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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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61 of 72  Sat 26th Jun 2021 2:15pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3413

Rob, You will have to give me time. I have never seen your drawing, or know anything or said anything about it, so where does that fit in with me? And do you think that Canute wasn't king of Mercia? Or he and his Vikings did not 'sack' the nunnery at Coventry in 1016? Yes, I did say Helen jumped from 11th century to the 13/14th century, that brings Cheylesmore into it.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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62 of 72  Sat 26th Jun 2021 3:18pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3413

Rob Tell me where you get your history from. Mine’s not just from books, I have visited every museum in London, some dozens of times, the Louvre twice, the Vatican twice, the Kipling Museum umpteen times, as well as the middle eastern sites and I have scores of notes. Rob, by some quirk of fate, this topic was started off by a book, that I thought odd. I don't have the book, but I believe you do, but to me not a Coventry story. I believe this is about Trafalgar Square in London, where the military were called out to break up a meeting, I believe it was the last few years of the Victorian era. If you have the time, can you tell me why I thought it odd.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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63 of 72  Sun 27th Jun 2021 11:11am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1491

Hi Kaga, I didn't want to get into a competition about who's read or travelled more - you win hands down with that. I've just read lots of books about Coventry, that's all - the authors are the ones who have researched all the original documents and kindly shared their results with us. The "drawing" thing isn't an issue - I was simply trying to make the point that, as far as I know, none exists from Leofric's times, so anything we see that shows him holding a charter is not contemporary, so does not prove anything. And where did I say that Canute wasn't king of Mercia? I didn't, I only questioned his personal appearance here in Coventry. I believe from what I've read that his forces who sacked our nunnery were led by Eadric Streona, the Ealdorman or Earl of Mercia, who was replaced by Leofric after his death. But if you have seen documents that show Cnut to have led his army here himself, then I'll be glad to learn from it. I'm confused by your last question about Trafalgar Square, Kaga. The book that began this topic is "Bloody Coventry" by David McGrory, which describes what we know about our castle. I'd love to know why you think it odd?
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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64 of 72  Sun 27th Jun 2021 12:19pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3413

Rob, Good because I didn't want to chase through endless books and notes for it. It wasn't an official document, more of a cartoon skit on the story, but it also claimed that the tolls/ taxes were lifted. In every battle about the Vikings, or even English battles, I've read the kings and generals all led from the front. In 1887 there was a meeting in Trafalgar Square, London. Cavalry troops moved in, two people were killed, many badly injured. The reporter called it 'Bloody Sunday', it went down in history as such, In 1832 when the Reform Bill was passed, a dreadful tumult ensued in Coventry, it was known as the 'Bloody tenth.' I wouldn't have expected a book on bloodshed in mediaeval times, considering the amount that went on - sounds odd to me.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Helen F
Warrington
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65 of 72  Sun 27th Jun 2021 1:29pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2877

We can't truly know anything that far into the past but we can make reasonable assessments of the truth based on contemporary records and logic. We have a concept of royalty and other leaders having a grand base somewhere where they lived the majority of the time but early leaders like Cnut and Leofric moved about a lot. 'Tax' a lot of the time was in the form of food, animals and services. It would be ruinous for small places to host royalty for ages. It was a long time before stewards or tenants were installed and money became the prime method of tax and land owners could settle in a few locations. Despite Coventry being a favourite home, Leofric wouldn't have been there much of the time eg he died at Kings Bromley. Mercia was a violent place, even prior to the Danelaw, and the kings treked about duffing up rivals. There were significant towns during the era of the Mercian kings but Coventry wasn't one of them and doesn't feature on the maps based on records of the times. Coventry wasn't directly on a Roman road. The river isn't navigable. Coventry wasn't one of the major diocese. Coventry wasn't listed as one of Alfred the Great's burh towns. Coventry isn't listed as the location of one of William I's first castle locations. All the indication are that Coventry wasn't at all important before Leofric and Godiva. Litchfield, Tamworth, Leicester and Warwick, yes but Coventry, no. If Coventry was the home of Mercian kings, how was it such a well kept secret? Mercian kings About burhs We can't say that Cnut never visited Coventry. There are some suggestions that Cnut founded the original St Mary's and that Leofric and Godiva just endowed it, favoured it and continued to donate riches to it. We do 'know' that Cnut gave a valuable religious relic to St Mary's. However even if Cnut founded the monastery, he may never have visited because he and his lords made a great effort to repay damages to the church and communities by rebuilding monasteries and churches his army had destroyed. Did he visit them all or send his representatives? Whether this was a genuine apology from Cnut or whether it was just diplomacy, we'll never know. Why would Cheylesmore be a fixed home? It's not by a river, it's not on a hill, it wasn't within the protection of the town's earliest defences (the Red Ditch cutting through Much Park Street may be pre Norman).
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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66 of 72  Mon 28th Jun 2021 9:07am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3413

