A Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion chapel was built in 1774, but WM did not reach the city until 1790, when R.C. Brackenbury, after an overnight stay, preached from his carriage drawn up by the Market Cross. There is no evidence of a society being formed until 1804 when a local schoolmaster, William Woodroffe Phillips, registered a room in his house in North Pallant. Chichester became part of the Lewes and Brighton Mission and in 1810, with 12 members, was given its own missioner, though it did not become fully independent until 1815. The first chapel was built in East Walls in 1818 and rebuilt as Centenary Chapel in 1840. Stalwart leadership through the middle years of the century was given by William Ballard, landlord of the Dolphin Hotel, and his wife Maria, sister of Dr George Osborn.

In the Religious Census of 1851 the seating capacity of Centenary Chapel was given as: free 82 and 125 others. Reported attendances were: Morning 60 plus17 scholars; Afternoon 33 scholars; Evening 58.

In 1877 the society moved to a new chapel in Southgate, designed by Alexander Lauder.

The first BC preacher, Mary Toms, came over from the Isle of Wight in 1833, and a missionary was appointed in 1834. Bethel chapel in Orchard Street opened in 1836. The Leng family provided leadership for many years and in 1865 a new Jubilee chapel was built in The Hornet (closed 1968).

PM preachers came from Buriton in the 1860s and opened a chapel at Fishbourne in 1872 (closed 1971). Chichester was made a separate station in 1874 and its Broyle Road chapel (in the working-class Summerstown area) opened the following year, but only after the wife of the missioner, Sarah Clarke, had died after being hit by a bottle thrown during disturbances. For some years before Methodist Union Chichester was part of the Portsmouth PM Circuit. The Broyle Road chapel closed in 1956.

In 1982 the Methodist/URC Christ Church premises were opened on the site of the former Southgate chapel.

  • Southgate Methodist Church, Chichester, 70th Birthday Celebrations, Souvenir Handbook (1947)
  • John & Hilary Vickers, Methodism in a Cathedral City (1977)