How the West Sussex Gazette helped top comic John Bishop trace his family roots

TOP comedian John Bishop has traced his family roots in Chichester - with the help of the West Sussex Gazette.

John visited the county record office in Chichester to film scenes for the BBC TV programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

The documentary series delves into the ancestry of some of Britain’s most famous faces, taking them on personal journeys to discover remarkable family secrets.

While visiting the record office in Chichester, John was shown a copy of the Gazette in which his ancestor Charles Bishop was mentioned.

Charles, John’s great great grandfather, was a ‘lay vicar’ at Chichester Cathedral in 1861. He sang in the choir and performed privately at the Assembly Rooms before leaving Chichester for a further musical career in York.

Nichola Court, searchroom archivist at Wet Sussex’s record office in Chichester was involved in helping John find out about his ancestors for the TV programme.

She showed him a copy of the West Sussex Gazette in which his great great grandfather was mentioned.

She said: “It was an interesting story and John was really keen to find out about his family background.

“He asked lots of qustions about the relative who brought him to Chichester.

“We were onlly able to do a very narrow bit of research on this particular ancestor but it’s a quirky story.”

John discovered that his great great grandfather later went on to become a minstrel and travelled the country performing, moving to America at one stage before settling in Liverpool.

John himself was born in Liverpool in 1966.