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City Wall and Gates

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Annewiggy
Tamworth
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16 of 39  Tue 28th Feb 2017 8:15pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1160

Looking through the newspaper archives again there are 1914 pictures with no battlements on Cook Street Gate, and a 1934 picture with them. I did find an article though in a 1918 Coventry Standard which discusses the battlements and they mention a sepia drawing from the end of the 17th century which shows it with battlements.
City Wall and Gates
Midland Red
Cherwell
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17 of 39  Tue 28th Feb 2017 8:35pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4879

On this page, Rob states " . . . looking at the top of both of these gates, you may notice that the battlements have been added in recent times. This was done around 1931-32 when a second session of restoration took place and the gardens were built. Photographs from 1910 show Cook Street gate with a flat open top, whilst Swanswell gate had a sloping "house-like" roof where it had been used, firstly as a cottage, and then a shop in the 1800s."
City Wall and Gates
Midland Red
Cherwell
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18 of 39  Thu 9th Mar 2017 5:54pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4879

On 3rd Feb 2017 6:51pm, NeilsYard said: Looks like part of the city wall has been uncovered whilst they dig up Cox Street car park! - Telegraph
Managed to photograph it today Thumbs up
City Wall and Gates
Dreamtime
19 of 39  Fri 10th Mar 2017 3:48am  
Off-topic / chat  

NeilsYard
Coventry
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20 of 39  Fri 1st Sep 2017 10:10pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1720

Rob and all - after perusing your great City Wall guide on the site I've realised that theres several areas of the City Wall that are still present that I've not really got close to before. As we approach Autumn - does anyone else fancy doing a tour 'walk' of whats left following Robs guide?
City Wall and Gates
Helen F
Warrington
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21 of 39  Wed 6th Sep 2017 9:23pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:957

City Wall Tour There's an organised tour tomorrow and Friday for the Heritage. It a pre book so it might be a bit late to join.
City Wall and Gates
Midland Red
Cherwell
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22 of 39  Wed 1st Nov 2017 7:15pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4879

Cook Street Gate
City Wall and Gates
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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23 of 39  Sat 6th Jan 2018 10:41am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1308

6th Jan 1329 King Edward III granted Coventry the charter to build the City Wall on this day - although it was about 17 years later before the first stone was actually laid.
City Wall and Gates
Roger Turner
Torksey
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24 of 39  Sun 7th Jan 2018 11:35am  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:509

I took the opportunity of reading your underlined very interesting history of the city wall, which indeed brought it to "life" and also commented on its demise. One thought that ran through my mind during reading - that must have been an awful lot of stone, where did it come from and what happened to it when it was demolished. As a confirmed DIYer, I`m sure if I was alive and had a bit of land, I would have liked a chance to recycle it. Are there any records of how the local building industry operated in those days? Presumably through Guilds?

Question

City Wall and Gates
Midland Red
Cherwell
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25 of 39  Sun 7th Jan 2018 1:37pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4879

British History Online states: The greater part of the modern city is on Permian Breccia and Sandstone, with a ridge of Triassic Keuper Sandstone giving place to Keuper Red Marls on the eastern side. If you type "sandstone" into the search facility on this forum, there are many references to the vast amounts of the material available and buildings etc constructed therefrom Thumbs up
City Wall and Gates
Helen F
Warrington
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26 of 39  Sun 7th Jan 2018 3:15pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:957

One of the reasons Coventry started was because of the excellent resources. Shelton's articles document finding quarries for stone in Broadgate and sand at the Burges for the castle that were later turned into waste pits and cellars. The bulk of the wall was sourced from places like the Cheylesmore park, where a big open pit developed. There doesn't seem to have been a massive team involved and the wall progressed fairly slowly. The south sections were finished first (after about 41 years) to protect the Lord's side but the north took some effort to extract money from the prior and the poorer people in the north. A lot of time they were just repairing the wall they'd already built. When the wall was demolished it seems to have taken 500 men a mere 3 weeks. The stone was sold to anyone who wanted it and vanished very quickly to build boundary walls and anything you would imagine needed a nice bit of dressed stone. Initially some the walls probably remained at a lower height as boundary walls and were only fully demolished when the land was redeveloped. A good example is the stretch from Cook Street to Bishop street. Other walls were largely intact. The gatehouses were untouched but mostly converted into homes. The demolition was stopped abruptly when Charles II realised that the work had been over done and even the south range of his own manor had been demolished since it was part of the walls. Edited by member, 7th Jan 2018 3:19 pm
City Wall and Gates
Roger Turner
Torksey
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27 of 39  Tue 9th Jan 2018 10:12pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2014  Total posts:509

