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Coventry's origins

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Helen F
Warrington
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76 of 89  Mon 19th Apr 2021 12:58pm  
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William and Cnut had a lot in common. They did things to both pacify and terrify the locals into submission. Leofric was a war lord capable of diplomacy and logic, so Cnut took him on as a local ally. Lords were not 'nice' but some were better than others. Some communities were more favoured than others. Coventry was most likely amongst those favoured due to the couple's attachment. The king and the lords all took from the ordinary people as part of their ownership. 'Taxes' would have been of food, produce, labour and even healthy men (for soldiers). In return the lords supplied justice, planning (like increasing arable land), defence and less hardship than if they disobeyed. The stories about the taxes and Godiva's ride were made up later so you can't judge Leofric by them. Real monetary taxes were generally aimed at the better off. I think I read that the Godiva story was in reaction to a tax on horses long after the couple were dead. Gloucester and Worcester were not favoured at all as Cnut ordered Leofric to sack the cities for resistance to his demands. Leofric complied with efficiency and I doubt the people of that area remembered him fondly. Clearing more land for food seems like a no brainer but there was a fine balance between manpower and mouths to feed. Each person could physically only manage so much land. Making land suitable for growing crops was hard work with initially nothing to show for it. Planting more seed meant less seed to eat. The further from a settlement, the harder it was to protect against animals, pests and thieves. The non cleared land had value already in wood, wild animals and fodder for animals over winter. Coventry's land wasn't the easiest to grow crops on and the city didn't boom until the weaving took off. Coventry's land and climate was great for grass and because of that it was great for sheep and excellent wool. It was the Catholic Church that created that successful market, even as it grew rich taking the bulk of the income from their people. The excuse was that the Church was managing the money for the poor to ensure that there was spare for hard times. Plus the Church invested in the people's spiritual future, which was incalculable. It was just an accident that the poor stayed poor and the Church grew obscenely rich. Roll eyes At the time the lord's people did better because they could keep greater amounts of income for their work. Hard times were to return however with diseases and famines pretty much halving Coventry's peak population and keeping it there until the Civil War. This period of increasing poverty in the wool towns was what the Church had warned about although it's debatable how much of the Church's wealth it would have shared with the needy even had the Dissolution not happened. The debate about how much we are made to set aside and how much we sort ourselves out has rolled on ever since.
Coventry's origins
argon
New Milton
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77 of 89  Mon 19th Apr 2021 2:07pm  
Member: Joined Jun 2016  Total posts:338

Shouldn't we view history as a case of slow evolution to the point that we have now reached. Mainly a case of trial and error and actions at any one time cannot be judged out of that time as ethics and standards keep changing with time. We can't view past decisions by our present standards and can only learn from past decisions.
Coventry's origins
Helen F
Warrington
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78 of 89  Mon 19th Apr 2021 3:13pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2523

I agree argon. What amazes me is how some things echo down the ages and seem to be inherent in our nature. I can't decide if our history formed our national personality or our national personality influenced our history. Both I suppose. Edited by member, 19th Apr 2021 3:14 pm
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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79 of 89  Thu 29th Apr 2021 5:48pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3565

Becks mill was alongside the river and mill pool. Back in the 11th century Leofric had lived in a mill, and one can imagine the river turning a huge wheel to grind corn and most likely it would have been built on a raft of elm tree logs, as most were in ancient times. But in the early 19th century the steam engines arrived, so why not harness the water for power for the factory? They ran looms, pumped water from mines, hammer work in smithies. It’s an engine of about 10 tons, sits on a brick built base, an 8ft long nodding beam is connected to two cylinders at one end producing about 16 hp, the other end, two huge rotating wheels, one ten foot across and the smaller six foot, the smaller transmits its power along a fan belt to a beam which runs along the ceiling. The beam rotates and so carries power across the museum. Many lathes work from it. I believe there's one in the Birmingham Museum laying idle, but Berlin bought one from Sussex, got it working again, to the delight of visitors. Victorian craftsman at its best.
Coventry's origins
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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80 of 89  Thu 29th Apr 2021 8:50pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1775

