The Fountain at 29 Southgate is probably Chichester’s oldest surviving pub, dating back to the late eighteenth century. It abutted the south gate of the city as shown by a missing length of cornice. Apart from a brief interruption in the 1980s, when it was renamed, the Cathedral Tavern, it has always been known as the Fountain.
What was described as a ‘gargantuan meal’ was eaten here in 1807 by a soldier looking to win a bet. George Neal was the landlord here in the 1830s. His daughter, Sarah, married Joseph Wells, the Kent county cricketer. Their son found fame as the novelist, H.G.Wells. The old game of Singlesticks or Back-sword was played here. One worthy winner was known as the ‘Muff of Lavant.’
On 12 November 1873 licensed victualler of the Inn, Sampson Willcocks was declared bankrupt in Lloyds list. A special license was granted to George Smith for the Fountain, as trustee under the bankruptcy of Sampson, and temporary authority was given to George Griffiths to carry on the house till next transfer day when the license was to be transferred to him.
It seemed to be the favoured venue for meetings of Post Office staff – the Amalgamated Society of telephone employees (Chichester Branch) held a ‘smoking’ concert in 1914 while the Engineering Staff (Post Office Telephones) enjoyed one 1915. Those in 1914 enjoyed a programme of songs such as ‘Tis the Navy’, ‘Handy Man’, Madam La Sharta’ and ‘O’er the green fields’ with an interlude where Mr Reed-Ford performed his sleight of hand tricks and card manipulation. It was also noted that Mr Cole’s Tango dance was very amusing! In 1915 a collection was initiated limited to 1d to provide matches for wounded soldiers – it realized 4s (about £50 in 2020).
The Fountain Inn is privately owned but is leased to Hall and Woodhouse for a period of 49 years from 1997. The Fountain Inn including the buildings adjoining the Inn to the West were Grade II listed in 1971.
1581 is the earliest documentary evidence of the existence of the King’s Head.
An ale house was on this site (50 South Street) from about 1599. It was in around 1740 that the Tudor façade was added to the Tudor building. Legend claims that a tunnel once ran from the King’s Head to the Cathedral, so that choristers could enjoy a covert pint of ale. The clockmaker, Henry Fogden, was landlord from 1804 until after 1840.
A gruesome event occurred in 1889 when a man named John Dyer purchased some rat poison from a nearby chemist and subsequently entered the King’s Head to consume the potion mixed with some beer in an attempted suicide. Becoming violently sick he was taken to infirmary where he recovered. Appearing at the City Bench later he was let off with a warning of the serious nature of his offence – one ‘against the laws of both God and Man’.
In 1891 publican Frederick Tilling was convicted for ‘selling gin not of the nature, substance and quality demanded by the purchaser’ it being 40.3 degrees under proof having been examined by the public analyst. It consisted of two parts gin of the lowest legal strength and ten parts of added water. A notice stating ‘All sprits sold in this establishment are diluted’ had been displayed at times but ‘it was possible that while dusting the place the notice might have fallen behind the glasses on the shelf’ said Tilling. Tilling was fined £2 and 13s costs, the alternative being fourteen days’ imprisonment.
Mrs Raynor, landlady in 1898, was the innocent party in an attempt by Ann Sharp, employed at the King’s Head, to obtain a sum of 10s from Mrs Turner, the owner of a neighbouring shop Turner and Son. The girl had sent a note to Mrs Turner, via a lad James Munro who also worked at the Inn, stating ‘With Mrs Rayner’s complements. Would you mind lending me half a sovereign’s worth of change until Mr Raynor gets up and gets some, and then I will send it back over to you’. Suspicions arose when Mrs Raynor received a request that evening for repayment of 10s and it was discovered that Ann now possessed a new pair of shoes. On further questioning Ann admitted the offence and was committed for trial with bail being accepted for £20 and two sureties of £10 each.
Friary Meux was revived by Allied in 1979 as a brand name for its public houses, but disappeared after Allied’s pubs were sold to Punch Taverns in 1999.
The King’s Head was the venue for several bodies, one being the ‘Falstaff’ Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. A policemen’s dinner (not ball!) was held for over 200 guests in 1904. Landlord Styles ran a welding business in the 1930s on the site which continued under new ownership after his death. Mrs Mary Harriet Drury died aged 77 in 1936 having had the licence at the inn for nearly 30 years.
The ancient name of the pub was changed in 1994 to the Hog’s Head. Green King purchased the property in 2006 and it subsequently become Trent’s bar-restaurant providing accommodation, so, in a sense, it has become an inn!
On the East side at 61 South Street you will find Prezzo’s, once The White Horse. This former inn dates back to at least 1533, having been mentioned then at an inquest to a local murder. However, it appears to have existed earlier as Ye Olde White House built in 1416 as the Chichester Law Courts.
