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Historic England Research Records

Coventry City Walls

Hob Uid: 869475
Location :
Coventry
Coventry
Coventry
Grid Ref : SP3361079011
Summary : Coventry City Walls, C14th-1662.
More information : City Walls (Rems). Early C14th town walls included 32 towers and
12 gates. Destroyed 1662 on the orders of Charles II.(1-3).

SP335793 and SP335794. Remains of wall, well preserved, max. height
3.0m. See GP.
SP339790. Remains of wall. The height varies from 0.3m-1.8m. It now
forms the foundations for a brick wall.
SP341789. Foundation remains of the wall are visible in the West
bank revetment of the R. Sherbourne.
SP34147867. No extant portion visible.
SP33037907. Remains of wall visible in the gable end of a building.
SP32997900. Remains of wall 2.8m high, 2.0m thick.
SP33177929 - SP33177933). Remains of wall restored and partially
rebuilt. max. height 2.0m.
SP33227944. Remains of wall, max. height 1.3m.(4,5)

SP332794 - SP335794. Twelve sections of Coventry City Walls are
scheduled, W Mids No.21.(6)

Additional reference.(7)

Coventry did not become a walled city until the second half of the
C14th, but there was a town ditch and entrance bars in the C13th,
and possibly even in the late C12th. The only physical evidence for
an early ditch is one 20' wide and 9' deep to the NE of Well Street
Gate, and sections have been found on the South side of Smithford
Street aligned with the Spon Street bars, and continuing North and
East to Barr's Hill and St Nicholas' Church, (SP37NW12). The North
and East sides of the town may well have not been ditched.
A licence for murage was obtained in 1329, but work does
not seem to have begun for some time. A licence to crenellate was
obtained in 1363, and in 1385, a licence was granted to complete the
work. The wall was constructed using material in situ; therefore a
ditch surrounded the whole circuit. Twelve gates were erected at
strategic points, (SP37NW49 and 55-65), these being built from
ca.1367 onwards, most being completed by 1411. In addition, there
were at least 20 intermediary towers, of which 15 lay on the South
side of the town between Hill Gate and Gosford Gate. The sections
to the NE of the Priory appear to have been the last section built, in the C15th.
During the C17th Civil War, the three miles of city walling
were comparable in strength to London's City Walls, with four strong
gates guarded by 400 guards. In 1662, Charles II ordered that the
walls should be pulled down because Coventry had harboured rebels
after the restoration. However, this was revoked in 1672, and efforts
were made to preserve the circuit. Attempts were made to convert
both gates and towers to domestic habitation in the late C17th ad
early C18th, but from the middle of the C18th onwards, the gates
and walls were gradually removed. In 1870, only two gates remained,
the Swanswell (Priory) Gate, (SP37NW61), and Cook Street Gate,
(SP37NW49). Between these gates lies the only substantial surviving
section of the city wall, although not to its original height. It is
constructed of two outer skins of ashlar masonry with a rubble
core.(8)

The section of wall to the North of Swanswell Gate is listed, Grade
I.(9)

A 110m section of the wall at SP340791 was excavated in 1972, and
on both sides of the wall material of the C12th-C17th was found. The
earliest defences were a ditch and earth rampart.(10)

(See also SP37NW114 for further excavations on the walls, and also
SP37NW103 for a chapel incorporated into the walls in the C14th.)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Newell C 1924. Coventry City Walls and Gates.
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Map of Coventry, 1610. (Speed J)
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Fortified Coventry. (The`Coventry Times', 09-Mar-1870)
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Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : City Engineers Report on the Wall, 1929.
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Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 FDC Dec-1967.
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Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage Schedule of Ancient Monuments: West Midlands 31-Dec-1987 4.
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE (IAM) Ancient Monuments England 3 1978 108.
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Source Number : 8
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : VCH Warwickshire 8 1969 21-3.
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Source Number : 9
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) West Midlands, District of Coventry Jun-1974 31.
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Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Medieval Archaeol 17 1973 171.
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Town Defences
Evidence : Structure
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Town Defences
Evidence : Structure

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : WM 21
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 37 NW 48
External Cross Reference Notes :

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Related Activities :
Associated Activities : PARKSIDE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : FLEET STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1987-12-31
Associated Activities : THE CHEYLESMORE
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1991-01-01
End Date : 1991-12-31
Associated Activities : SHELTON SQUARE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1994-01-01
End Date : 1994-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND BETWEEN GULSON ROAD & GOSFORD STREET
Activity type : DESK BASED ASSESSMENT
Start Date : 1996-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : SALVATION ARMY CITADEL, UPPER WELL STREET
Activity type : EVALUATION
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End Date : 2003-12-31
Associated Activities : SALVATION ARMY BUILDING, UPPER WELL STREET
Activity type : EXCAVATION
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Associated Activities : LAND AT THE BELGRADE THEATRE
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Associated Activities : LAND AT BOND STREET
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Associated Activities : BOND STREET/HILL STREET
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Start Date : 2005-01-01
End Date : 2005-12-31
Associated Activities : BELGRADE PLAZA
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End Date : 2006-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT GULSON ROAD
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : FORMER GULSON ROAD HOSPITAL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 2010-01-01
End Date : 2010-12-31