Show ContentsChichestre History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Chichestre came to England with the ancestors of the Chichestre family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Chichestre 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 Chichestre family

The surname Chichestre 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 Chichestre family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chichestre research. Another 146 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1369, 1519, 1547, 1550, 1563, 1568, 1569, 1598, 1605, 1606, 1613, 1616, 1623, 1624, 1625, 1648, 1661, 1667, 1669, 1675, 1795 and 1823 are included under the topic Early Chichestre History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chichestre Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Chichester, Chister, Chichestere, Chichister and others.

Early Notables of the Chichestre family

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 Chichestre Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Chichestre family to Ireland

Some of the Chichestre 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 Chichestre family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Chichestre 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 Chichestre 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 on Facebook