Helen You are making this into some sort of a slanging match between us. What you have just written about Wikipedia is from old, tawdry history books like Pennant’s, most of which was in Wikipedia, was also in Pennant’s book that you told me I should not post comes from these books. What Wikipedia has done is just put them all together, whereas in my day they were old single books or notes. It was known that Cnut became a great friend of Leofric, of course he did, he was in the Midlands at least thirty years before Leofric. Cnut was a pagan, wild warrior that had no qualms about killing, but religion was sweeping Europe, and he needed guidance and help to change, hence Leofric. Now there were pockets of Mercia that were Danelaw from long before Cnut came, going back to King Alfred's day. As some historians wrote, Mercia was not just a place, it was more where Saxon language was spoken. London was Mercia, and Leofric had no say there. There was a Leofric in Exeter more important than Coventry's, he left poems and writings in the church. Yes, there were tolls and tax in those days as well as goods. We cannot say Godiva’s ride was a fake, everyone used horses, mostly bareback and astride, and with the long unruly tresses of the day, it was better than coat or scarf. She was a nagging wife, he set her a task he thought she would not accept, but maybe, just maybe, she did. Returning to Pennant’s book, most, if not all, can be proved correct, so why doubt his king’s licence to build the city walls, that’s not been mentioned yet, and more still started in 1355 and most pulled down in 1661 wall and towers. The great wall was armed by the Earl of Warwick against Edward IV in 1470. He also states before the wall in very ancient times a castle on the fourth side of Coventry near Cheylesmore park, that fell to the Earls of Chester, in its place a wooden Manor House was built.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Helen F
Warrington
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67 of 72  Mon 28th Jun 2021 12:41pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2877

Hardly a slanging match Kaga, just a fundamental disagreement. There's nothing wrong with quoting old books but to give their details credibility they have to be backed up with logic, archaeology and even other old books. Pennant didn't live in Coventry, he just passed through. Why would he know better than the many modern Coventry history experts? While nobody can say for sure where the castle was, all the evidence is that it was in the centre, not least that it was called Coventry castle and not Cheylesmore castle. English Heritage link A good book by a significant Coventry archaeologist Ian Soden, includes a summary of the excavations at Cheylesmore in Coventry the Hidden History page 199. He does not call it a castle or indicate it predates the Normans. He suggests, based on various threads of evidence that it was built by the last direct descendant of the Earls of Chester, Ranulf de Blondeville. Archaeology indicates that the manor was laid over a late 12th, early 13th century ridge and furrow landscape. Link to eBay copy
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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68 of 72  Mon 28th Jun 2021 3:24pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3413

Helen, No, better if you have eye witnesses, that can write things down as they happen. Coventry historians have to rely on people like Pennant, because so much has been lost since he was around. Well, Soden, he's just about 500 years behind Pennant, he has no idea if there has been excavations before him, or land movement of 500 years ago and no wood can last that time (unless living). Coventry had two large pools in Greyfriars Green in the 19th century fed by springs. Between Much Park Street (and the rebuild after the Blitz) and Greyfriars Green, what material do you think they would find in a wet sodden ground of 19 centuries age. So, tell me if he found anything of that age in Cheylesmore. Archeology has little going for it in rain soaked Coventry, and few historians in the ancient days near Coventry. Why did he not try where ruins of a castle were found near Coventry? Like I posted, Pennant was a very good historian, as proved by history, probably copied by Wikipedia, like the Coventry Cross. He did see the ruins, saw the documents from the sale of materials for such, every year he travelled, getting info for his books (I wouldn't knock him until he's proved wrong) but now you can't do that, for there seems to be only one copy of his book remaining.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Helen F
Warrington
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69 of 72  Mon 28th Jun 2021 4:28pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2877

