, the cathedra, or episcopal chair, was occupied successively by twenty prelates. The period during which these held office, including the few intervals when for a time the see remained vacant, extended over about three hundred and seventy years. Little is known of these bishops further than that their signatures are to be found attached to various charters. These were all called Bishops of the South Saxons.

Aethelgar was Bishop of Selsea in 980. He had been a member of the monastic colony at Glastonbury, near Wells. After occupying the see for about eight years, he succeeded Dunstan as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishops Ordberht and Aelmer were bishops after Aethelgar; and then the next prelate of importance was Aethelric, who was a Benedictine of Christ Church, Canterbury. He was learned in the ancient laws and customs of his country, and when a very old man acted as one of the arbitrators appointed to settle the differences which had arisen between Lanfranc and Odo, Earl of Kent. Aethelric had been consecrated by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was removed from the Primacy by William the Conqueror to make room for Lanfranc, his own nominee.

The see of Selsea was governed by three other bishops till William appointed one of his chaplains to the office. This was Stigand (1070-1087), but not that Stigand (the Primate) who at the same royal bidding had to make room for Lanfranc. It was while he was still an occupant of the see that the transfer to Chichester was effected. He earned the displeasure of the king by refusing to consecrate Gausbert to the Abbey of Battle unless the monk would come to Chichester for the ceremony. He had some trouble, too, with his metropolitan, Lanfranc, on account of a dispute concerning the limits of his jurisdiction. Certain parishes within the territory of his diocese were claimed as subject to the more eastern see. The Primate established his right to these “peculiars,” and the right obtained until the last century, when all such holdings were abolished by law.

Godfrey (1087-1088) evidently incurred the displeasure of his papal superior, as the only known record of his very brief episcopate is represented by a discovery which was made in 1830 when an absolution from the Pope, inscribed upon a leaden cross, was dug up in the paradise close to the south choir aisle.

It was not till three years had elapsed since Godfrey’s death that Ralph de Luffa (1091-1123) was consecrated to the vacancy by Thomas, Archbishop of York. Meanwhile the king enjoyed the temporalities of the see. In his person we meet a figure of much importance to the history of the fabric and see, for to his energy and initiative we owe the greater part of the cathedral building that remains to-day.

Ralph’s activity was not wholly absorbed by his interest in the architectural idea which he hoped to realise. He spent much time and care attending to the needs of the churches of which he was the overseer. He visited them regularly three times in the year for the purpose of effecting reforms when they were necessary, for teaching, and for developing the organisation of the diocese as it was affected by the condition of each parochial unit. Thus by his office and oversight he was endeavouring to maintain the necessary relations between the particular churches and their cathedral centre. In defence of these same members of the local and general ecclesiastical body he was obliged to resent the attempted interference of two kings of the realm. Henry I. wished to fill his pockets by imposing fines upon the clergy. To oppose this the bishop closed all the churches in the diocese and blocked up the entrances with thorns; and so, except in the monasteries, the offering of public worship ceased. The restriction was in time removed, and the king acknowledged the bishop’s plea that he should endeavour to replenish the coffers of his poor see, so that the injured cathedral might be repaired, rather than reduce it to poverty by extortion.

Ralph is credited with having established the office of “dean” at Chichester the first of the four cathedral dignitaries, of which the others are the praecentor, the chancellor, and the treasurer.

Seffrid Pelochin, or d’Escures (1125-1147), ceded to the king’s aggression the rights and privileges Ralph had gained. He was obliged to vacate the see in 1145, and returned to Glastonbury, where he had been abbot before he was made bishop. His name figures in the list which Roger of Hoveden gives in his chronicle, as one among the bishops who were at the Council of London in 1129.

Hilary (1147-1169) was a bishop who was before all things an ecclesiastic. To Ralph Luffa’s foundation of the dean’s office he added those of the chancellor and treasurer, if not also, as is supposed, that of the praecentor. With Hilary began the traditional post of confessor to the queen of the realm. Stephen had given him this office, and at the same time added to the privilege a perpetual chaplaincy in connection with the castle at Pevensey.

