We are a group of volunteers with expertise and ideas on the medieval city.
Dr Mark Webb
I’m a specialist in medieval urban archaeology and history and have published on Coventry’s medieval and post-medieval history. I was born in Coventry but now live in London. I’m also a trustee of The Historic Coventry Trust and work for The Prince’s Foundation where I’m responsible for raising funds and finding sustainable uses for the restoration of historic buildings.
I’m a copy-editor and proof reader for academic publishers, businesses and authors. I’m also a writer and have written several guidebooks for the Churches Conservation Trust / Jarrold Publishing. In the past I’ve worked for the museums, heritage and tourism sectors and have an MA in Arts and Social Sciences and a Diploma in Museum Studies.
I’m the Chief Executive Officer for Museum of London Archaeology. Born in Coventry, I have worked on some of the iconic Coventry sites in the 1970s, such as 122-123 Much Park Street, Broadgate and Whitefriars. My subsequent work has centred in the East Midlands and I was involved in the major excavations that revealed the nave of Coventry’s first cathedral and a large section of the city’s town ditch. I have an MA in Archaeological Method and I’m a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London.
I studied the city of Coventry as an architecture student and became fascinated by the city's significant past, as well as the contrast with today's perception of Coventry. Re-imagining how sites are used is central to my work. At Jo Cowen architects I enjoy designing new communities, having previously worked on cultural projects including the Royal Opera House and galleries for the V&A and the British Museum.
I’m the Head of Development for Safeline. Previously, I was the Head of Development at Culture Coventry, the city’s major museum and art gallery trust. I have experience in museums, art galleries and also within the commercial sector. I have a degree in Medieval History from the University of St Andrews.
We want to share knowledge about medieval Coventry using a mix of traditional and innovative techniques based on the latest digital technologies.
We are a group of volunteers with expertise and ideas on the medieval city. When we say ‘medieval’, we define it as the period between the Norman Conquest in 1066 and the Dissolution of the monasteries, c. 1540
Coventry has a rich medieval story that deserves to be better known. It’s been overshadowed by a focus on World War II destruction and post-war reconstruction.
Coventry was actually a Saxon town and so, strictly speaking, Earl Leofric and Lady Godiva fall just outside our focus. But we feel there is an even more interesting and less well-known story to tell about Coventry’s heyday from the mid 14th to the mid 16th centuries when it was the ‘boom town’ of England and the seat of royal power.
The city was the ‘boom town’ of the late medieval period. Between c. 1350 and c. 1500, Coventry grew to be the fourth most populous and fourth wealthiest city in England, after London, York and Bristol. Its growth was based on its role in the international and domestic wool and woollen cloth industries, but it was also an important centre for metalworking, the leather industries and other crafts.
The civic ceremonials, processions and ‘mystery plays’ of Coventry were of national importance. Coventry’s merchants were amongst some of the wealthiest in the country and the Trinity Guild had royal patrons. It was an important ecclesiastical centre, with a Benedictine priory cathedral, two of the largest parish churches in England and three influential friaries.
The city, situated at the crossroads of the national road system, and with some of the strongest defences in the country, was of great strategic importance. It was no coincidence that the Lancastrian royal family chose Coventry as a new seat of power in the period 1456–1460 at a time of national unrest. The city played an important role in the Wars of the Roses, and holding Coventry was seen as crucial to controlling the rest of the kingdom.
Parliament was held in Coventry twice in the 15th century, as well as a number of Great Councils. And in 1451 was even made its own county! The County of Coventry survived for nearly 400 years.
Did you Know?
Coventry was renowned throughout Europe for its choral music. Bablake Chapel maintained an important choral school where the clerks were skilled at such polyphonic music, which was played when royalty was visiting, for religious festivals and ceremonial occasions. The following is a performance of Angus Dei, part of the English Caput Mass, one of the most influential English pieces of the first half of the fifteenth century. Performed at St Mary’s Guildhall, Coventry, by The Binchois Consort under Andrew Kirkman.