The building was re-fronted in the eighteenth century, although the original Tudor timber-framed jetty can still be seen at the back of the building when viewed from West Pallant. A jetty is a building technique used in medieval timber-frame buildings in which an upper floor projects beyond the dimensions of the floor below. This has the advantage of increasing the available space in the building without obstructing the street.
You can still see the White Horse stained glass window and the original ornate eighteenth century wrought-iron bracket from which hangs a carved bunch of grapes which indicated the holding of a wine licence in the past.
The White Horse sign indicates patronage relating to the Duke of Norfolk a powerful landowner in the region.
Various masonic lodges, tradesmen’s societies and clubs met here and held their annual dinners, often with the Duke of Richmond in attendance. Such organisations included the Chichester and District Cyclist’s Club (who organised a ‘smoking’ concert in 1890), the Chichester Postmen, the Motor Cycling Club, the British Legion and the Priory Park Cricket Club.
The penalty for selling intoxicating liquor during prohibited hours could lead to loss of licence. Robert Fraser, the licensee in 1925 was able to avoid conviction for serving around 11 pm, thanks in part to the to the threat of the brewers to serve notice to quit themselves if he was found guilty, he being a highly satisfactory tenant. He was let off with payment of costs £4 8s and fines of 4s to two others who aided and abetted.
The White Horse Inn was purchased freehold by Benja Properites Ltd in 2015 and became a restaurant when leased to Prezzo for a period of 30 years from 2005.
Opposite the NatWest bank are Nos. 92 and 93, formerly a spacious Elizabethan timber framed dwelling called Scarborough House where it is said John Lord Lumley entertained Queen Elizabeth in August 1591.
He was succeeded in 1609 by his kinsman Sir Richard Lumley, created Lord Lumley of Waterford in 1628, and he by his grandson Richard, created Earl of Scarbrough in 1690. The house seems to have passed to James, seventh son of the earl, in 1721 and on his death, unmarried, to his nephew George Montague, Earl of Halifax. Mr. Weller is described as proprietor in 1750, hinting at the creation of the drinking establishment at No. 92 (1).
John Hudson, who was recorded as an Inn Keeper in the Subdeanry of Chichester in 1830, and as an Inn Keeper at the Dolphin in 1832, was proprietor by 1840 at 92 East Street. That year Queen Victoria appointed him by Royal Warrant ‘to the place of manufacture of milk punch to her Majesty’. King Edward VII also imbibed whilst staying at Goodwood House. Its ingredients included milk, lemon juice, sugar, and rum brewed for two years and was originally made by one Parker in the early part of that century. Such was the drink’s fame that the establishment soon became referred to as ‘Old Royal Punch House’ or simply the Punch House.
John Tapps was a wine merchant in East Street in 1851 and in 1861 was recorded additionally as the licensed victualler at the Royal Arms. That year George Adames, a commercial clerk, was also a wine merchant in East Street. By 1881 the wine merchant business was being run by the sons Thomas and Frederick as Adames Brothers following George’s death. By 1899 the brothers had split with Frederick continuing at No 92 and Thomas taking over as wine and spirit merchant at the Anchor.
The Australian wine was said to be equal in flavour and strength to good port and could be tested by ‘sampling’. Yatara is in a region of South Australia famous for wine production. There is a record of a Mr David Shannon’s farm there in 1863 having some acreage planted with vines for some years. The first wine export to the United Kingdom to be formally recorded was in 1854 – 1,384 gallons (6,291 litres). The Australian wine industry was developed largely with the help of German immigrants skilled in winemaking.
In 1916 there is a reminder of the ‘lock down’ restrictions imposed during the Covid 19 pandemic when only takeaways were allowed. The Liquor Control Board restrictions of the time forced Messrs G S Constable to only permit the supply of beers, wines and spirits which had been previously ordered and paid for at their premises – which included the ‘Old Royal Milk Punch House’.
Extensive alterations and improvements were made to the Punch House by Constable around 1926 including the creation of a ‘cosy Tudor lounge and bar’, the work often revealing treasures from the past such as a Tudor wine vault (empty!), remains of an ancient square tower probably with views to the harbour and a lower part of the brickwork appearing to be Roman.
The Punch House formed a Tontine club in 1928 but added a feature – the Cork Club whereby each new member received a cork which they must always carry in their possession. Failure to produce it if challenged by a fellow member resulted in a small fine. The money thus collected was intended to be dividend among the members and added to their funds at the annual ‘share-out’. This was a baby offshoot of the ‘Frothblowers’ movement!
In 1933 it was noted that ‘our City seems to be the haunt of film stars, actors and actresses’. Gordon Walker, ‘an idol of Chichester cinema audiences’ chose The Royal Arms as his favourite rendezvous while Gracie Fields and George Graves used the Unicorn hotel for rest and refreshment.