The letters from Popes Eugenius and Alexander III., which confirmed the possessions held by the see and guaranteed a papal protection of the church in Chichester, are among the collection in the cathedral library. The properties these deeds acknowledge include that portion of the city one fourth in which the close was situated; and within this area were comprised the church itself, the episcopal palace, and the residences of the canons. The original grant of this land was made by William, Earl of Arundel, in 1147, who bestowed it among other things as compensation “for the damages which I once did to the same church.” Hilary was Bishop of Chichester during that historic period when Becket opposed Henry II. He attempted, like the rest of the bishops, to heal the breach; and Tennyson, in “Becket,” adopting a phrase he used, makes him say to his Primate, “Hath not thine ambition set the Church this day between the hammer and the anvil ... fealty to the King, obedience to thyself?” He went to Sens, to plead as an advocate on the king’s behalf before Pope Alexander III. and the French king. The result of this meeting was that England was placed under the ban of excommunication. But Henry replied by declaring that the property of all who acted upon it should be confiscated and themselves banished. The bishop was involved also in a local contest with the Abbot of Battle, who refused to consider himself subject to his episcopal jurisdiction.

After Hilary’s death in 1169 the revenues of the see were for four years appropriated to his own uses by the king, who late in the year 1173 appointed John Greenford (1174-1180), who was Dean of Chichester, to the vacancy. The bishop-elect was not consecrated until, in 1174, he, with three more nominated about the same time, had done penance before Becket’s tomb at Canterbury. Little is known of him except that he attended some ecclesiastical councils.

The episcopate of Seffrid II. (1180-1204) introduces an important period of activity, during which great alterations were made in the fabric of the cathedral.

Simon Fitz Robert, or Simon of Wells (1204-1207), was a bishop whose favour with the king (John) enabled him to do much for the see. He had held a post in the Royal Exchequer, and had been guardian of the Fleet Prison as well as Provost of Beverley and Archdeacon of Wells. The benefactions he obtained were various. A charter was granted by which the see should hold its property free from impost, under the protection of the king. The bishop, with his dean and chapter, were practically exempted from the jurisdiction of the local civil courts and from the payment of customs and tolls within the same sphere. Within the bounds of the property owned by the see they were to rule without restraint, and in the presence of a royal official “the view of Frank Pledge was to be held in the bishop’s court.” In the patent rolls of King John there are two entries, dated 1205 A.D. and 1206 A.D., by which the bishop was granted permission to take Purbeck marble for the repair of his church without hindrance, from the coast of Dorset to Chichester. But precautions were taken to prevent any of the material thus obtained from being used elsewhere. A further grant, the evidence of which is now removed, allowed the chapter to build premises beyond the precincts northward, which encroached twelve feet into the roadway now known as West Street. A row of lime-trees now stands where these houses remained till the middle of the last century. For six years after Simon’s death John kept the see vacant, and during the interim enjoyed the temporalities.

Richard Poore was then consecrated bishop in 1215. He had been Dean of Old Sarum. But after occupying the see for no more than two years, he was translated to Salisbury.

Ranulf of Warham (1217-1224) bequeathed some property to the see ; but otherwise he did little, except as a fortunate collector of cattle, for the support of which his successor provided pasturage.

Ralph Neville (1224-1244) was a bishop of more than local celebrity. Like Langton, the archbishop, he withstood the demands which the papacy and Henry III. made in their endeavours to impoverish the Church in England. For this opposition the king removed him temporarily from the post of Chancellor of the Realm, a position he held from 1226 to 1240. His “fame rests more upon his repute as a statesman faithful in many perils, and a singular pillar of truth in the affairs of the kingdom.” He succeeded in procuring the payment to the Church of tithe from some royal properties which had been withheld, and left provision for the supply of twelve quarters of wheat annually to the poor in Chichester. Some, notes preserved in the cathedral records lead to the supposition that the portion of the old central tower above the roof and up to the parapet at the foot of the spire was built, or at least begun, during Ralph’s tenure of the see. One of these memoranda shows that he released from twenty days’ penance those who should visit the cathedral and contribute to the maintenance of the fabric. The others state that he expended one hundred and thirty marks upon repairs, and his executors paid over one hundred and forty marks to the dean and chapter for the purpose of finishing a stone tower which it had been found necessary to repair. Three years after his death it was nearly completed. Bishop Neville died at his house by Chancellor’s Lane, now Chancery Lane. His property later passed into the hands of the Earl of Lincoln, and was known then as the inn, or hospital, of Lincoln. The estate is now covered by the buildings of Lincoln’s Inn, and that portion which is still the property of the see is known as “The Chichester Rents.”

