Visit Coventry and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
In 1951 an open architectural competition for a new cathedral was won by Basil Spence, since knighted. The new cathedral, which draws thousands of visitors from all over the world, has been acclaimed as one of the most striking examples of modern architecture. The first impression of a long cliff of rosy sandstone with vertical lines suggesting Gothic buttresses is unforgettable, especially for visitors who have not seen this delicately coloured stone before; the canopied link between the entrance to the new church and the charred walls of the old is a gesture of genius. Going in through John Hutton's engraved glass doors, the eye is at once held by a suggestion of great length. Yet the nave is only 270 ft long and 80 ft wide. The interior is coloured by deep greens, golden yellows, rose and vivid reds, blues and sombre purples from the splendid glass, mostly stretching from floor to ceiling, These glass windows, conceived and executed by Laurance Lee, Geoffrey Clarke and Keith New, with the Great Baptistry window by John Piper, have done much to give back to England her medieval fame for stained glass. Everything seems to culminate, as Sir Basil Spence intended it should, on the massive block of the altar stone surmounted by Geoffrey Clarke's metal abstraction of Cross and Crucified. The final focal point is the 75-ft-high tapestry designed by Graham Sutherland and woven in France, representing in almost Byzantine terms the Redeeming Saviour of the World. The green background sets off the muted whites, reds and purples woven into Christ's robes and the four medallions of Evangelists. Between the feet of Christ stands Man, diminutive, yet thrust against the background with dynamic force. The chapels are all designed to have the same sense of immediacy and involvement in modern life. Notable is the Chapel of Christ the Servant, with its maps giving the names and positions of all the industrial plants of Coventry. The Chapel of Unity has for its theme understanding among all races and religions. Finally, the visitor is likely to be impressed by the rugged Epstein bronzes of St Michael and the force of Evil, two separate figures, outside the cathedral, against the walls immediately to the right of the flight of steps leading up to the entrance to the cathedral.
Few buildings remain from the medieval city. Most important of these is the Church of Holy Trinity, facing the new Precinct and thus immediately behind the cathedral. The proximity of two such important churches as the old destroyed St Michael's and Holy Trinity is a reflection of a medieval feud when the townspeople were roughly divided between the prior and the earl and were continually at loggerheads. Particularly splendid are the timbered ceilings, the l5th-century brass eagle lectern and pulpit of the same period. The other historic place of worship deserving mention is the Collegiate Church of St John the Baptist first built by the wife of Edward II. Nearby stand two black-and-white gabled houses. Bond's Hospital is the more important, facing the north side of St John's. Founded by a Coventry draper, Thomas Bond, in 1506 for the care of 12 elderly poor men, it still possesses some excellent period furniture. The other house is Bablake School alongside Hill Street and has a history much antedating its conversion to a school for boys. The only other medieval buildings of consequence, apart from two well-preserved city gates, is St Mary's Hall in Bayley Lane. It was built in 1340 as the hall of the Merchant's Guild. It possesses, as well as some fine early stained glass, a superb tapestry of the late 15th century depicting the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin with the kneeling figure of Henry VII and his wife. There is also a minstrel gallery.
Nearby cities: Birmingham
Nearby towns: Atherstone, Coleshill, Hinckley, Kenilworth, Knowle, Lutterworth, Nuneaton, Royal Leamington Spa, Rugby, Solihull, Warwick
Nearby villages: Allesley, Ansty, Ashow, Astley, Baginton, Bedworth, Berkeswell, Birdingbury, Bourton on Dunsmore, Brandon, Bubbenhall, Bulkington, Canley, Corley, Fillongley, Foleshill, Frankton, Frankton, Great Packington, Hatton, Honiley, Keresley, Leek Wootton, Lillington, Little Packington, Maxstoke, Meriden, Over Whitacre, Princethorpe, Royal Leamington Spa, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Shelford, Shrewley, Spon End, Stivichall, Stoneleigh, Stretton under Fosse, Temple Balsall, Tile Hill, Walsgrave on Sowe, Withybrook, Wolston, Wolvey, Wyken
Have you decided to visit Coventry or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Coventry bed and breakfast (a Coventry B&B or Coventry b and b)
- a Coventry guesthouse
- a Coventry hotel (or motel)
- a Coventry self-catering establishment, or
- other Coventry accommodation