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Chichester Cathedral

History

Blessed Sacrament windowFor 900 years Chichester Cathedral has stood at the heart of Chichester. Each generation has left its mark on the Cathedral, so this magnificent building has unique architecture ranging from original Norman features to the towering Victorian Spire and newly restored Lady Chapel. The Cathedral is both ancient and modern, where original medieval features exist alongside world famous contemporary artworks. Chichester Cathedral is especially famous for its art, and houses a fascinating collection of paintings, tapestries, sculptures and stained glass. Paintings and carvings from throughout the ages can be found along with contemporary works by famous artists such as John Piper, Graham Sutherland, Marc Chagall and Philip Jackson.

The Cathedral is open every day and all year - with free entry. Free guided tours also run Monday to Saturday at 11.15am and 2.30pm and there is a special trail for children to enjoy too. Groups can book from a range of tours, often taking them ‘Behind the Scenes’ up spiral staircases to the Cathedral’s private Library and Song School.

This vibrant Cathedral also hosts many exhibitions, talks, lunchtime and evening concerts, many of which are free of charge. There is a superb Cloisters Café and Shop, complete with terrace and walled garden, and even on rainy days visitors can gaze at the magnificent spire through Cloisters’ glazed roof. The beautiful Bishop’s Palace Gardens are also only a few steps away, completely free to visit and newly landscaped.

Underpinning Cathedral life is a steady round of services, as has been the case throughout the centuries. There are three services most days and the celebrated Chichester Cathedral Choir sing Choral Evensong during term time every day except Wednesdays, and also sing three times on Sundays. All are welcome at this splendid Cathedral – a fascinating place to visit.

 

Architecture

The building of the present Cathedral was begun in 1076 and consecrated to the Holy Trinity in 1108. Thus Transitional and Early English work was added to the original Romanesque, and in subsequent centuries there was additional building in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles.

Attractions

Subsequent generations have introduced other styles of architecture, but, perhaps more significantly, the Christian faith has been interpreted by many creative artists, from early Romanesque stone carvings, Tudor paintings, to the very important modern works of art such as the tapestries by John Piper and Ursula Benker-Schirmer, the window by Marc Chagall, paintings by Graham Sutherland, Hans Feibusch and Patrick Procktor, the font by John Skelton and a sculpture of Christ in Judgement by Philip Jackson.

Local Interest

Goodwood House, Pallant House Gallery, South Downs Planetarium, Weald & Downland Open Air Museum.