The Cathedral has a fascinating and turbulent history and has been at the centre of some of the country’s most pivotal events. Some of our heritage has only recently been uncovered.
This includes some of the first of Coventry’s cathedrals, the 11th century working Abbey and later Cathedral and Priory church of St Mary’s. The Cathedral was established by Lord Leofric and his wife Lady Godiva and later became the only Cathedral to be destroyed during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. It was mostly unearthed by two of Channel Four’s Time Team archaeological digs in 1999 and 2001. The remains are vast, covering a large portion of the ‘Hilltop’ area.
The second of Coventry’s Cathedrals, dedicated to St Michael, was built in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. It was built to be a parish church, which it was for 500 years during which it was a base for Parliamentarian troops during the English Civil War. The church included stained glass windows which are believed to have been made by the medieval artist John Thornton, who was born in Coventry and later became famous for his work on the Great East Window at York Minster. Fortunately the glass was removed in 1940 for safe keeping and has recently undergone extensive cleaning and cataloguing. We are now in need of funds to put it on public display.
We have a huge commitment to conserve a fragile heritage across a large site. Funds are currently needed to restore the medieval crypts so that they can be opened up for public use.