A Journey Into Coventry

Today was the first official day of why we are all over here. Looking at old buildigs, learning about their history, and having a great time.

The first building we stopped at was Holy Trinity Church. It was hard to get a decent picture of the outside, partly becasue of the proximity of the other buildings, and it was under construction and had scaffolding over parts of it. So I have to settle on interior pictures for this one. But I think that will be be fine.

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Interior of Holy Trinity Church looking towards the high altar

The original version of this church was destroyed by fire in the 12th C. and rebuilt in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Centuries. This church is part of an old monastic complex but was not part of the priory. The Church was for the people living on the monastic lands, but who were not monks. The curch was built in the third distinct Gothic style called Perpendicular. The three periods of Gothic are; Early English Gothic (starts around 1150), Decorated (some time in the middle), and Perpendicular (up to about 1540 with the reformation). But don’t worry, this is the most in-depth lecturing I will get. It’s just these three terms will come up alot. And I guess if you are now wondering how the three periods are classified, it is by the windows. Weird, right? Anyways, just one more piont on the history. This church has one of the only surviving original medieval paintings. The painting is hidden by scaffolding at the moment, so no pictures, but it depicts the last judgement in typical medeival flair. And why this is incredible is becasue almost all paint from a long time ago fades, cracks, and goes away, but due to the reformation that took  place in 1540 the painting got covered up with tapestries and was only uncovered in the 20th C. still intact and only had to be slightly restored.

There is so much that can be said about this building and all the other buildings that we visit, but that would make for one very long blog. So here are some pictures and descriptions.

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Here is the roof of the church tower which has been redone in the 19th C. by G. G. Scott

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In this image, a span of 200 years is depicted. On the left side is 13th C. and the right is     15th C. Yet unless you actually know this all you see are two differnt coloured arches, like most of us did.  

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This image and the one below are two very interesting points of interest and innovation. Both of these are on rows of seating in the choir. The top image is a butt rest for monks. During the service the monks were not allowed to sit down, and when they did seven services a day, it became hard for the older monks to stand. The solution? Create a little flip down flap on the bench to lean against to take some weight off. This then evolved into elaborate carvings and, like this one, a rest attached to the underside of the bench seat.

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Here is a not so common carving of the Green Leaf Man. And no one knows who he is. This symbol pops up in places, but there are no known writings on what it symbolizes. Other than someone being a really skilled wood carver.

The next stop for us was to visit the remains of the Priory. There is not much to show, but it was intersting to walk the grounds and get a sense of the scale of the land. It was a very large complex, but after the reformation it was looted and left to return to nature. Once the walk was over and we went and had some lunch under what is depicted below.

 

DSC01155Yes. For those who have guessed, this is the tower that remains of the bombed out Coventry Catherdral. In brief, on the night of November 14 1940 the Germans launched a devestating raid on Coventry. The raid lasted until 6 in the morning, and thousands of tonnes of bombs were dropped. The reason for this was that Coventry was a major industrial center for the British war effort. Coventry had factories prodicing engines and vehicles that supplied the entire army. This made Coventry the prime target for a bombing raid during the Blitz. Among the thousands of casulties of the bombing raid, the one that stuck out was the Cathedral. The Times newspaper reported that it was the worst raid on English soil apart from London. It got massive attention and just days after the raid The King came to Coventry to inspect the damage done to the city. And yes, I know I said brief, but when you’ve written a paper on the subject, one can tend to ramble on. So in conclusion, the city was devastated and a new Cathedral was build as soon as possible. And here it is.

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It was built quite some time after the war when resources freed up and a design was chosen. It’s main architectural desing was to combine the old with the new and transfer it into the modern design. The modern design uses some of the same medieval princples for church layout and design, but in modern materials and methods. The inside of the cathedral reflects this very well.DSC01180 This is a section of the roof with the pier branching out. In modern times, this is purley superfluous. To vault the space, the piers are not needed, and the tracing of the concrete is decorational, but what it does is pay homage to the old. The concrete lines are the rib vaults that are found in many chruches, and then the piers are self explaining. But what was done is the last few inches of the peirs are not touching the ground, and only a steel rod joins the piers to the floor. What this does is show you that this is here explicitly for the purpose of bringing the old into the new. Another major part of the new cathedral are the stained glass windows it has. But due to today being cloudy, it was not a good day to take pictures of stained glass. So on the next sunny day I will be going back and taking pictures to show the effect that the glass has on the inside of the church. But here is one more picture that needs to shown.

DSC01172This cross was made the morning after the bombing raid in 1940 out of two charred roof beams. The cross became a symbol for the people of Coventry because of the immense importance of the Cathedral. This whole event of the new cathedral and the old holds immense importance for Coventry and is always a reminder to how important buildings and their ideas can be for a population.

It was a great day.

One thought on “A Journey Into Coventry

  1. Lovely photos and description. I spent 6 months living in London on a work abroad program and your photos bring back all the weekend trips. Trips to Salisbury, Oxford, Cambridge, the shore and to Wales.

    Like

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