St. Marys Guildhall
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St. Marys Guildhall
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Timeline of Coventry’s medieval history

EXPERIENCE THE TAPESTRY
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Delve into medieval Coventry  

Follow our timeline to explore the rich medieval history of Coventry and the Guildhall.

1043 - 1342

1043
Godiva and Leofric founded Benedictine monastery on the site of the previous nunnery. 

1340
Founding of the merchants Guild of St Marys

1342
St Marys Guildhall built

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1392 - 1487

1392
The Merging of 4 guilds, including St Marys to form the Guild of the Holy Trinity. 

14th Century
Coventry is the 4th largest city in England, and has a thriving wool trade

1455-1487
War of the Roses – Coventry acts as the heart of the Lancastrian power structure.
Margaret of Anjou and Henry VI are entertained at the Guildhall 

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1460 - 1515

1460
The Guildhall’s long rebuild is finished. 

1485
Henry VII comes to Coventry following the Battle of Bosworth. 

1505 -1515
The Tapestry hanging in the Guildhall is believed to have been commissioned and made. The couple portrayed are thought to be Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou. 

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© National Portrait Gallery

1547 - 1605

1547
Dissolution of Guilds by Edward VI leads to the Dissolution of the Guild of the Holy Trinity, and the use of the Guildhall as a public/civic building. 

1569
Mary Queen of Scots imprisoned at the Guildhall, most likely in the Mayoress’ Parlour (Drapers room).

1605
Princess Elizabeth (Daughter of James I) brought into Coventry for safety following the Gunpowder Plot. She dined at the Guildhall.

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1642 - 1662

1642-1649
Guildhall used as armoury during The Civil War. 

1642 - 1649
The English Civil War 

1662
Charles II orders Coventry’s city walls to be destroyed 

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© Creative Commons/public domain
© Creative Commons/public domain

1755 - 1780

1755 - 1780
Mayor John Hewitt has the medieval floor torn up and replaced with a sprung wooden floor for dancing. The Medieval glass in the windows is replaced following a riot between local rival groups. 

1847
Frederick Douglass spoke on stage in the Great Hall, looking to raise money and support to end slavery. 

1859
Adam Bede by George Eliot was published, the court scene is believed to have been inspired by the Great Hall.

 

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1860 - 1940

1861
The Guildhall was made into a soup kitchen to feed the poor in Coventry. 

1939-1945
World War II leads to heavy aerial bombing of Coventry, most of the city is destroyed, including the Cathedral. 

1940
The Guildhall suffers minor damages during World War II. Luckily, the Tapestry, roof bosses, stained glass and other treasures had been removed for safe keeping. 

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1960 - 2022

1960
A new modern kitchen is installed, covering up and protecting the medieval one. 

2014
Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland visits the Guildhall on the first official state visit of an Irish President to the UK. 

2020-2022
The restoration of the Guildhall leads to its closure for a few years. Revealing parts of the original building that have been hidden. Allowing the full magnificence of the Coventry Tapestry to be revealed. 

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Opening to visitors from the 22nd July 2022
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