Chichester Cathedral: Everything you need to know

Every day throughout Advent, we'll be introducing a different cathedral from around the UK and occasionally beyond.


Denomination: Anglican


Building began: 1076

About the cathedral:

Situated on England’s south coast, Chichester Cathedral is at the head of a diocese that covers the counties of West and East Sussex. Though much of the cathedral dates from the 11th and 12th centuries, the spire was a later addition – first built in the 15th century, it collapsed in 1861 and was then rebuilt. Also dating from the 15th century is the separately located bell tower, a unique feature for an English cathedral. One of the hosts of the Southern Three Choirs Festivals – Salisbury and Winchester are the other two – Chichester has a strong musical heritage. The best known work associated with the cathedral is Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, which was written for the festival in 1965. The grave of composer Gustav Holst is also to be found here.

Did you know?


Chichester’s most famous, and also most notorious, organist was the composer Thomas Weelkes, appointed to the post in 1602. A colourful character, Weelkes soon began to test the patience of his employers with his regular absences from duty, disorderly behaviour and fondness for the bottle. Eventually, the dean and chapter lost their patience and in 1616 sacked him for being drunk at the organ and swearing during services. Remarkably, he was soon re-appointed and, although his behaviour does not appear to have improved, remained in post until his death in 1623.