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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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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The surname Chidester 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. One of the first records of the name was Hilary of Chichester (c.1110-1169), a medieval Bishop of Chichester. 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.

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.


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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. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  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 20 April 2016 at 12:46.

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