All owners of goods vehicles were invited to attend a meeting in March 1939 to discuss the forming of ‘groups’ under the Ministry of Transport Scheme for the organisation and control of road transport in time of war. At the end of May, particulars of 441,770 vehicles were registered in traffic area offices, estimated to represent 89 per cent. of all the goods vehicles in the country.
With the 2nd world war over, meetings could be of a more domestic nature as exemplified by the AGM of the Chichester and District Domestic Poultry Keepers’ and Rabbit Club in 1949 when it was noted that any applications for a bran allocation for the rabbits should be made to the recently appointed Club Secretary.
The pub closed in 2006 following a serious fire. Fortunately, the exquisite Tudor moulded ceilings survived the blaze, although they are now hidden underneath a suspended ceiling in the current shop. The building was listed Grade II in 1971.
The building at 5-6 East Street occupied by the National Westminster Bank was completed in 1900 for the London and County Banking Company and was designed in a late period of Gothic with oriel windows. Earlier it was the site of the Swan Inn recorded to go back to 1513 making it one of the oldest inns in Chichester.
In the seventeenth century it vied with The Dolphin as the ‘top’ inn having in 1638 named bedchambers such as Fox, Lion, Rose, Bell, Angel, Green and Spread Eagle, likely to be decorated with appropriate motifs. – such titling indicative of superiority.
In April 1628 It is likely that Lionel Cranfield, The Earl of Middlesex and ex-Lord Treasurer of England and owner of the Wiston Estate stayed overnight where Edward Salloway or his father Thomas might have been his host. Supper was meat, fowl and fish with apple tart for dessert – charged for eating in a private room (6p for a fire and a bill of £8 2s for the stay).
Innkeepers were not averse to cheating. Mr. Salloway, innkeeper and merchant of the Swan, was not selling his hay ‘by the bottle’ in 1627 and the Swan was fined in 1659 for selling overpriced beer and ‘not bottleing their haye’. This latter is thought to refer to storing hay in standard bundles or in bottles to prevent cheating.
One innkeeping John Askewe ‘feloniously’ hanged himself in the ‘faggottre chamber’ of the Inn in 1577, possibly due to indebtedness despite his goods and chattels being worth £22 0s 6d (over £6,000 today).
The Swan, also known as the Royal Swan, was the hub of life in eighteenth and nineteenth century Chichester. Dr Samuel Johnson stayed here and the fiery Radical, William Cobbett gave lectures here. It was rebuilt in 1819 after a disastrous fire. In 1832, the inn boasted hot and cold baths, good stabling, lock-up coach houses, post horses, chaises and every convenience for the traveller.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed here overnight when journeying to Portsmouth for the crossing to their house at Osborne on the Isle of Wight. The royal couple came out onto the balcony to acknowledge the cheers of the crowds. The Swan was also used for meetings of the Mayor and Corporation when it was too cold to meet in the Guildhall in Priory Park. The Inn closed sometime after 1845.
(1) The painting of the Swan dated 1715 is reproduced with permission of the Pallant House Gallery. Description of the Swan Inn sign: A large and elaborate wrought iron sign bracket reaches a third of the way across the street. From it hangs a large sign, dominating the scene; it supports a picture of a white swan, standing against a sunset with wings outstretched and neck curved. Suspended from the arched end of the bracket is a carved wooden representation of Bacchus, the god of wine, astride a wine barrel with four bunches of grapes swinging below, the whole gilded; it indicated that good wine and a high standard of service was available within.
The genesis of the Cattle Market Inn at 13 Eastgate Square was the formation around 1869 of a road leading down to the new Cattle Market the creation of which had been approved by Parliament in June 1868.
The Devonshire Inn beer house run by James Stevens for many years was situated at the corner of Snag Lane (or Sway in 1868 paper) and at the entrance of the new road (now Market Road). He argued that it was in an ideal position to service the needs of customers if it was granted a spirit licence, many of whom had signed a ‘memorial’ in support of his application. Despite objections from neighbouring establishments the application was granted in August 1869 and the name of the beer house was changed to the Cattle Market Inn shortly thereafter.
Of later licensees one Henry Jacobs was recorded in the 1881 census as also trading as a bookbinder. The snowy scene of the Inn was taken in 1881. In 1888 it was the venue for a ‘smoking concert’ attended by forty or fifty of the ‘weed fraternity’ enjoying songs sung to an accompanying. At this time it was the meeting place for the “Pride of Sussex’ Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. The RAOB is one of the largest fraternal organisations in the United Kingdom believed to have been founded by stagehands and theatre technicians in 1882 at the Harp Tavern near Drury Lane.
The public bar sems to have been unsuitably positioned as it occasionally suffered damage by vehicles negotiating Eastgate. In 1942 the public bar was struck by a Service lorry creating a ‘blitzed’ appearance while in 1943 a case was brought against an RAF officer whose car collided with a 50 cwt lorry which mounted the path and took out the window and surrounding masonry. In the event the lorry driver was found at fault in the subsequent County Court case.