"better if you have eye witnesses, that can write things down as it happens." Except Pennant wasn't there either. His book was published in 1782, not 500 years before Soden, but over 700 years after Godiva and Leofric. If you got the book, you'd know that Soden quotes documents older than Pennant's book. He has access to Dugdale, Leland, the translated Leet books, a record of the Post Mortem Inquisition of Robert de Montalt in 1275, a Fine in 1327, etc. None of the references call it a castle. Archaeology in Pennant's day couldn't date stuff the way they can now. It was very poor by modern standards of care and documentation. The large pool near Greyfriars gate was a horse pool and some distance from the Cheylesmore manor. As you should know if you'd studied the 1749 map, which predated Pennant's book. The 1656 map from Dugdale's book doesn't show a pool at all. There is plenty of archaeology from the town centre but because the area has been rebuilt many times, there isn't a clear footprint of an obvious castle but there are lots of bits of one. Under the County Court is one likely place but they're not going to get permission the knock it down to look underneath. JB Shelton did some extensive excavations while they were clearing land for Trinity Street and Owen Owen and also after the war in Broadgate and Derby Lane but he found nothing that conclusively pinpointed a castle. Cheylesmore is different, in that for many years there was very little there. They did find post holes for scaffolding and even a bucket that still had mortar in it from the building of the city wall. Digs now always precede new building works. Unfortunately they can only successfully dig for ancient buildings in areas without subsequent modern buildings with deep foundations. Try reading some more modern books on Coventry's archaeology and detailed history before you try to argue your corner. A link to JB Shelton's articles about his excavations.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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70 of 72  Tue 29th Jun 2021 3:52pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1898

I have just found in my collection that I have a copy of "The Antiquities of Coventry", a collection made by John Jones in 1754 of the Coventry facts from Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire 1656. It is difficult to read as it is in what I think is old English and it is a tatty copy which has been bound just to hold the pages together. I have found that there is an ebook on Google books that can be read for free - Antiquities of Coventry. In this book Cheylesmore is only ever referred to as the Manor House. Reading the passage on page 8 I interpret it as the castle coming within the boundaries of the Earl’s part, not the Manor House but the castle by Broadgate. I have also found another description online regarding Robert Marmion, who was engaged in the assault on Coventry Castle, Helen, by Ranulf Earl of Chester. He expelled the monks from nearby St Mary's Priory and made its stone building into a fortified base for launching attacks on the castle. He had ditches dug in front of the Priory to impede his opponents. When the Earl arrived with a relieving force in September 1144 Marmion went out with his men to confront them but was thrown from his horse, landed in one of his ditches, was immobilised by a broken thigh and beheaded by a soldier. If he was launching an attack on the castle from the priory it is more likely that the castle was the one in the centre of Coventry. Mentioning Marmion, Tamworth Castle plays an important part in the history of Mercia. Marmion family held Tamworth Castle 1100 to 1294, but Offa, mentioned in other posts, built the original Tamworth Castle. Various charters were issued from there, the first in 781. It was rebuilt by Aethelfaeda but was sacked by the Danes in 943.There are records to show that the Mercian royal families spent many Easters and Christmases at Tamworth from 751 to 857, staying there more than any other place. Tamworth always calls itself Capital of Mercia. I have not checked but I would think that in those times Tamworth was probably more important than Coventry.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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71 of 72  Tue 29th Jun 2021 4:11pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1898

Another thing that crossed my mind while thinking about this was road names. I would imagine that most streets or areas at those times were what the local people called them and over time the names would stick. I don't imagine the local council sent their man out (sorry 4 men out one to drive the cart, one to hold the horse, one to put up a sign and one to supervise) in his high vis tunic to put up a street sign in Broadgate. It would be the wives standing talking about her who is no better than she ought to be who lives up by the Broadgate! Street names would have come in much later when populations grew and it was necessary to make it easier to identify places.
Buildings - Coventry Castle
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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72 of 72  Tue 29th Jun 2021 4:27pm  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1491

Excellent observations there Anne, I can't disagree with any of it!
Buildings - Coventry Castle

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