Category Archives: Local history

A general heading to categorise posts dealing with such a topic

Chichester during Civil War 1642-1646 – Flow chart and references

The Society has published Heritage Trail No.6 Chichester during the English Civil War available for download here. It describes the beginnings of the  Civil War and in particular the impact it had on Chichester and the roles played by these individuals.  Four of the main buildings and locations involved in this event are cited and form a trail that can be followed from the North to the East and finally to the South finishing at the Cathedral.

 Physical copies of the leaflet and all previous trails are available from Chichester Library, The Tourist Information Centre at the Novium, West Sussex Record Office and The Council House (City Council offices) in North Street. For details of all  Heritage Trail leaflets see here or go the dedicated Trails website

The information provided here supplements that in the Trail leaflet.
It comprises:
  • a flow chart of the main events in the form of a timeline (see below) which can be printed off (click the image) or downloaded as a pdf for offline reference when walking the Trail
  • additional information (below the flow chart) about the personalities and events  including links to other posts and sources – these will be added to where relevant.

Further information about Heritage Trail leaflets can be found here and on a separate website where there is detailed information whole project.

If you have any comments concerning this post please use the contact form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSONALITIES
Henry Chitty
Little seems to be known about Henry Chitty despite the important local role he played in the Civil War. Some information about his personal background was found in a genealogical study on the Chitty name here.

Henry Chitty – Roundhead in the Civil War in Chichester

Henry Chitty (sometimes spelt Chittey) was the captain of the local militia, known as the trained band at the time of the Civil War. He was central in the defense of the City in 1642 as described in our Heritage Trail Leaflet No.6.

A Puritan Roundhead

Little other information is known about him except for some personal details from a genealogical study of the Chitty Name from which the following is culled with thanks.

Henry’s father was Richard Chitty, the second son Henry Chitty a mercer Richard migrated to Chichester where he set up as a weaver. He was aged ‘four score and three years’ when he made his will in 1635, and it was proved 1637. Besides his own house he left one in Godalming, but his will names only his wife and daughters and their children. (He seems to have had two married daughters named Martha, among others). The baptism of only one of his children has been discovered (dated 1577) and if he had a surviving son it is odd that no such man appears as beneficiary, witness, executor or overseer; yet it is tempting to suppose that Richard was the father of the Roundhead Henry Chitty.

This Henry Chitty of Chichester married at New Shoreham in 1605. In 1614 he was named as ‘late servant’ (probably meaning apprentice) in the will of Alderman William Holland of Chichester. By 1623, Henry was himself an Alderman and was engaged in a lawsuit regarding property which he had bought in Canterbury.

In 1628 he and one of his daughters were named in the will of Alderman Augustine Hitchcocke of Chichester, and in 1632 Henry was sessor in goods and Mayor of Chichester, and took a lease of the Dolphin Inn, which he sold in 1637 (perhaps he was too busy and too prosperous for Richard to trouble him with duties or leave him a share in his own, smaller, estate). He appears as a J.P. in the West Sussex Protestation Returns in 1641/2, and was Captain of Train Bands in Chichester in 1642. Next year he was captain of a Company of Foot in the Parliamentary interest in Portsmouth Garrison. In 1614 he was described as a merchant, but his precise trade is not known. His will (1644/5) names only daughters and his property included his dwelling in West Street near the High Cross, and leases at Bosham and North Vallence* .

*could this be North Pallant?

Out soon – Trail 6: Chichester during the Civil War 1642-1646

Many wealthy royalists lived in Chichester, or at least had homes in the city, including Sir John Morley, Sir Thomas Boyer and Christopher Lewknor. Opposing them were Henry Chitty, the captain of the local militia, known as the trained band, and the MP for Midhurst, William Cawley.

This leaflet describes the beginnings of the English Civil War and in particular the impact it had on Chichester and the roles played by these individuals.  Four of the main buildings and locations involved in this event are cited and form a trail that can be followed from the North to the East and finally to the South finishing at the Cathedral.

Availability will be advertised here and on Twitter in due course.

For further information about the Trails project visit the dedicated Trail website here

Halsteds the Ironmongers – Chi’s long-forgotten industrial history — home copy

The business was founded in the 1840s  by Charles Townsend Halsted, one of 3 sons of Charles Halsted, and the principal driving force behind developing the business. It traded through a shop in East Street (Nos 80 and later 81/82)and subsequently established first a brass foundry at 20 North Pallant and later a larger main iron works in the garden of 1 North Pallant as shown in the map below. (Click to enlarge).

Charles Townsend Halsted died in 1891. The following is an extract from the records of the Probate Service‘HALSTED Charles Townsend of Chichester esquire died 25 December 1891. Probate London 14 March (1892) to Maria Halsted widow Sir Robert George Raper knight James Lainson Gauntlett gentleman and Charles Edward Halsted esquire. Effects £60758 13s. 1d. resworn January 1893 £61425 13s. 7d.’

In 2016 , his estate would be worth  £6,010,000.00 using the retail price index (Source – Measuring Worth) – clearly he was a successful businessman of the time.

The following concept map provides an overview of the history of Halsted & Sons’ ironmongery and foundry business in Chichester  (click it for clearer view).

More detailed information concerning the sons and the business itself can be found by using the numbered links below the map.  Below are some additional images.

(1) Charles Townsend Halsted   Source – The Halsted Trust
(2) Henry Halsted    Source – The Halsted Trust
(3) John Halsted  Source – The Halsted Trust
(4a) Halsted’s the Ironmongers  (An overview) Source – Pat Saunders , The Novium
(4b) Halsted and Sons of Chichester (Detailed article) Source – Alan H J Green, Sussex Industrial History no 35, 2005
(5) The Great Exhibition Source – Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History

The 1851 Great Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsted small kitchen range Amberley Working Museum ex Grace’s guide

 

 

Nos 1 & 1A North Pallant both once owned by the Halsteds
Blue plaque at 1A North Pallant next to passageway to Halsted’s works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsted shop 81-82 East Street (Copyright of the Novium ( a service provided by Chichester District Council). All rights reserved)

 

 

81-82 East Street with the Halsted Key Emblem above the first floor (picture taken July 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsted key emblem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsteds the Ironmongers – Chi’s long-forgotten industrial history

The business was founded in the 1840s  by Charles Townsend Halsted, one of 3 sons of Charles Halsted, and the principal driving force behind developing the business. It traded through a shop in East Street (Nos 80 and later 81/82)and subsequently established first a brass foundry at 20 North Pallant and later a larger main iron works in the garden of 1 North Pallant as shown in the map below. (Click to enlarge).

Charles Townsend Halsted died in 1891. The following is an extract from the records of the Probate Service‘HALSTED Charles Townsend of Chichester esquire died 25 December 1891. Probate London 14 March (1892) to Maria Halsted widow Sir Robert George Raper knight James Lainson Gauntlett gentleman and Charles Edward Halsted esquire. Effects £60758 13s. 1d. resworn January 1893 £61425 13s. 7d.’

In 2016 , his estate would be worth  £6,010,000.00 using the retail price index (Source – Measuring Worth) – clearly he was a successful businessman of the time.

The following concept map provides an overview of the history of Halsted & Sons’ ironmongery and foundry business in Chichester  (click it for clearer view).

More detailed information concerning the sons and the business itself can be found by using the numbered links below the map.  Below are some additional images.

(1) Charles Townsend Halsted   Source – The Halsted Trust
(2) Henry Halsted    Source – The Halsted Trust
(3) John Halsted  Source – The Halsted Trust
(4a) Halsted’s the Ironmongers  (An overview) Source – Pat Saunders , The Novium
(4b) Halsted and Sons of Chichester (Detailed article) Source – Alan H J Green, Sussex Industrial History no 35, 2005
(5) The Great Exhibition Source – Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History

The 1851 Great Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsted small kitchen range Amberley Working Museum ex Grace’s guide

 

 

Nos 1 & 1A North Pallant both once owned by the Halsteds
Blue plaque at 1A North Pallant next to passageway to Halsted’s works

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsted shop 81-82 East Street (Copyright of the Novium ( a service provided by Chichester District Council). All rights reserved)

 

 

81-82 East Street with the Halsted Key Emblem above the first floor (picture taken July 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halsted key emblem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A D-Day secret?

Ken Rimell relates a disturbing story of what we might have deployed if the invasion faltered

This story emerged several years ago from a reliable source. It seemed at the time that the end result would have been catastrophic to say the least, had it taken place, but my source was adamant that it was true.

The planning for D-Day in 1944 took many avenues for it to succeed, the allies had taken almost everything into consideration for its ultimate result, but for two major factors, the weather and the throwing back of the allies into the waters of the Normandy beaches, and operation Overlord grinding to a halt with a massive loss life. The story came out during a reunion of Hawker Typhoon pilots in the late 1980’s when one of the pilots, a former Wing Commander, mentioned there was an ‘alternative’ solution had the day fared badly for the liberating forces. Typical of these reunions it was after a few drinks that these pilots could recall those days sharing them in the knowledge it was with fellow airmen in a convivial atmosphere, but this story has a certain credibility, and not a line shoot.

Typhoons at RAF Selsey 1943

Operation Overlord was the name given to the beginning of the liberation of France, with landings all along the Normandy Coastline by the allied forces, the strategic planning, carried out at two major locations here in the south with Southwark House, just north of Fareham, dealing with the ground forces attack while a few miles away in Chichester at what was once Bishop Otter College, the airborne assault was directed. This location was ideal for there were so many airfields in the area, nine at one point, packed with fighters and fighter bombers. During the run up to D-Day and from mid 1943 ALG’s were built (Advanced Landing Grounds) in the area, where runways were made of a special metal sheeting known as either bar and rod or summerfelt tracking. These were capable of coping with the weight of such aircraft as Typhoons, Spitfires, Mustangs . The panels were easily put into place, pinned with spikes and supported with the rapid growth of grass passing through the metal holes, thus holding the runways firmly in place. This story will deal with the Hawker Typhoon and the squadrons in our area operating from some of these makeshift landing grounds at the crucial time of war.

Villages such as Apuldram, Funtington, Selsey, Westhampnett and Bognor, were soon home to the airfields that housed these squadrons adding to the list of the more permanent airfields such as Tangmere, Ford, Thorney Island, Merston, that were already well established. Operating from the south coast region meant the Typhoons flying time over enemy territory would be greatly extended, and even further with the addition of extra fuel tanks that could be jettisoned should the need arise. It was these extra fuel tanks, teardrop in shape, that was to cause a major concern at one of the airfields here in the south.

It was in the winter of 1943/44 that a large deep pit was dug at one of these airfields and cordoned off. Speculation that the hole was to be an Emergency Water Supply, were soon dispelled when a fleet of RAF lorries complete with a large RAF guard appeared early one evening and ushered any peeking eyes well away. One eyewitness, who had escaped the security order noted a huge number of these fuel tanks were strapped to the lorries cargo area. In the ensuing hours and well into the dark the job of offloading this cargo went on and lowering gently into the pit. By morning the hole and its cargo was covered by earth, but still cordoned off. According to the story these drop tanks didn’t contain fuel but were filled with the deadly mustard gas, a safeguard should the allied landings show signs of failing and an order directly from the War Office to drop them on the enemy was tasked to one Typhoon squadron.

Drop tanks on Typhoon

To a degree I overlooked the matter for several years but at a following reunion some time later my informant hove into view, the intervening years had seen the onset of what looked like dementia, so my appeal for more information, from this now elderly gentleman on this extraordinary claim was met with a blank expression, or was it that he didn’t want to elaborate further? While the story is quite feasible I wanted to know which airfield here in the south housed that deadly cargo and was it ever recovered after the war, but my question was unanswered and the mystery remained.

Driving past the former airfield at Merston in the late 1980’s I spotted a team of military personnel in the centre with heavy plant and machinery. I wandered over to see what was happening and found it was an army bomb disposal unit tasked with removing wartime pipe mines on the runway intersections. These mines were buried so that in the event of an invasion the runways could be blown up and prevent their use by an enemy force. The commander in charge told me that they were making sure that the Canadian forces, tasked with the job in 1946, had in fact done the clearing properly. Not knowing which airfield held that deadly gas pile I mentioned this to the army commander and after setting off charges to destroy several long sticks of pipe mines that had been overlooked in 1946, they went off in search of this noxious and deadly substance, but nothing was found. The same applied when pipe mines were dealt with at airfields at Tangmere, Thorney Island and Ford leaving other airfields, such as the ALG’s, that didn’t have pipe mines to be not searched by the army bomb disposal teams that may still house this terrible weapon.

To me this story has a certain credibility, with such few people being involved with its possible application at government level it could be true, on the other hand it could be a good story dreamt up by a retired RAF Officer to fuel the ever expanding myth about special wartime activities, a sort of James Bond. But the look in his eyes when telling the story, and in some detail, there was a ring of truth in what he was saying. The fuel drop tanks fitted to fighter and fighter bomber aircraft at the time were made of either light metal or, to save vital metal, of papier mâché, a glue impregnated paper. How they were prepared for storage underground at this mystery location is       unknown, whether they were removed as secretly as they arrived and destroyed after the war is also unknown, leaving speculation that they might even be still lurking deep in a Sussex field. Thankfully they were never used in anger and the allies secured a foothold in France and on to victory, but the thought of their use sends a shiver down my spine at the outcome had push come to shove, more so if they are still evident somewhere in a Sussex field!

This article originally appeared in Sussex Views May 2017 and is reproduced with the kind permission of the author.