Trail 5 – Inns, Pubs and Hotels
Chichester’s earliest inns can be traced back to mediaeval times when they catered for pilgrims visiting the shrine of St Richard in the cathedral. Over time they came to serve all types of travellers, who needed rest and food after travelling along the notoriously bad Sussex roads. By the middle of the seventeenth century there were seven inns in Chichester, as well as 50 alehouses, taverns, and other premises that sold drink. Given the population was only 2,000 people at the time, of whom over half were women and children, it can be seen that Chichester was a boozy city. The naturalist, W.H.Hudson, was horrified to find ‘drink-degraded wretches’ sprawling on the street corners in sight of the cathedral spire – a sight that appalled him.
Sadly, the city has seen many of its hostelries close in recent years and this trail includes some of these. The Swan, The Royal Arms, and The Fleece, are three prominent inns that have closed in East Street alone. Fortunately, many others still survive, including, The Fountain, The Hole-in-the Wall, and The Old Cross. Today there are only a dozen public houses in the city centre and no inns. Many of the city’s old inns have been converted into restaurants or private accommodation. This trail includes both former as well as current pubs and inns. Download it here.
For details of other trails and where to obtain the leaflets see here.