Ralph’s successor was Richard of Wych (1245-1253), generally called St. Richard. He had studied under Edmund and Grosseteste at Oxford, and also in Paris and Bologna. Returning from Europe, he became Chancellor of the University of Oxford, then of the diocese of Canterbury. Having withdrawn again to France, he was ordained priest at Orleans, and then worked as vicar at Deal, from which post he was called upon to occupy again his earlier office at Canterbury. Then came his appointment to Chichester. The canons had elected Robert Passelew, but the archbishop objected. Henry III., having supported the first nominee, disputed Richard’s election. Meanwhile the king appropriated the temporalities for two years. Richard appealed to Innocent IV., who confirmed the appointment and consecrated Richard at Lyons in 1245. This did not end the difference, for on the new bishop’s return he was obliged to accept the hospitality of his clergy, the king being still hostile. But he did not allow these difficulties to interfere with his attention to episcopal duty, for he walked throughout the diocese, organising and teaching as he went. In his leisure he followed the pursuits of his youth, and spent his spare time in farming and gardening. He was an excellent man, whose peculiar sanctity rests largely upon his having succeeded in doing the duties some of his predecessors had disregarded, and for a generosity which outran his income. Accepting that law which the papacy had added to those of Christianity, he treated the married clergy with the severity his sense of duty and obedience urged, for he deprived them of their benefices, and their wives were denied the offices of the Church both before and after death. Any bequests to them by their husbands, he declared, should be confiscated, and the funds derived by this means devoted to the needs of the cathedral building Rather inconsistently he taught the beneficed clergy that they should use hospitality and charity; but like another Malachi, he reminded men that to withhold the tithe of their increase from the Church made them robbers not of the clergy, but of their Creator. He instituted the fund afterwards known as “S. Richard’s Pence.” It was a system by which regular offerings should be made for the completion and maintenance of the cathedral fabric. And, characteristically, he obtained the support of the archbishop and seven other prelates in their approval of his wish that they should “recommend visits and offerings to Chichester, for the repair and completion of the cathedral.” This is another evidence of the great extent of those building operations that were in progress throughout the thirteenth century. Just before his death he began to preach a crusade, but died at Dover. In his will he still remembered the cathedral by leaving a legacy of forty pounds for the needs of the fabric.

John of Clymping (1253-1262) succeeded Richard. His episcopate appears chiefly remarkable for the growth of stories about the miraculous powers and saintly life of his predecessor.

Stephen of Berghsted (1262-1288) now occupied the see. During his episcopate Richard was canonised, a deputation, sent at great cost to Rome, having succeeded in persuading Urban IV. that his merits and fame deserved an honour which should bring wealth and celebrity to the see in whose cathedral his body was laid; so in 1276 the remains of his body were removed from their tomb and placed at the back of the high altar in a shrine, or feretory, dedicated to him.

Gilbert de Sancto Leophardo (1288-1305) was a bishop who, like S. Richard, devoted himself to his diocesan duties with a singleminded purpose which was not a common virtue with all mediaeval prelates. He endeavoured to regulate the habits of those clergy who accepted their privileges but were inclined to neglect the duties and responsibilities these involved. His interest in the fabric of the cathedral was expressed principally by the additions that were made to the lady-chapel during his episcopate.

John Langton (1305-1337) took a conspicuous part in the suppression of the knights templars during the reign of Edward II. in obedience to the papal order regarding them. He was Chancellor of the Realm before his elevation to the episcopate, and showed his energy as a statesman locally by commanding the restoration of rights to some vicars of the cathedral who had been suspended in accordance with the provisions of certain statutes which the dean and chapter made without his consent. Like Bishop Gilbert, he was an instrument by whose sanction more changes were made in the building.

