History associated with The Chichester Hotel
The Chichester Hotel takes its name from Chichester Hall. The hotel is on land which is part of the Hall. The Chichester is supposed to have derived its name from the Norman knight, Sir John de Chichestre, who was the first occupant of Chichester Hall, a 13th century moated farmhouse which still survives. However, during the 16th century the hall was the home of the Andrewes family, one of whom, Lancelot, became Bishop of Chichester (1605-1607) and it is also possible that the hall was named by him for that city. Two centuries later the Hall was home to Thomas Holt White FRS, brother of the celebrated naturalist Gilbert White. White raised the famous Chichester Elm cultivar from a tree which stood in its grounds.
Bishop Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1625) was said to have mastered fifteen modern languages and six ancient ones. He was the principal translator of the King James (Authorised) version of the Bible, published in 1611, and was personally credited with translating the ‘Pentateuch’, the first five books of the bible, into English. There is a monument to his memory in Southwark Cathedral.
Prior to and during the Second World War, Chichester Hall was a farmhouse, until a V2 rocket landed in the adjoining field and rendered the house uninhabitable. It remained so until it was acquired by Frank Harris in 1972 and restored.
Many of the farm buildings were beyond repair and were demolished but two were retained, renovated and incorporated in ‘The Chichester’ which opened as a restaurant and function complex in June 1975. The buildings retained were the Essex Barn and a stable – which is now the Stable Bar/Restaurant. A large quantity of old oak (many being ex ships’ timbers) from demolished Suffolk barns was used in the renovation. The carved oak ceiling beams in the main entrance lobby and part of the Stable Bar were originally part of the Half Moon public house in Sudbury, which was over 300 years old when it was demolished. Three wagon wheel chandeliers in the Essex Barn are from a grain wagon which journeyed twice weekly from Ipswich to London, over 130 years ago.