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Coventry - West Midlands

Postal Town: Coventry (CV1)

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Coventry, history and present-day details

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Coventry sits beside the River Avon with a history dating back to Saxon times. The origins of the city appear to support a view that Coventry first appeared as an opening in the great oak Forest of Arden. The first name, although not proved, could have been Cofentreo. This could have been Cofe, a family name and Treo meaning trees, which might have been used to mark territory in Saxon times. Another much-argued theory is the name Coventre or Convent Tre (Tre from the Celtic settlement or town).

Lady Godiva is a name associated with Coventry for her famous horse-back ride through the village wearing nothing other than the hair on her head. This was a protest to her land-owning husband who was crippling villagers with high taxes.

The Domesday census (1086) portrays Coventry as a hamlet of about 350 people. However, historians believe that the number could have been as much as 1000. The argument is based on why Coventry would have attracted a Bishop's seat some ten years after the census with such a lowly population. It is much argued that the Domesday survey specifically documented wealth, as in land owners and their inhabitants. Many towns and areas of towns were missed from the survey.

Up until about 1350, Coventry was a split town of the Prior's half and the Earl's half. A royal charter of incorporation announced that the single town of Coventry be allowed a Mayor, elected through its own council. Coventry became wealthy due to its textile and wool industry through the middle ages.

In the 1500s Coventry, like many major towns, suffered from the dissolution of the monasteries; King Henry VIII's method of reducing the considerable power the church had over the land, and perhaps his own need of absolute power and wealth. The effect was shattering for Coventry and it is said that its population may have halved due to the work that could no longer be offered by the priory.

Have you been 'sent to Coventry'? Well if so, you are likely to be ignored or put down by those around you. It is said that this phrase came from Cromwell's armies during the Civil war. The locals, especially the girls, didn't mix with the soldiers, who might have felt ignored and unwanted and may have coined the phrase, 'being sent to Coventry', as a generalisation of other similar situations.

From early 1700s Coventry was famous within the ribbon weaving industry up until about 1860. In more recent times, Coventry has been an industrious city within the midlands.

Visitors to Coventry can see an abundance of its history and culture from past to present.


ŠJosh White



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