The inn was sold for retail use in 1988. The freehold, like The Bull, is held by Cassamo Holdings Ltd based in the Isle of Man and was leased to Turners Pies in 2016.
The Bull Inn located at 4-5 Market Road was a Free house that closed in 2015.
Carpenter Samuel Wren was the publican in 1881 when the road was called Snag Lane. This name may come from the Sussex dialect word ‘snag’ meaning snail.
In 1896 the inn was the location for an inquest on the Lord Bishop of Chichester’s butler William Cramp who lived at 4 Market Road with his wife Mary Jane. On a Tuesday morning William got up as usual about half-past six and went downstairs. As he did not return despite her calling out for him she rushed down and found him in an outhouse with his throat cut. Mary called in for Mr Hunt the licensee of the Bull who summoned Dr. Ernest Buckell. William was still alive and was conveyed to the Infirmary but died on the way and was brought back. The Lord Bishop gave evidence saying that relations at the Palace with William were satisfactory. William had apparently been suffering from depression for some time exacerbated by an illness and subsequent hospital operation. The jury returned a verdict of ‘suicide while temporarily insane’.
In 1905 landlord Thomas Brown who had a reputation for drunkenness was charged with assaulting his daughter and threatening the family. ‘He had been an awful blackguard to his wife all his life’ said one daughter. He was bound over for a surety of £25 and ordered to keep peace for a month and pay cost of 9s 6d.
Licensee Edward Linkhorn suffered a tragedy in 1911 when his 36 year old son Charles Linkhorn was found drowned in the Canal. He had earlier been drinking at the Richmond Arms and according to the pub’s licensee William Soal was seen walking ‘not quite straight’ to the Station. He had appeared to have no worries, but the fact that his mackintosh and hat had been carefully put under the wall before drowning might suggest to some that the deceased had put himself in the water. In the end the inquest returned an open verdict of ‘found drowned’.
The Bull inn ran a knock-out darts competition and was at times the location for the annual general meeting of the Chichester City Band. At its 1937 meeting its accounts showed a balance of £6 7s. The Bandmaster, Mr E.D. Shepherd noted that 1936 had been an important one as it marked the beginning of contest work.
In 1942 at the Chichester City Bench it was acknowledged that licensed victuallers experienced difficulties in acquiring a full knowledge of all the legislation affecting their trade. Harold Anderson was a licensee in the 1940s and like other licensees at the time fell foul of the practice of buying liquor from seemingly authorised persons due to the difficulty experienced by licensees in obtaining sufficient spirits which resulted in having to refuse many customers. The convicted seller of the spirits was a youth of 18 who frequently visited the pubs of the defendants. Harold was let off lightly with a fine of £5 and costs of £1 1s. Harold was still licensee in 1947 when he died suddenly in his sleep.
The current owners of the freehold are Cassamo Holdings Ltd based in the Isle of Man who registered the title in 1992.
At 4 The Hornet is The Eastgate whose sign depicts the long-gone Eastgate of the City. It was originally a location for brewing by Stephen Woolbridge from around 1811 to his death in 1849, then by his wife Martha (recorded as malster in 1855) aided by her son Stephen who took over till 1858.
Then the business came into the hands of John Goldring & Co with the premises being recorded as the Eastgate Brewery. Following the death of John Goldring his executors sold goods and stock from the Eastgate Brewery and Spirit Stores in 1874. It was then run as a wine and grocery store by George Phillips before being associated with Gales of Horndean.
In 1908 the Children’s Act was enacted to protect the poorest children in society from abuse. It also included a provision to prevent children from entering public houses. To comply with the Act Gale and Co, by then the brewers, made alterations including the widening of the existing doorway and the provision of a bottle and jug department. James Montgomery Smith was licensee at the time and remained in that post for 26 years being the oldest established licensed victualler in Chichester when he died in 1932.
One of his sons, Victor Smith, who lived in the Eastgate Brewery and who predeceased him in 1925, was the leader of ‘Vic Smith’s’ dance orchestra which was popular throughout the County. It had the reputation of being a very ‘live’ jazz combination and Vic’s energetic work on the drums and cheery outbursts into song contributed materially to this.
Like many pubs, the Eastgate ran a slate club whereby its customers save money in a common fund; for example in 1913 they held their annual supper and concert and helped several members who were on the sick list during the year and agreed that a share-out of £1 each ‘very satisfactory’.
The land on which the property stands was formerly leasehold with a 1000-year term from 1665 but as later no lease originals or certified copies could be found it became possible for ownership of the freehold to be registered. Thus in 1946 the freehold of the property (and that of the neighbouring Voke’s Tea Room) were sold off at auction by a group of owners (Leslie Cecil Halsted and others) to George Gale and Co. Fullers, the current owners, acquired Gales in 2005 and had the freehold registered to them in 2008. The building was Grade II listed in 1971.
