Chichester was originally built by the Romans in the 1st century AD. When the Romans first arrived they used it as a base camp but later it was laid out as a market town and administrative centre. Today, Chichester's four main streets, crossing at right-angles, follow the lines of the original Roman street plan.
William the Conqueror gave Chichester to Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Arundel in 1066. Work on Chichester Cathedral began in 1091. It was largely rebuilt in the 12th and 13th centuries after suffering fire damage. It's spire is 277 ft high and can be seen by sailors on board ships many miles away.
By the 14th century Chichester Harbour was used to export wool and wheat. Later, cloth became one of the city's most important commodities.
In 1823 John Rennie helped the economy of the city by the building a canal that enabled goods to be transported from Chichester to Portsmouth and London. In 1844 the London & Brighton Railway Company built a line to Chichester. By 1847 Chichester was also linked by rail to Portsmouth and Southampton.
(1) Daniel Defoe, A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724)
I cannot say much of Chichester, in which, if six or seven good families were removed, there would not be much conversation, except what is to be found among the canons, and the dignitaries of the cathedral.
Chichester is not a place of much trade, nor is it very populous. The country round it is very fruitful, and particularly in good wheat, and the farmers generally speaking, carry all their wheat to Farnham, to market, which is very near forty miles by land-carriage.