The club started in response to a letter to the Chichester Observer in 1954 asking for anyone interested in forming an archery club in Chichester to contact Mr. Pope. A lease was agreed with Chichester City Council for the original range at the North end of Oaklands Park, where the Rugby Club is now.
The first shoot was held on 19th May 1955. The clubhouse was quite primitive, a ‘pile of sticks’ according to Pat Fielder. Archers shot from across the park, the shooting line being next to Broyle Road, the target end next to College Lane end. Unfortunately Oaklands House, a nursery school at that time, was rather close to the target end and had to be protected by an earth embankment.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the club was under the leadership of chairman, Peter Fielder, and treasurer, Ken Cobden. Club archers were very successful; Pat Fielder became Sussex Ladies Champion in 1967 and was the first lady in Sussex to score over 1000 for a Hereford round, 1005 in a tournament at Thorney Island. Club membership reached just over a hundred by the early 1970s.
By 1969, the Rugby Club wanted to move to the site at the North end of Oaklands Park, so it was agreed that Chichester Bowmen would relocate to the present site next to the football club. Part of the deal was that the Bowmen would get the rugby clubhouse for their use. The building was moved from its home at the North end of the park to its present site by a large crane and two tractors.
In the same year “The Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of Chichester” granted Chichester Bowmen a 28-year lease on the site. The rent was £25 a year and the stamp duty on the lease 5 shillings (25p). Ownership of the freehold passed to Chichester District Council in the local government reorganisation of 1972.
Today, the club is still going strong and has more than 100 members.