Chichest History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Chichest is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chichest family lived in the city and market-town of Chichester in the hundred of Box and Stockbridge, rape of Chichester.
"This city, which is of very remote antiquity, derives the latter part of its name from its having been a Roman station, supposed to be Regnum; and the former part, from its subsequent occupation by Cissa, about the close of the fifth century. About the year 47, Flavius Vespasian, who took possession of this portion of Britain, made the place his head-quarters, and threw up an intrenchment three miles in extent, some traces of which are still apparent. Chichester was of considerable importance; but it suffered greatly from the Danes; and, at the time of the Conquest, had declined so much, that it had scarcely a hundred houses within the walls." 
Early Origins of the Chichest family
The surname Chichest was 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.
"Eggesford [in Devon] passed by female heirs to the Coplestones and Chichesters; and Lord Chichester rebuilt the manor-house in the reign of James I. This was one of the mansions garrisoned for the King in the subsequent reign, but it was captured by Colonel Okey in December, 1645. From the Chichesters the manor came to the St. Legers" 
One of the first records of the name was Hilary of Chichester (c.1110-1169), a medieval Bishop of Chichester.
About the same time, Robert Chichester (d. 1156), was Bishop of Exeter, "described without any satisfactory reason as a native of Devonshire, was Dean of Salisbury when in April 1138 he was elected Bishop of Exeter." 
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), 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.
Early History of the Chichest family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chichest research. Another 146 words (10 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 Chichest History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Chichest Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Chichest are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Chichest include Chichester, Chister, Chichestere, Chichister and others.
Early Notables of the Chichest family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Chichester (1519-1569) English gentry from Devon, a naval captain and ardent Protestant who served as Sheriff of Devon in 1550, Knight of the Shire for Devon in 1547; and his son, Sir Arthur Chichester, 1st Baron Chichester (1563-1625), an English administrator and...
Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chichest Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chichest family to Ireland
Some of the Chichest family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 157 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Chichest family
Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Chichest, 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..
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.
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print