Robert of Stratford (1337-1362), another statesman bishop, succeeded Langton. He had also been chancellor, and asserted his episcopal authority as sternly as his predecessor.

Of William of Lynn (1362-1368) and his episcopacy little record remains; but

William Rede (1369-1385) earned some repute as a scholar, and was the founder of Merton College Library in Oxford, and it is to him that the diocese is indebted for the preservation of the early records relating to the see. Nothing of importance is known of the next three bishops:

Thomas Rushoke (1385-1389).

Richard Metford (1389-1395).

Robert Waldby (1395-1396).

Robert Rede (1397-1415), whose register is the earliest among those that remain, occupied the see during the reign of Henry IV. This record contains many interesting details concerning the part its compiler took in the endeavour to suppress the doctrines of Wycliffe and the Lollards; and it also shows that much disorder prevailed among the canons and vicars of the cathedral. One of the canons, besides stealing money from the treasury, appropriated for his private use some materials which had been intended for the repair of the church. Rectors of parishes allowed their cures to fall into a state of destitution, and left them to the care of poorly paid vicars while they themselves resided elsewhere. The see was not filled for two years after the death of Rede. Then followed in succession:

Stephen Patryngton (1417).

Henry Ware (1418).

John Kemp (1421).

Thomas Poldon (1421).

John Rickingale (1426).

Simon Sydenham (1429).

No registers remain relating to the affairs of the episcopate during the twenty years covered by their occupation of the see.

In the register left by Richard Praty (1438-1446) there is evidence that many of the negligences censured by Bishop Rede were still without correction. The discipline of the monastic houses in Sussex is represented as having become very lax.

Adam Moleyns, or Molyneux (1446-1450), was instrumental in arranging the marriage of Henry VI. with Margaret of Anjou. Many concessions were granted to him by the king for the benefit of himself and the diocese, but having become unpopular he was murdered by some sailors in Portsmouth early in 1450 when on his way to France.

Reginald Pecock (1450-1459), “being convicted of heresy, he resigned his bishopric,” so say the records of the cathedral.

John Arundel (1459-1478). The record of his episcopal administration has been lost; but it is known that he built the screen named after him. He appears, however, to have been much less restless than his predecessor.

Edward Storey (1478-1503) has left in his register full accounts of his deeds and the condition of the diocese. It shows the latter had again become very disordered. Both the regular and secular bodies are charged with abusing the trust committed to them. Bishop Storey tried to correct this state of things. He proved his usefulness, otherwise, by the foundation of the Prebendal, or Free Grammar-School, in Chichester, and also by giving the Market Cross to the city for the benefit of the poor.

Of Richard Fitz-James (1503-1508) and his administration there is but little information.

With Robert Sherburne (1508-1536) we come to the close of a long period of ecclesiastical history one during which the distinctly Christian, as opposed to the pagan, principles and forms of art had been developed. As bishop at Chichester he represented the Church and those principles which then in the west were taught in her name. Accordingly he protested against “the King’s most dreadful commandment concerning (with other things) the uniting of the Supreme head of the Church of [? in] England with the Imperial Crown of this realm; and also the abolishing and secluding out of this realm the enormities and abuses of the Bishop of Rome’s authority, usurped within the same.” He wrote thus in 1534 to Cromwell. And obeying this command from the civil authority, he caused these orders to be published throughout the diocese. As a subject he obeyed his king; but, being honest, he could not as a bishop and a man disregard his principles when he found such obedience involved their denial. Consequently he resigned the see in 1536.

Richard Sampson (1536-1543) took part in the Reformation movement. Although he had defended the principle that the king was to be considered “high governor under God, and Supreme head of the Church of England,” his principles appear to have been easily affected by the political weather that prevailed. His attitude in favour of every principle involved in the acceptance of the papacy appears in the support he gave to doctrines which had been rejected by the party of reform. He no doubt feared the results that might follow upon another attempt to adapt the Church’s constitution to changed conditions.

