Coventry, Warwickshire

Holy Trinity Church, Coventry, Warwickshire

This is one of the largest medieval churches in England, a reflection of the importance at that time of Coventry as a religious centre. The church is first recorded in 1113. At that time it was built abutting the ancient medieval Priory of St. Mary, a Benedictine foundation who remains were discovered very recently by a Time Team excavation and now form a museum nearby.

The church was built as a place of worship for the tenants of the Priory who were not allowed to worship in the Priory Church at that time. Virtually all of this early church was destroyed by fire in 1257 and it has been rebuilt and enlarged frequently over the years subsequently. The spire is 237 feet high and the length of the church is 194 feet, comparable to a number of cathedrals.

During the religious upheavals of the Tudor period Holy Trinity lost its neighbour the Priory Church had previously become a Cathedral. Then Holy Trinity was converted to Protestantism and then later still it became a Puritan stronghold. Throughout this period a lot of its treasures were lost, or more likely sold off, leaving us with a rather sparse interior today.

Holy Trinity’s luck, however, continued to hold when most of the ancient churches of Coventry were lost during the terrible bombing of 1940. The Cathedral itself, a masterpiece of medieval craftsmanship was reduced to an empty shell, necessitating the building of today’s ultra-modern Coventry Cathedral. Holy Trinity came though unscathed and today forms the edge of the small but fascinating cluster of ancient Coventry buildings which sit around the Cathedral and survived both the Luftwaffe and the insidious 20th Century town planners who tore out much of the ancient city in the 1960s and 1970s.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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