The South-West Prospect of the City of Chichester in the 1730s


This view, from what is now the Waitrose car park, is the ‘South-West Prospect of the City of Chichester’ by printmaker Nathanial Buck published in 1738 and comes from the British Library website. Click on image for enlarged view 

Once part of George III’s Topographical Collection which his son, George IV, gave to the nation in 1829, this print can be consulted today in the British Library (Cartographic Items Maps K Top. 42.19.c).

Working from the west side of the image eastwards, the viewer (you are probably on top of the multi-story car park by the railway station) can make out Ede’s House, the roofs of property in West Street , the Bishop’s Palace and its adjoining gardens with the Bell Tower behind, the cathedral building, parts of which are decidedly dilapidated, properties on the site of 4, Canon Lane, and The Deanery. The spire of All Saints in the East Pallant (which does not exist today) and the top of the Market Cross can also be made out.
The city walls flank the Bishop’s gardens and a series of water courses fill the foreground, now the Prebendal.

Numbered references in the picture:

3              The Bishops Palace
4              The Cathedral
5              The Market Cross
6              The Deanery

Not shown are:

1              London Road on Rook’s hill
2              The Brill or broil
7              All Saints Church in the Pallant

The text at the bottom of the print reads:

This City was built by and derives its name from Cissa a Saxon King about the year 520, but the several Pavements, Medals, and other Roman Antiquities of late discovered in it plainly prove that it was once a Roman Station.

Till the Norman Conquest it was of no great note; but in the reign of William I it began to flourish, the Episcopal See being then brought hither from Selsey. Not long after, Bishop Ralph built a Cathedral Church here which was casually burnt down before it was fully finished, but by his Endeavours and the liberality of Henry I it was soon rebuilt, as it was afterwards by Bishop Seffrid the 2nd upon a like conflagration.

The Church is not remarkably large, but neat, especially the Quire; the Spire is very high and reckoned as elegant as any in England. It has belonging to it besides the Bishop a Dean, Chaunter, Chancellor, Treasurer, 2 Archdeacons, 4 Canon Residentiaries, about 26 Prebendaries, 4 Vicars General, several Lay Vicars, Choristers and many others.

The City is situated too much upon a flatt for a very advantageous Prospect to be taken of it; it is walled about in a Circular form and washed on every Side, except the North, with the little river Lavant. The 4 Gates of the City open to the four quarters of the World, from whence the 4 principal streets (spacious and regular) take their names and meet almost at a common Centre where there is a stone Piazza (or Cross) built by Bishop Story, very commodious and much admired for the beauty of its Architecture. In the North Street is a very handsome and convenient Council House, with a Market House under it, lately built by Subscription, under the more immediate Direction and Encouragement of his Grace the Duke of Richmond.

The chief Traffick of the City is in Corn and Cattle; for both which the Markets here are as considerable as most in the Kingdom. It is well supplied with provisions of all sorts, particularly Shell fish, lobsters, Prawns, and Crabbs; being in the utmost perfection here in the proper Season.

The City within and without the Walls contains 7 Parishes; is governed by a Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen and a Common Council and sends 2 Members to Parliament. The present are The Honourable James Brudenell Esq and Thomas Yates Esquire.

Samuel and Nathaniel Buck delin et sculp According to Act of Parliament 1738