In the time of George Daye (1543-1552) the pendulum moved again across the face of the political and ecclesiastical clock. He was a man whose convictions led him to support those same six articles which had been upheld by Bishop Sampson; and he attempted to prevent the introduction of the first prayer-book of Edward VI. in 1549, as well as the destruction of the earlier service-books in the following year. He was a man to be respected, for in the face of general opposition he proved that his convictions on important affairs were not ready to change at the sudden bidding of a new authority which he was unable to recognise. As he was not to be persuaded that his position was wrong, he was removed from the see towards the end of the year 1551. But we meet him again presently, for Bishop John Scory (1552-1554), who took his place, retired soon after Mary’s accession. Bishop Daye came back to favour, preached at the coronation, reoccupied the see, and was now “a mighty busy man.” He caused some recent orders to be reversed by reviving the use of the earlier forms of liturgy, restoring the older ceremonial, and again setting up those altars in the churches which should never have been broken down. In his own words Daye “styeked” not at things trivial; but he would not assent to the abolition of essentials, however much they had been misused or become offensive in the eyes of untutored civil dignitaries and their party followers. Daye on his restoration had attempted to remove reformers and their opinions from the diocese by the aid of faggots and flames. But John Christopherson (1557-1559) was more energetic in upholding his authority and ideas by this same means; for Mary, though she would revive the papal supremacy, yet retained in her own hands the ecclesiastical position which the Throne in England had already assumed.

At the close of Mary’s reign Bishop Christopherson died, and in his place Elizabeth put William Barlow (1559-1568), who had been removed from the see of Bath and Wells by her predecessor. He made some attempt to remove a variety of irregularities which had been introduced since the death of Sherburne, for the services of the Church had become much disordered in consequence of the many changes of attitude which had been favoured by the rulers, both civil and ecclesiastical, during nearly thirty years. Barlow’s endeavour to bring this chaos to a new order was in accord with the methods of those who sought reform. He tried to carry out the injunction of Parker, the Primate, whose aim was to “reduce all to a Godly uniformitie.” But any desire for unity in diversity was not likely to be satisfied unless it was sought for with at least some unanimity of hope and aim. After his death the see remained vacant for two years.

Richard Curteys (1570-1583) found the revenues of his see so reduced that he was unable properly to fulfil the ordinary obligations of his position. He did not spare himself in his endeavour to do the duties he had undertaken. With the assistance of others he methodically instructed the diocese under his charge, an well was this done that a contemporary said “the people with ardent zeale, wonderful rejoicinge, and in great number, take farre and long journeys to be partakers of his good and godly lessons.” This excellent man, however, owing to the political spoliation of the church, died impoverished in 1583.

From 1583 till 1585 no bishop was appointed, but in the latter year Thomas Bickley (1585-1596) was selected.

Antony Watson (1596-1605) was Bishop of Chichester when James became king. He was occupied much in furthering Whitgift’s endeavour to improve the condition of the Church in England by urging conformity to the newly ordered methods of ecclesiastical government and procedure.

Launcelot Andrews (1605-1609) then ruled the diocese until he was transferred to Ely.

He was followed by Samuel Harsnett (1609-1619), who was an opponent of the Calvinistic attitude of thought. The records of his visitations ask some pertinent questions, which show how the Cathedral Church itself was being served. He inquires, “Have not many of the vicars and lay vicars been absent for months together? Is the choir sufficiently furnished, and are the boys properly instructed? What has become of the copes and vestments? Who is responsible for the custody of them and of the books? Are there not ale-houses in the close? Why are all these things not amended since the last visitation?” This was the state of affairs in the cathedral church of the diocese at the beginning of the seventeenth century; and during the two hundred years that followed there is but little improvement to remark. Certainly in George Carleton’s (1619-1628) and in Richard Montagu’s day (1628-1638) there was not much change, for the latter asks in every parish “whether communicants ‘meekly kneel,’ or whether they stand or sit at the time of reception: Whether the Holy Table is profaned at any time by persons sitting upon it, casting hats or cloaks upon it, writing or casting up accounts or any other indecent usuage.” And in consequence the archbishop desired to restore some sense of order and decency to the minds of both the clergy and laity by replacing the altars in their proper positions again. He asks, therefore, Bishop Brian Duppa (1638-1641), in the questions put during the first visitation of parish churches, “Is your communion-table, or altar, strong, fair and decent? Is it set according to the practice of the ancient Church, upon an ascent at the east end of the chancel, with the ends of it north and south? Is it compassed in with a handsome rail to keep it from profanation according to an order made in the metropolical visitation?”

