Many wealthy royalists lived in Chichester, or at least had homes in the city, including Sir John Morley, Sir Thomas Boyer and Christopher Lewknor. Opposing them were Henry Chitty, the captain of the local militia, known as the trained band, and the MP for Midhurst, William Cawley. In June 1642, the mayor, Robert Exon, read out the king’s proclamation calling on all loyal men to take up arms for the king. On 19th August, George Goring, the governor of Portsmouth, declared for the king. This was a massive blow to the parliamentary cause and a great boost to the morale of the Chichester royalists. However, Goring proved to be a fair-weather ally to the king and quickly surrendered when subject to a naval blockade by forces loyal to parliament. With Portsmouth back in parliamentary hands, Chitty and Cawley successfully requested cannon and gunpowder be sent from there to Chichester for the further defence of the city.
In an attempt to win around opinion in Sussex to his cause, the king issued a further proclamation on 7th November granting full pardon to any inhabitant of Sussex who had rebelled against the Crown. However, the pardon specifically exempted Henry Chitty and Herbert Morley (no relation to Sir John Morley) who was Colonel of the trained bands of Lewes and de facto head of military operations in eastern Sussex.
Below is a a flow chart of the main events in the form of a timeline, published by The Chichester Society. The Society has published Heritage Trail No.6 Chichester during the English Civil War available for download by clicking on the image above or by visiting the project’s website www.chichesterheritagetrails.org.uk. It describes the beginnings of the Civil War and in particular the impact it had on Chichester and the roles played by these individuals. Four of the main buildings and locations involved in this event are cited and form a trail that can be followed from the North to the East and finally to the South finishing at the Cathedral.