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?