The site of the present Thai restaurant at the junction of Eastgate Square, between St Pancras and The Hornet was the location for the Unicorn Inn the title deeds for which, when owned by Messrs Henty and Constable, go back to the year 1741.
It was, with two short breaks the home of the ancient body the Mayor and Corporation of St. Pancras since its foundation in 1689. This was a mock corporation to celebrate and commemorate the overthrow of the Roman Catholic James II and the succession of the Protestant William of Orange following his landing in this country. Every year the corporation held a banquet with ‘plentiful supply of wine and ale, and everything provided to content the stomach’. So drunk did the members become that apprentice boys had to push them home in wheelbarrows – hence the nickname of the corporation –The Wheelbarrow Club – which survives to this day and is arguably the oldest dining club in Britain.
Chichester was not a healthy place in the 19th century suffering the worst cases of typhoid and consumption of any town in the whole country. There was huge debate between two opposing groups of local residents dubbed the ‘drainers’ and the ‘non or anti drainers’. The Anti-Drainage Party met at the Inn In 1889 to oppose the plans to install main drainage which was proposed to address the dampness of the City’s soil and the consequent tendency of the climate to promote phthisis or consumption. Opponents saw it as an unnecessary expense, a way to line the pockets of others and could be avoided by registration of cesspools and improving their maintenance. As one commented ‘a bucket of water or urine thrown on the ground would spread itself over the ground, be dried in the sun, and in a short time there would be nothing to see or smell’. In the event half the city’s houses were connected to mains drainage by 1896.
In 1889 The City Police Force held a dinner in the Inn to celebrate their extinction as a separate body since by the County Government Act the city, as far as the police are concerned, now came under the control of the West Sussex County Authority.
Due to the need to widen the roads in the vicinity owners Henty and Constable (Brewers) with architects Whitehead and Whitehead and builders Patching and Co of Worthing redeveloped the site in the late 1930s to create a new Unicorn ‘Hotel’ which ‘set a new standard even among improved licensed premises’. The war memorial was moved from Eastgate Square to Litton Gardens in 1940.
Gracie Fields and actor George Graves visited the city in the 30s and selected the Unicorn Hotel for ‘rest and refreshment’ whereas Miss Evelyn Laye preferred the Village Hotel at Itchenor for the summer vacation. In 1939 it was one location for Air Raid Precaution (ARP) Wardens to test their readiness – the Unicorn being ‘wrecked’ with four persons trapped and injured.
The Hotel was the drinking hole for RAF pilots during the second world war. An American pilot, Robin Olds, on an exchange program with the RAF visited in 1946 and noted the range of photographs and drawings on the wall depicting those such as Sailor Malan, Douglas Bader and Stanford Tuck who were heroes to him when a young cadet in 1940.
The Unicorn closed as a pub in 1960s and up to 1994 the building was leased to the Chichester Festival theatre as the Minerva Studios). It became the offices of the Observer paper until 2015, then laid dormant until occupied by the restaurant.
The Nag’s Head is a twentieth century mock Tudor building which was once a beer house.
John Turner was the named landlord in 1895 around which time Thomas Makepeace was a blacksmith in the adjoining yard. Thomas was registered as a beer retailer in 1905 and following his death in 1909 his wife Alice Kate took over the licence.
Alice married Alfred Green in June 1912 who became the landlord. He was called up for the army and the licence was transferred to Charles Hotson in June 1914 – who too joined the army, the licence moving to Thomas Cooper. Alfred and Alice parted in the best of terms and hoped to see each other again. They had no children. But he never came home when on leave and following his discharge in 1919 he did not return. On application and in the absence of her husband a formal separation was made and maintenance agreed. Alfred was working as a miner blacksmith in Motherwell Scotland but fell behind in maintenance payments. He had enough money for them to live together but not to live apart, partly because of the expense of travelling south to court hearings for which he had to borrow money. He lost his job in Motherwell and had been committed to prison in connection with arrears. He had repeatedly offered her a home, but Alice would not come; in any event the Clerk of the Court stated he could not offer her a home because she had a separation order. It is not known what happened later to Alfred – in all a sad tale.
Later owners of the Nags Head, brewers Hoare and Co, who acquired it in auction in 1922, spent a substantial amount of money in 1925 completely refurbishing the premises. As a consequence, they sought, and obtained permission to replace the beer house licence by transferring to it the publican’s license then held in respect of the Market Tavern, which they had purchased from the Rock Brewery, Brighton. This had the effect of the Market Tavern ceasing to exist. After being rebuilt in the 1930s it traded as the Family and Commercial Hotel, before reverting to its previous name.
58 East Street is where The Fleece, formerly the Golden Fleece was located. It was one of Chichester’s oldest inns. An ale house stood on this site in 1641 and may have existed at a much earlier date. It had become an inn – offering food and accommodation by 1710 under the name Coach or Coach and Horses and later the Bell.