Thank you MR and Helen F for the information. Obviously the material was handy close by to build it, but it was the 3 week demolition period that caught my eye. I can`t see even in modern times with JCBs and Monteverdis etc that it would be done and I`m sure it was all hand labour in those days, possibly with picks and crow bars, but even mortar joints can set pretty tough after 41 years. I got out my estimating fag packet and put a few calculations on the back of it. Length of wall 2.125 miles 11,220ft Less 12 Gate Houses - allow 30ft each 360ft Nett wall length 10,860ft Width 8ft Height 12ft 10,860 x 8 x 12 = 1,042,560 cu ft = 38,613 cu yds Avg weight Sandstone/mortar 135lb x 27 = 1.63 tons per cu yard Demolition 500 men x 3 weeks x 84 hrs (6am-6pm 7days) = 126,000 hrs Allow 25 hours hand labour demolition time per cu yard Assume half the height of wall only demolished - 38,613 = 19,306 cu yards x 15 hrs = 28,950 hrs I think somebody has been telling antique porkies - I`ll bet it took at least 6 months, and that`s all without carting away the debris and clearing site - if most of it was decent squared off stone, if I was the contractor I`d be selling it off Cheers
City Wall and Gates
Helen F
Warrington
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28 of 39  Wed 10th Jan 2018 10:21am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:957

Good points but what remains now, isn't the same as what remained then. Look at the 1750 Bradford map to see how much still stood after a 100 years of additional wall robbing. Bradford map Another thing that may have happened is the exterior dressed stone might have been stripped and the core left exposed. They may have undermined sections of the wall and toppled them into the ditch. The wall doesn't seem to have had foundations as we'd know them, they were often just sat on the soil or pilings so toppling was a viable method. It was a trick used of old to break into castles. Then the king's men would have removed the good stuff and the rest they left in the ditch and may still be there. They might have used gunpowder. They might have done deals with locals to help them or just demanded it (remember, Coventry was on the losing side). Random bits of the wall may have remained but quickly removed by the locals as they were pointless on their own. The demolition crew concentrated on the south, since that seems to have been the most accessible direction. The north was more protected by the nature of the land including boggy areas and the rivers. The Cheylesmore manor may have only been affected because it was between the Much Park Street and Greyfriars gates. There doesn't seem to be much evidence of crenellations after 1650, so that might have been part of the initial job, plus removing the defensive parts of the gatehouses. Sadly much of the wall was a victim of Coventry's own plans along with the buildings we know were lost to development. External attacks were only part of the story.
City Wall and Gates
baffled54
usa
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29 of 39  Sat 3rd Feb 2018 12:33am  
Member: Joined Aug 2013  Total posts:18

ajm

City Wall and Gates
Helen F
Warrington
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30 of 39  Fri 9th Feb 2018 10:33am  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:957

As most of you know, I'm trying to model the city and the model is now giving up evidence of its own. Two of the most iconic images of the city are the north and south prospects of the city by Wenceslaus Hollar. Zoomable copy of the images at the British Library If you zoom in to the Cook Street gate (left of centre, bottom view, labelled number 2), you see two fine round towers. This has led a great many people to assume, not unreasonably, that the gate had round towers. But I really don't think it did. 1) Only two gates were reliably drawn with side towers (Greyfriars and Spon Street). Gosford probably had them at one time but they were built into the Chapel. Newgate on the London road probably had them too but they'd gone by the time the Speed map was drawn. These were all the major gates, with the exception of Bishop Gate. So why did the most insignificant gate have a set? 2) The map doesn't show it having round towers. 3) The Hollar image was just before the wall was demolished. Now I could understand the towers being brought down as part of that process but if you look at the picture of the gate above, you'll notice that the ditch goes right up to the gate. There is no area that could have been the platform for a tower. Who would have recut the ditch AFTER the tower was demolished? 4) What I think the Hollar prospect shows is a corner tower about 30m away from the gate, where the wall turned towards Bishop Street. The next round tower to the right would be the one that was next to where the Post Office depot used to be. The square tower beyond that is what I think was an ammunition tower on Dogge Lane, a short way from the Bishop Street gate. I think he saw the round wall tower and the gate in line and thought they were together. He either added a second tower to the gate or there was another tower (maybe the Swanswell gate) that optically got merged into one. When he got back to his desk, the final draft looked like a grand gate with towers. So I think on balance that the Cook Street gate had no round towers. Edited by member, 9th Feb 2018 10:44 am
City Wall and Gates

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