The British Archaeological Association’s 2007 conference celebrated the material culture of medieval Coventry, the fourth wealthiest English city of the later middle ages. The nineteen papers collected in this volume set out to remedy the relative neglect in modern scholarship of the city’s art, architecture and archaeology, as well as to encompass recent research on monuments in the vicinity.
The scene is set by two papers on archaeological excavations in the historic city centre, especially since the 1970s, and a paper investigating the relationships between Coventry’s building boom and economic conditions in the city in the later middle ages. Three papers on the Cathedral Priory of St Mary bring together new insights into the Romanesque cathedral church, the monastic buildings and the post-Dissolution history of the precinct, derived mainly from the results of the Phoenix Initiative excavations (1999–2003). Three more papers provide new architectural histories of the spectacular former parish church of St Michael, the fine Guildhall of St Mary and the remarkable surviving west range of the Coventry Charterhouse.
The high-quality monumental art of the later medieval city is represented by papers on wall-painting (featuring the recently conserved Doom in Holy Trinity church), on the little-known Crucifixion mural at the Charterhouse, and on a reassessment of the working practices of the famous master-glazier, John Thornton. Two papers on a guild seal and on the glazing at Stanford on Avon parish church consider the evidence for Coventry as a regional workshop centre for high quality metalwork and glass-painting.
Beyond the city, three papers deal with the development of Combe Abbey from Cistercian monastery to country house, with the Beauchamp family’s hermitage at Guy’s Cliffe, and with a newly identified stonemasons’ workshop in the ‘barn’ at Kenilworth Abbey. Two further papers concern the architectural patronage of the earls and dukes of Lancaster in the 14th century at Kenilworth Castle and in the Newarke at Leicester Castle.
Click on the following link to see the table of contents.