From 1812–1823, the city’s Member of Parliament was William Huskisson whose nomination as a candidate took place at the Fleece on 28 September 1812. In 1827, Huskisson joined the Duke of Wellington’s government, serving in various roles, including President of the Board of Trade. He had the dubious distinction of becoming the world’s first railway fatality when he was killed by George Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830.
It is also said that an earlier Member of Parliament, William Cawley, was born here. Cawley was one of the regicides, who signed the Death Warrant of King Charles I, following his trial for treason in January 1649.
The inn provided extensive stabling under proprietor Charles Morgan around the 1890s and by L. Gould who took over premises occupied by Morgan in Little London Mews.
However, soon motor carrier services were developed with services to Portsmouth and surrounding villages in the 1920s.
Of the licensees, the popular John Kemp Alderson, Sergeant -Major of the Chichester Company of Volunteers, became tenant of the Fleece in 1917. Licensing legislation was not often adhered to and the recently appointed licensee Vernon Carter was fined in 1942 for buying spirits from an unauthorised person who had stolen them from his employer, Messrs A. Purchase wine merchants.
The inn was the meeting place for various societies including the ‘Ancient Order of Foresters, Court Prince of Wales No. 4879’ and the ‘Good Intent Friendly Society’. In 1934 The Fleece had the largest Slate Club of any licensed premises in Chichester with a membership of 220. These clubs were not run for healthy members but for those who might fall sick. At the close of the Club year it paid out £1 3s per member.
The Fleece closed in 1987 to be occupied by retail outlets.
There is much speculation surrounding the origin of this pub’s name which only came into use in 1951, previously being referred to as St Martin’s Brewery – St Martin of Tours was the patron saint of the Worshipful Company of Vintners.
Immediately adjacent was one of the city’s Poor Houses (workhouses) and it is said that the inmates were passed food through a hole in the wall to the neighbouring property. Another theory is that workers at the St Martin’s Brewery that also abutted the property would pass barrels back and forth between the inn and the brewery through a hole in the cellar wall. Another theory, which is more likely a folk tale, is that there was a debtor’s prison on this site, and family and friends would pass food and drink through this hole to their loved ones.
A plaque on the bar wall states 1742, however, the brewery dates back at least to 1684 and probably earlier.
Long-serving William ‘Billy’ Parson was landlord of St Martin’s Brewery from 1915 to 1927 when he died at the age of 37.
The inn was the location for the keenly fought dart’s competition, the Brickwood Challenge Cup (Brickwoods being the owning brewers). Cups were presented at the ‘annual smoker’ – a smoking concert. Darts became very popular in the 1930s with over 12,000 clubs and 750,000 members registered with the National Darts Association in 1937. The Brewery was also the location for various start-up clubs including the ‘ping-pongers’ and the ‘air riflers’ and was a meeting place for organisations such as the ‘Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) Royal Sussex Branch’, the ‘Ancient Order of Foresters Court Prince of Wales, No. 4879’ – and the Chichester Post Office employees who recalled the time when innkeepers acted as postmasters. The first dinner of the Chichester Military Band was held there in 1937.
In 1938 a talk at the inn entitled ’The Problems of Economic Planning’ arranged by The Workers’ Educational Association had special reference to Russia – then suffering the ‘Great Purge’ under Stalin. The tenor of the presentation by the speaker, who had visited Russia, was on the efforts of unskilled workers undertaking the massive reconstruction.
The freehold of the pub is held by Green King. Nos 2 and 3 St Martin’s were Grade II listed in 1950.
On your right at 11 Priory Road you will see the Park Tavern. Its existence postdates that of 1805 as there is no record of a pub at that location then.
For some years Mrs Gilmore was licensee here and was a licensed victualler in the area into her 80s. She died at the age of 91 in 1936. In 1887 Mrs Pratt successfully applied for renewal of the licence, her husband Henry Pratt having some two weeks before been convicted and fined for selling drink during prohibited hours on a Sunday. However the bench cautioned Mrs Pratt against any repetition of the offence for which they were fined at the last sessions day.
In 1921 a new licensee Thomas George Purchase was given permission to change its name to The Ritz Hotel and to effect alterations to the premises to improve supervision; clearly to take the premises upmarket.
The Ritz was the centre for various community and sporting organisations hosting the AGM of the Priory Park Cricket Club and billiard competitions. In 1922 it was the venue for a two and a half meeting of a Sussex County Football Association Commission investigating ‘incidents’ concerning various small clubs in the district. One concerned Summersdale v. Fishbourne which led to the referee abandoning the game following the dismissal of a Summersdale player for a foul, the dangerous play adopted by the Summersdale players – who got ‘ratty’ after Fishbourne had scored – and the disgraceful behaviour of the spectators.
To give a sense of the harshness of punishments meted out not that long ago – in 1933 three ivory billiard balls were stolen and the accused was sentenced to one month’s hard labour by the Chichester City Bench.
