Chichester

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Chichester is a small city located in West Sussex in the south of England well known for its large cathedral, is the seat of a Church of England bishopric, and a small university college with a strong focus on theology.

History

The town dates back to the Roman era, when it was an important Roman port called NOVIOMAGVS REGNORVM. Roman activity is attested by the remains of a lavish Romano-British palace at nearby Fishbourne, and by several roman roads, whose routes can be seen today in the modern intercity road network, as well as numerous written references. The town was initially founded in AD43-44 as a military supply depot and staging post, but developed as a civilian port and regional centre from AD50. The palace was the base of a local vassal ruler, Cogidubnus.

Over the next few centuries hte original timber buildings were rebuilt in stone, and temples to Neputune and Minerva built. As the empire became es stable in the 3rd century, the city walls were rebuilt in stone, and form the basis for the existing city walls, and probably also the basis of the cruciform street plan found in the city centre.

The city was later favoured by the Normans, who built the earliest surviving elements of Chichester Cathedral in the 11th century, and also added to the Roman defences.

Tudor buildings are also present in the city, but the next major visible effect on the city would come in the 18th century, when many fine Georgian era buildings were added, and remain to this day, now as listed (protected) buildings.

Expansion came in the Victorian era, with the arrival of the railway in 1847. During the second world war, airfields were developed nearby at Thorney and Tangmere, and following the war there was renewed expansion of the city.

Economy

RAF Tangmere closed in 1970, and activities at Throney Island drastically decreased, which has been turned over from RAF to Army use. However the reclassification of the theological and HE college to a fully fledged university in 2006 has led to significant expansion and development. In addition, the rich agricultural land of the South Downs that surrounds the city ensures the area remains agriculturally exploited, and until recently the city had a weekly cattle market. The food company Shippham's maintains a factory in the south of the city producing spreads, and sailing and motor yachts are also manufactured in the nearby Chichester Harbour, though commercial shipping along the Chichester canal has now ceased. In recent times, tourism has become the largest industry in the city, and is now a major destination for visitors, particularly to Fishbourne Palace and the cathedral, though the city is also noted for its art galleries and theatre, as well as its fine Georgian architecture.

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