For anyone interested in steam powered beam engines, Abbey Pumping Station in Leicester is well worth a visit.
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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81 of 89  Sun 2nd May 2021 9:43am  
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Saxon times 1040 When Coventry held about fifty scattered villagers, a priest, mill, manor house. When the whole of the woods of the Midlands were covered in deep dense forests, and Saxon and Danish territories lived side by side, but Danish law and Danish King Alfred the Great seemed to be the person who formed them into districts/parishes. Each Parish had to pay a tax fee to the Earl or Lord of the Manor. Stoneleigh Forest was four miles long and two miles wide, it could feed and sustain 2,000 pigs, and other game. By near Victorian times the Council became the lords and and the tax was now called wroth money.
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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82 of 89  Sun 2nd May 2021 11:02am  
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I have to post this way as I keep losing my posts. I doubt there was a tax on horses, as oxen did some of the work. Leofric never sacked anywhere, he was a Christian sent to build and spread the Christian faith, with the aid of the monks, and the backing of papal support. Oxen were still used in 1922 in the south. Coventry was well know for its wetlands, so grass was rich and plentiful, the seed they used was inferior seed, and villages were only allowed so much he could handle. Slaves worked in the household of the rich, prisoners taken in battle, or prisoners of robbery or such or not paying his tax, a court could make him a slave. It was possible to buy a slave in any town. The thane (nobleman) would provide the cottagers with land, with a cottage and tools, in return they would work for him two days a week, and three days a week reaping at harvest time. They paid no rent, the only thing they needed money for was to pay the dues to the church. He would be helped by the thane with animals and so many acres, to start in life, the same as the cottagers. His surplus he could sell or barter, once a year in the market. The villeins, as they were called, set the thane free from work, he paid a hundred shillings a year either to the thane or the king for the land. The thane had to protect the king’s messengers, look after the bridges, etc, do court duties once a month. England was divided up into earldoms, they into shires, and shires into hundreds, so called because it held a hundred hides, and a hide was the amount of land that could sustain a family, but they were old Saxon terms, and changed as more land was cleared and population soared.
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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83 of 89  Wed 5th May 2021 11:19am  
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The few houses of an area near Coventry in the 11th century could not oppose the Vikings, so the Vikings ravaged the area, and some settled down there and it became a Danish area, and the Danes named it Fole... something that was their government building, and it became Foleshill. Over time the Saxons mixed in with them, but it still kept the Danish name. Another Danish word that stuck with us was to go 'berserk', for that was what the Danish were called in the height of a battlefield. Cnut (Canute) ruled the Midlands and the north, until his death in 1035. His son Harold eventually became king, led the English army, and destroyed the last Viking raid at York in 1066, three weeks before the English army were destroyed, Harold killed by the Normans and William became King. But everyone in that era was in fear of God.
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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84 of 89  Wed 5th May 2021 5:10pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3565

Due to the felling of trees, it made travel easier and so the kings and queens reached Coventry more often. They also found iron ore in the 16th century, the Iron Age of Birmingham and Coventry (that hadn't been used since Roman days). The blast furnace was reborn - without going into much detail, the iron making expanded rapidly, MHW became one of Coventry's top firms in domestic ironwork, decorative cast-iron fire-backs in an immense variety of designs. Charcoal burning was established, the Sherbourne was wider and swifter, there would have been iron mills and the whole shire held a Saxon air. Coventry had Ironmonger Row with emblems in cast iron, Butcher Row, and with Lady Godiva and the three spires Coventry would do well to keep the precious stories of our heritage alive.
Coventry's origins
Primrose
USA
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85 of 89  Fri 7th May 2021 2:10am  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:177

Cnut was indeed succeeded by his son Harold. This was Harold l or Harold Harefoot. He died in 1040. It was Harold ll, son of Earl Godwin of Wessex, who was defeated by William of Normandy in 1066. Edited by member, 7th May 2021 2:24 am
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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86 of 89  Fri 7th May 2021 11:07am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3565

Primrose, hello It was a hard battle and could have gone either way, William was the better soldier. The locals still find bits of artefacts, and the village of Battle is a pleasant piece of England.
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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87 of 89  Fri 7th May 2021 11:33am  
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Primrose, Before they built Sewall Highway 1930ish, the Great Heath of Stoke spread from Bell Green Roadto Walsgrave Road. In summer it had great bushes of gorse that cast a glorious riot of gold across Courthouse Green, full of skylarks, that gave beautiful song - they could stay in the sky for about five minutes, singing their hearts out - and all round Foleshill was this golden heathland. If only?
Coventry's origins
PhilipInCoventry
Holbrooks
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88 of 89  Fri 7th May 2021 12:14pm  
Moderator: Joined Apr 2010  Total posts:3573

Hi Primrose, This is an aerial photo recorded in the twenties, showing part of the land that Sewall Highway crossed. Look carefully, you can see Wyken Parish church, in the middle distance is the ruin of Wyken Grange. Hope you like. Also, map to go with it.
Coventry's origins
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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89 of 89  Fri 7th May 2021 12:25pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3565

Primrose I forgot to answer the part of your post. Yes, of course it was his Harold II - the first died very young with some disease, and although he became king he was a illicit son of his first wife foisted on Knut, wasn't sure he was Knut’s son, so I left him out.
Coventry's origins

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