Show ContentsChichester History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Chichester reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chichester 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." [1]

Early Origins of the Chichester family

The surname Chichester 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" [2]

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." [3]

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 Chichester family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chichester 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 Chichester History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chichester Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Chichester family name include Chichester, Chister, Chichestere, Chichister and others.

Early Notables of the Chichester 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 Chichester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chichester Ranking

In the United States, the name Chichester is the 14,953rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Chichester family to Ireland

Some of the Chichester 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.

United States Chichester migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Chichester family to immigrate North America:

Chichester Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Chichester who settled in Massachusetts in 1635
  • William Chichester, who landed in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1648 [5]
  • James Chichester, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1651 [5]
  • William Chichester, who arrived in Virginia in 1652 [5]
  • William Chichester, who settled in Virginia in 1652
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Chichester Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Chichester, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [5]
Chichester Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • J. W. Chichester settled in San Francisco, California in 1850

Contemporary Notables of the name Chichester (post 1700) +

  • Sir Edward Chichester (1849-1906), English Royal Navy Rear Admiral, succeeded to the title of 9th Baronet Chichester, of Raleigh, co. Devon on 13 July 1898, Companion of the Orders of St. Michael and St. George, and Aide-de-Camp to HM Queen Victoria and HM Edward VII (1899-1902)
  • Sir Edward George Chichester (1888-1940), 10th Baronet
  • Sir Arthur Chichester (1822-1898), 8th Baronet
  • Sir Arthur Chichester (1790-1842), 7th Baronet
  • Sir John Chichester (1752-1808), 6th Baronet
  • Sir John Chichester (1721-1784), 5th Baronet
  • Sir Edward John Chichester (1916-2007), llth Baronet, formerly Captain, Royal Scots Fusiliers and Lieutenant RNVR, residing in Hants
  • Sir Francis Charles Chichester KBE (1901-1972), British adventurer, who completed an around-the-world solo trip in his yacht in 1967
  • Chichester Skeffington (d. 1816), 6th Earl of Massereene, 8th Viscount Massereene, British peer
  • Lieutenant Colonel Chichester de Windt Crookshank (1868-1958), Unionist Member of Parliament

The Chichester Motto +

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.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook