Roman Chichester grew up behind its defensive city walls. In Anglo-Saxon times both the walls and the city fell into ruin until it was again refortified in the days of Alfred the Great as part of a defensive strategy to resist Viking incursions into southern England.
Over the next nine hundred years the city remained confined within its trusty walls. Small suburbs developed outside the walls by the seventeenth century at Westgate and outside the East Gate at St. Pancras. But it was only in the later eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that Chichester truly expanded beyond its ancient alignment.
As recently as 1970 it was possible to approach the city walls from the south-west across fields and meadows.