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Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church

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Kevin D J D
Warwickshire
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16 of 24  Sun 24th Jan 2021 3:36pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2021  Total posts:5

Coventry Catholic Deanery The History of The Most Holy Sacrament and St. Osburg’s, Coventry. Page 3 of 18, The Background to St Osburg’s. The first settlement in what is now Coventry was the convent established by the Abbess, St Osburg, in Anglo Saxon times. It was destroyed by the Vikings and rebuilt as a monastery for men in 1043 by Lady Godiva and her husband Earl Leofric. It developed into a great Monastery and the Cathedral Church of Coventry – the only Cathedral destroyed by King Henry VIII. The site, to the left of Holy Trinity Church in Broadgate, has been carefully preserved by the City. There are a few remains of the other monasteries destroyed at the Reformation: The Whitefriars Carmelite Monastery (founded in 1342) at the beginning of the London Road; the Carthusian Priory of St Anne, founded in 1381, further along the London Road; and the Franciscan Monastery, of which only the spire remains, in New Union Street.
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Helen F
Warrington
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17 of 24  Sun 24th Jan 2021 5:38pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2425

Thanks Kevin, welcome to the forum Wave
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Rob Orland
Historic Coventry
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18 of 24  Wed 3rd Feb 2021 10:48am  
Webmaster: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:1499

I think we all agree, that St Osburg's church, as we all now know it, was first built in Coventry about 1843. But that isn't actually the church we are speaking of. The discussion is really about the Saxon nunnery, supposedly founded by Osburga, possibly in the 600s to 700s - almost all of which is supposition based on very little documented evidence at all. I wrote on this page about what was found in excavations just over 20 years ago, and drew the foundation stones that were unearthed, which just might have been from a church associated with the nunnery.
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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19 of 24  Sat 20th Feb 2021 10:52am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3508

Rob Or just from Leofric’s mill, we’re talking about 999 AD times and the only people that wrote in those days was the Domesday Book people, and it doesn't mention a church, so where do you get church from? Stones were hauled great distances in those days, could be from anywhere from that period, could have been part of the mill - there were mills all over the Midlands and hundred of stones, Corley Rocks for instance, they were there. Not being funny, Rob, but it's guesswork, except they can only a give you a time, date, period, nothing more, not where each stone came from or what building. Sorry, Rob.
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Helen F
Warrington
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20 of 24  Sat 20th Feb 2021 1:08pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2425

Kaga, a lot of early history is a mix of patchy religious records and archaeology. We can either choose to believe all of it or none of it until harder evidence turns up. The Domesday book is said to have drawn together existing records, which were probably created by the Saxon lords for the same purpose that William 1 used them for. The Domesday Book doesn't mention religious buildings in Coventry because it was a book of assets where income could be derived. So a mill charged for services. Land would supply wood, crops and animals. People were a source of labour. I'm not at all sure about the relationship between the Normans and the churches but I get the impression that they tended to install allies and relatives in existing leadership roles rather than sweeping the structures and people away. I'm not sure if the churches' assets were taxable (eg the mill). Coventry was a very small place in the Domesday book but significantly bigger if the monks, their peasants, lands and mills weren't recorded. Rob's reference to the location of Godiva and Leofric's church is highly possible.
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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21 of 24  Sun 21st Feb 2021 10:43am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3508

Helen, with relegion I don't wish to be rude, but what books do you read? Nothing to do with religion or taxes, he would create his own. But you’re wrong, the Domesday Book is believable as it was written in biograph form, read by the most knowledgeable people of high education, and still is. The only manuscripts written in the 11th century, they give the exact position of all the mints and wealth of England. It was the main reason for William I to invade us, he not only wanted to be king but he wanted our land, wealth and much more. He not only h ad the Domesday manuscripts wrote but made a picture story of his victory over England as well (Bayeux Tapestry). He was a very clever man, he waited for the English army under Harold to move north to fight the Vikings, then he sent his super power army across the channel to Sussex, 1066 but Leofric was an old man by that time, or dead. But, yes, he could have built a church. But now we have another problem, was there such a word as church in the 11th century, or did the word come in much later? And who made the shape of the Christian church, different from the pagan places that had been? Wink
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Helen F
Warrington
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22 of 24  Sun 21st Feb 2021 12:02pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2425

Kaga, there were records that predate the Normans. They would have been in Latin and come from the various clerics of Kings, Dukes and religious houses. Some have been translated and commented upon by scholars through the centuries. Tragically many early records were destroyed by religious purges because they were considered Catholic. Others are copies by intermediate scholars with or without changes. I know that the Domesday book wasn't wholly new because the information in it about Leofric was out of date - he was dead in 1057. His son had inherited some of his lands and others were in Godiva's hands by 1066 (albeit she had been reduced to tenant). I'm fairly sure that I've seen a discussion about it that said it wasn't a book created out of thin air. Some of Godiva's lands ended up in the hands of the Bishop of Lincoln so we know that they could hold land and profit from it. The Domesday is so special because it pulls those records together and documents them in the same way. It has also survived. There were monasteries and nunneries with churches or minsters in England (call them what you want but they're essentially the same thing) that predated the Normans by hundreds of years. We know this because parts of them survive and have been archaeologically dated. Others would be so simple that they would just look like a house and be impossible to identify (eg Lindisfarne's first church 'suitable for a Bishop' in about 661AD was wood and we know that because St Bede criticised that it wasn't built of stone). We know roughly what Norman churches looked like because some survive today and many others have been excavated. Some pre Norman religious houses and churches were destroyed by the Vikings in the north and east but others survived and were added to in the south and the west. Coventry was near the border but on the Christian side. Viking king Cnut converted to Christianity. Something which would be recorded in Papal records as well as ours. He set about by rebuilding some of what his armies had destroyed. Cnut, Leofric and Godiva are documented in multiple places doing that, so it's not relying on just one record. To muddy the waters however, there was more than one Godiva and different influential men who were called Leofric but only one who was the Duke of Mercia. How do I know these things? Only by reading or watching the research of others. If they got it wrong then so do I but we are all in that boat.
Nunnery of St Osburga & location of the original Church
Kaga simpson
23 of 24  Mon 22nd Feb 2021 9:30am  
Off-topic / chat  

Helen F
24 of 24  Mon 22nd Feb 2021 11:49am  
Off-topic / chat  


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