The pub reverted to its current name in 1964; the freehold is held by Fuller Smith and Turner plc.
Hilary Green has provided the following story told to her by her late grandmother:
“Are you aware that in the past, the gypsies and fairground people (as they would have been called then) used to bring their sons, once they were aged 13 years old, to the Sloe Fair. The boys would be taken to Charles Weare’s watchmakers and jewellers shop at 7 South Street, where they would be bought a pocket watch – a right of passage for the travelling community.
The daughters would be brought to his shop during the Sloe Fair to have their ears pierced. Charles Weare (1823 – 1900) was some 20 or so years older than his wife, Emma Russell. He used to care for the clocks on the market cross and he and Emma, who loved dancing regularly went by carriage to the Chichester Assembly Rooms. He made the clock for the Assembly Rooms. The Chichester Invitation Quadrille Class in the late 1880’s was a favourite and some of the invitation cards survive. Charles was on the premises of his shop in 1861 and witnessed the cathedral spire falling in.
I inherited a little cardboard jewellery box from his shop and several brooches which may well have come from it. My late grandmother and mother told me about this many years ago.”
It is believed that in the late 18th century the first stagecoach from Chichester to London ran from the spacious yard of the inn which in 1805 was called St George under publican Mrs Miller.
The stagecoach, which was operated by Robert Quennel who lived in the neighbouring property, probably ended its journey at the thriving transport hub of the Golden Cross Inn at Charing Cross. In 1804 the poet and visionary, William Blake (1757–1827) travelled from London to Chichester for his trial of sedition, after he was accused of evicting drunken soldiers from his garden at Felpham with the words, ‘‘Damn the King, damn the country and damn you too!’ He may well have alighted at the George and Dragon having travelled along Stane Street via Petworth.
The yard continued to be used for the horsey fraternity with landlord Mr Goldie offering experienced instructors for riding hacks and children ponies in the 1940s. Accommodation in the form of flats were also available. In the days when the city had a bad reputation for drunken brawling, the George and Dragon must have had its fair share of altercations as it was known locally as the ‘Bucket of Blood.’ Wile no car parking attendants existed then, there were ‘paving commissioners’ to enforce the law. Landlord Hastings Langley, who kept the tap room, was fined 10s and 8s costs in 1865 for leaving a waggon in Priory Lane.
It was the location for meetings by various organisations including the Angel Provident Society who held their first annual dinner in 1904 when the funds stood at £402 2s 9p being invested in the Post Office Savings Bank. The Friendly Societies Infirmary Demonstration Committee enjoyed a ‘smoking’ concert in 1903, a not infrequent event across pubs in those days for those addicted to the ‘weed’.
The freehold is held by the Punch pub group. The building was listed Grade II in 1971.
The building at 57 North Street is Georgian and was built in 1804–6 as the home of Admiral Sir George Murray, who distinguished himself at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 and became Mayor of Chichester in 1815, the year he was knighted.
In February 1939 plans for a £25,000 licensed residential hotel, known as the Ship Hotel, were approved by the City Licensing Justices with a full license assigned to Mrs Betty Healy who was to be the resident manageress. The application was made by the then owners of the building, Allied Hotels.
Although the licenses conditions did not cover the provision of a bar, the application was opposed by Arthur Bennett the resident manager of the Dolphin Hotel and Mr Bisshopp licensee of the Old Cross. The former was concerned that his monopoly was under threat and the latter that there was no real market for dining rooms.
With the work of local architect Harry Osborn the Ship Hotel eventually opened to non-residents on 12 April 1939 offering 30 bedrooms, 17 bathrooms, H&C water and central heating and a passenger lift.
Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery met here in 1944 prior to D-Day. In 2015 the Harbour Hotel group acquired The Ship Hotel renaming it the Chichester Harbour Hotel and Spa. The building was listed Grade II in 1950.
Formally the Green Dragon, the pub at No. 65 North Street was rebuilt in 1928 and given its current name in commemoration of the city’s outstanding Tudor market cross. The date of the rebuild is shown on dice embedded in the front wall.
The land here was owned by the Bishop of Chichester in medieval times which history was thought to explain the appearance of a ghostly apparition reported in 1938. Following the Reformation, two tenements were built on this site and by 1688 they had been converted into an alehouse. Alehouses (later beerhouses) were licensed only to sell ale or beer and could not sell more intoxicating liquors or offer accommodation.
A local sporting hero in the late 19th century was Mr D. Richards, once the world champion for the most cannons in billiards. He played matches and gave exhibitions in the Old Cross in 1897 and was pitted against landlord Arthur Purchase who was more than a match for the professional on points conceded to him.
Arthur was landlord for at least two decades till his death in 1911. The property remained in the family and was due to be auctioned in 1919 together off with the private residence at No. 66, but was sold before it took place.
In 1930, following a temporary change in licensee to Frederick Munroe, Frank Richards took over the pub opening a new billiard room and promoting its new ‘Snack Bar’ apparently located at No. 35 North Street.
