Tales from the Archive: Chichester Cathedral from the sky

This story was published on May 5 in the Chichester Observer. Read the original story at bognor.co.uk/news/local/chichester-cathedral-from-the-sky-1-7375128]

[All images: West Sussex Record Office archives]


This photograph was originally featured in the Chichester Observer on Friday, December 9, 1966.

It was a then-rare view of Chichester Cathedral.

The caption pointed out that to the left, the circular public library could be seen, which was then a new sight.

The cathedral had of course been around much longer, and today it has welcomed visitors through its doors for 900 years.

Stigand, the first Norman bishop, began to construct a new cathedral on the site of the original Saxon church of St Peter in 1076.

Workers used stone from Quarr on the Isle of Wight.

The Cathedral was completed by Bishop Ralph Luffa, who consecrated it in 1108.

Important features were added to the cathedral in the fifteenth century.

The cloisters which enclosed the south transept, the detached bell-tower, the only one of its kind remaining in England and which today houses a peel of eight bells, and the spire were all added, altering the cathedral’s appearance.

The cathdral is unique in two particular ways. It has two architectural features that cannot be found elsewhere in England’s medieval cathedrals: —a free-standing medieval bell tower, or campanile, and double aisles

The photograph was taken from a helicopter by Master Navigator E. Macmillan, of R.A.F. Thorney Island.

The R.A.F. Thorney Island airfield has a fascinating history, as it was built in 1938 for fighter aircraft and was involved in the Battle of Britain when it was attacked by the Luftwaffe on the same day as other stations such as RAF Ford and RAF Poling radar station.

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