During the episcopate of Henry King (1642-1670) the diocese was a theatre of rebellion and civil war. Chichester was taken on December 29th, 1642, by Waller and the Parliamentary soldiers after a siege of eight days. Bishop King repaired, after the Restoration, the wrecked cathedral and the episcopal palace, but this appears to be all that is known of him.

Peter Gunning (1670-1675) was the first Bishop of Chichester appointed after the Restoration. He had suffered for the tenacity with which he clung to his principles during the period of the Rebellion. Having been ejected from a fellowship at Cambridge, he came to London, and there, with no little audacity, he ministered and taught as a loyalist and Churchman.

But Ralph Brideoake (1675-1678) watched the political and ecclesiastical weathercocks, and feathered his nest. He had been “Chaplain to Speaker Lenthall, who gave him the rich living of Witney, near Oxford, where we are told he ’preached twice every Lord’s Day, and in the evening catechised the youth in his own house; outvying in labour and vigilancy any of the godly brethren in those parts.’ In 1659 he was made one of the ‘triers,’ yet immediately after the Restoration he was rapidly promoted to a canonry at Windsor, to the Deanery of Salisbury, and finally to the Bishopric of Chichester." Though Bishop Henry King had endeavoured to restore the cathedral and the buildings of the precincts, these still were in a state of extreme dilapidation, for Bishop Brideoake’s record of his visitation shows that the towers, windows, and cloisters had not yet been repaired.

Guy Carleton (1678-1685) was a Royalist bishop of a most consistent type. On two occasions he had been turned out of a cure by the Parliamentary “triers” for his opinions; but in his eighty-second year he came from the see of Bristol to Chichester.

Another Royalist, who as a soldier had supported the cause of Charles I., occupied the see after Carleton. This was John Lake (1685-1689). He was one of those seven bishops who protested against James’s Declaration of Indulgence.

Simon Patrick (1689), Robert Grove (1691), John Williams (1696), Thomas Manningham (1709), Thomas Bowers (1722), and Edward Waddington (1724) served in the episcopate successively.

Francis Hare (1731-1740) then filled the vacancy. He wasted some of his time in useless controversy, and, as the Duke of Marlborough’s chaplain, made his office cheap, though perhaps popular, by occasionally dilating in his sermons upon the genius and military skill of his patron. He was a man of some capacity, who advised conformity to the meagre and starved ideals of the then accepted orthodoxy. Apparently he deemed this course a safe one, where there could, it appears, be little other guidance for those who still had any faith, except in the conventionalities of what had become ecclesiastical custom. He saw that the interpretation which individual opinion in its practical rejection of Christian ordinances would read into faith was likely to be no more than a new expression of early and mediaeval heresies.

Mathias Mawson (1740-1754) was bishop after Hare; and then Sir William Ashburnham (1754-1799) came to the diocese and occupied the see for forty-five years, “the longest episcopate since the foundation of the see.”

Before the close of the eighteenth century John Buckner (1799-1824) succeeded Ashburnham.

In 1824 Robert James Carr, and in 1831 Edward Maltby, were appointed to the see.

William Otter succeeded (1836-1840). During his episcopate the Diocesan Association was founded in 1838 to help the clergy and laity of the diocese to provide themselves with better schools, to increase the means of instruction and ministration, to restore or enlarge their churches and schools, and to provide new ones when they had the opportunity afforded by sufficient means. Bishop Otter and Dean Chandler succeeded in establishing a theological college in the city.

Philip N. Shuttleworth (1840-1842), Ashurst Turner Gilbert (1842-1870), and Richard Durnford (1870-1895) were succeeded by Ernest Roland Wilberforce, the present bishop, who was translated to the see from Newcastle in 1895.