In 1939 the then landlord Mr Bisshopp was one of the objectors at a court hearing to the plans for a new hotel (which became the Ship Hotel) as he felt, based on his own experience, that there was little demand for dining-room trade. He thought the people behind the new restaurant were very plucky.
The present pub of this name dates back to 1997 and is situated in the western part of what were once the principal coaching inns of Chichester – one called the Anchor, the other the Dolphin.
The picture of the earlier Anchor Hotel above shows a meeting of the Chichester and District Motorcycle Club on Easter Monday 1913. In 1914 the Anchor Hotel (Home Counties Trust) was noted to offer ‘family & commercial; billiards, motor garage and inspection pit’ services.
Both inns date back to the seventeenth century, but it is possible that an older inn – The George – stood on this site by 1519 and possibly earlier. The Dolphin was already established in 1660 and in 1670 was noted as containing 23 hearths, a number only equalled by the Bishop’s palace. In 1632 Henry Chitty was Mayor of Chichester and took a lease of the Dolphin Inn, which he sold in 1637. Henry 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 during the Civil War in 1642.
The city was bitterly divided during the civil war of the 1640s and this factionalism continued into the eighteenth century, with the Anchor becoming the headquarters of the Tory party and the Dolphin becoming the base for the Whigs. Elections in those days were very rowdy, with considerable drunkenness and riotous behaviour.
In 1922 the two inns had separate licenses and it was noted by the licensing authorities that there was no door or other means to separate one hotel from the other. It was therefore agreed that in future only one licence would be issued and that the premises from thereon would be called the Dolphin and Anchor Hotel. As state by the authorities, in effect it was simply the surrendering of the license of the Anchor and the extending of the premises of the Dolphin.
The Anchor Hotel’s ‘Whig and Tory’ bar has been converted into the present-day Dolphin and Anchor bar and was opened following the closure of the hotel in 1997. Several large retail outlets now operate from the former hotel buildings. The Dolphin and Anchor Hotel was Grade II listed in 1950.
The Duke and Rye is a relatively new pub, situated within the former church of St Peter the Great.
Although the building appears to be old, even medieval, the former church of St Peter the Great was only completed in 1852 under the guidance of English Gothic Revival architect Richard Carpenter. A tower had been planned but proved to be too expensive; a porch was installed instead. The church was deconsecrated in 1982 due to the dwindling congregation and the cost of needed repairs. Despite much local opposition the District Council favoured a commercial use for the building and St Peter’s Market opened in 1983 for 19 privately-owed businesses. The building was restored by designer Tony Castley and reopened as the St Peter’s Slurping Toad ale house in 1998.(1)
The memorial garden to the left marks the spot where the church tower would have been built, but this plan never came to fruition. This former church was Grade II listed in 1950.
(1) Based on information from Lorna Still, volunteer at The Novium Museum published in Chichester Post 17 March 2017
The Chichester Inn at 38 West Street is built on the site of a medieval house belonging to the Dean of Chichester Cathedral.
The house was left in a ruined condition following the siege of the city during the civil war. The house had been rebuilt by 1692 and by 1754 it had become an inn known as the Three Kings. By 1792 it was called the Duke of Richmond Arms but was recorded in 1805 as the Castle with Barrett named as publican (the Castle Inn is seen in the picture below).
It retained this name until 1992 then becoming The Chichester Inn. It was a popular venue for meetings including the Chichester Hand Bell Club from 1844, the draymen in the employ of Messrs George Henty & Sons, brewers in 1909 and the Committee of the Licensed Victuallers Association newly formed in that year. In 1905 ‘sixty yards of bicycles’ caused consternation when stood by the curb one behind the other outside the Inn. It was a visit by thirty of forty members of the Portsmouth Arrow Cycling Club who used the Inn as their headquarters. Twice that many were expected to visit the City the following week to sight-see!
In 1911 a reproduction of the long-gone Westgate Arch was created to commemorate the coronation of George V with one arch leading to the Castle Inn (as seen in an accompanying picture).
According to legend, the ghost of a Roman soldier haunts the premises. The building was listed Grade II in 1971 (then named The Castle).
Landords included: 1805 Barrett; 1832, 1839 Thomas Stone; 1851 J Heather; 1855 J. Bridger; 1861 Richared Louch; 1866 Edward Louch; 1890, 1891 William Millington; 1899 William Philmore Morris; 1905 Frederick Edward Augustus Greene; 1909,1911,1914, 1915 John Deighton; 1919 Mrs Lucy Dyton/Dighton; 1920, 1925 J. Hart
Some other images:
Another view of the ceremonial arch at Westgate.
The west gate entrance to the City stood till 1777 when it was demolished. The bottleneck for traffic is shown in the image below. Road improvements in the 1970s led to the demolition of houses in Westgate and the creation of the present roundabout.