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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Chidester family come from? What is the English Chidester family crest and coat of arms? When did the Chidester family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Chidester family history?

Chidester is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chidester family lived in the city of Chichester in Sussex.

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Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Chichester, Chister, Chichestere, Chichister and others.

First found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Raleigh in that shire. Conjecturally, the family name is descended from the holder of the lands of Raleigh at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book survey, a census initiated by Duke William of Normandy in 1086 after his conquest of England at Hastings in 1066 A.D. One of the first records of the name was Hilary of Chichester (c.11101169), a medieval Bishop of Chichester. Richard of Chichester (11971253), also known as Richard de Wych, is an English saint (canonized 1262) and former Bishop of Chichester; his translated saint's day of 16 June has been celebrated as Sussex Day since 2007.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chidester research. Another 291 words(21 lines of text) covering the years 1369, 1519, 1569, 1550, 1547, 1563, 1625, 1605, 1616, 1598, 1669, 1624, 1623, 1667, 1661, 1667, 1568, 1648, 1624, 1613, 1606 and 1675 are included under the topic Early Chidester History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 187 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chidester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Chidester family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 239 words(17 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Chidester or a variant listed above: James Chichester who settled in Massachusetts in 1635; Edward Chichester settled in Nevis in 1670; William Chichester settled in Virginia in 1652; J.W. Chichester settled in San Francisco Cal. in 1850..

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Firm en foi
Motto Translation: Firm in faith.

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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  4. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  5. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  8. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Chidester Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Chidester Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 September 2013 at 18:35.

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