Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 December 2009
Chichester became the new seat of the former diocese of the South Saxons when the cathedral was transferred there from Selsey soon after the Conquest. Selsey, where Wilfrid had once preached Christianity to the pagans, had been a monastic church and when the Abbot Eadbert was made a bishop at the beginning of the eighth century and the diocese cut away from the West Saxons, he chose to remain where he was. Little is known about the early history of the see, although there seems to have developed a close connection with Canterbury. Bishop Aethelgar was translated to the archbishopric in 988 and three monks from Christ Church between 1032 and 1070 were appointed bishops of Selsey. Valuable grants of land in Sussex were made to the archbishops by the Anglo–Saxon kings which they still held, although not without dispute, in 1086. Precisely when, and for what reason, the convent at Selsey, in spite of a long line of monastic bishops, was replaced by a chapter of secular clergy is not known. Aethelric II, who was the last Old English bishop, was deposed in 1070 during the great purge, and under his successor, Stigand, the see was removed to Chichester. Stigand, as bishop of Selsey, was present at Lanfranc's consecration in August 1070, so that it is likely that Aethelric was deposed at the Whitsun council at Windsor. In the fall of 1071, however, Alexander II wrote to the king ordering the case to be reconsidered. The principles of canon law were to be applied and the bishop was to be restored to his see.