Odo, 1115.
Richard, 1115.
Matthew, 1125.
Richard, 1144.
John de Greneford, 1150.
Jordan de Meleburn, 1176.
Seffride, 1178.
Matthew de Chichester, 1180.
Nicholas de Aquila, 1190.
Seffride, 1197.
Simon de Perigord, 1220.
Walter, 1230.
Thomas de Lichfield, 1232.
Geoffrey, 1250.
Walter de Glocestrin, 1256.
William de Brakelsham, 1276.
Thomas de Berghstede, 1296.
William de Grenefeld, 1302.
John de St. Leophardo, 1307.
Henry de Garland, 1332.
Walter de Segrave, 1342.
William de Lenne, 1356.
Roger de Freton, 1369.
Richard le Scrope, 1383.
William de Lullyngton, 1389-1390.
John de Maydenhith, 1400.
John Haselee, 1407.
Henry Lovel, 1410.
Richard Talbot, 1415.
William Milton, 1420.
John Patten, or Waynflete, 1425.
John Crutchere, 1429.
John Waynfleet, 1478.
John Gloos, 1481.
John Prychard, 1501.
Geoffrey Symson, 1504.
John Young (Bishop), S.T.P 1508.
William Fleshmonger, 1526.
Richard Camden, 1541.
Giles Eyre, S.T.D, 1549.
Bartholomew Traheron, S.T.P., 1551-1552.
Thomas Sampson, S.T.P., 1552-1553.
William Pye, 1553.
Hugh Turnbull, 1558.
Richard Curteis, 1566.
Anthony Rushe, 1570.
Martin Culpepper, M.D, 1577.
William Thome, 1601.
Francis Dee, 1630.
Richard Steward, 1634-1635.
Bruno Ryves, 1646.
Joseph Henshaw, 1660.
Joseph Gulston, S.T.P., 1663.
Nathaniel, Lord Crew, LL.D., 1669.
Thomas Lambrook, 1671.
George Stradling, S.T.P., 1672.
Francis Hawkins, S.T.P.,1688.
William Hayley, S.T.P., 1699.
Thomas Sherlock, 1715.
John Newey, 1727.
Thomas Hayley, D.D., 1735-1736.
James Hargraves, D.D., 1739.
William Ashburnham, Bart., 1741.
Thomas Ball, A.M., 1754.
Charles Harward, 1770.
Combe Miller, 1790.
Christopher Bethell, 1814.
Samuel Slade, 1824.
George Chandler, D.C.L., 1830.
Walter Farquhar Hook, D.D., 1859.
John William Burgon, D.D., 1875.
Francis Pigou, D.D., 1887.
Richard William Randall, D.D., 1892.


Eolla, 714.
Sigga, or Sigfrid, 733.
Aluberht, 739.
Osa, or Bosa, 765-770.
Gislehere, 780.
Totta, 785.
Wiohtun, or Peletun, 789-805.
Aethelwulf, 811-816.
Cenred, 824-838.
Gutheard, 860-862.
Bernege, or Beornegus, 909-922.
Aelfred, 931-940.
Aethelgar, 944-953.
Ordbright, 963-979.
Ealmar, 944-953.
Aethelric I., 1032-1038.
Hecca, 1047-1057.
Aethelric II, 1058-1070.
Stigand, 1070.


Amongst other interesting architectural monuments, closely connected with the cathedral or the bishops, the following may be particularly noticed:

The Bishop’s Palace has an interesting chapel, in which a small fresco of the “Virgin and Child” of an early date is still preserved. The dining-room has a panelled wooden ceiling. The painting on it was originally executed in Sherborne’s day, but it has suffered by decay and attempts at restoration since the sixteenth century.

The Vicars’ Hall is to the south-east of the cathedral.

The Canon Gate is the archway in South Street, which leads to the palace, the deanery, and other buildings connected with the cathedral.

The Market Cross was built by Bishop Storey about the year 1500.

S. Mary’s Hospital was founded about the middle of the twelfth century; but the existing building dates from the end of the thirteenth century. It maintains five aged women by a weekly allowance to each, with fuel and medical attendance free.