Coventry in the Wars of England

Coventry has played a part in many conflicts over the centuries, most notably was the night of November 14 1940, when 400 German bombers 'blitzed' the city of Coventry during the Second World War with a concentrated incendiary attack. The resulting impact of such a devastating air raid reduced a large proportion of the city's factories, religious buildings and houses to rubble, including St Michael's Cathedral. The Ministry of Information chose to use the press to expose the senseless brutality of the Nazis' attack in an unusual break from convention for the country's normal, quiet responses. This brought global scorn on the enemy from countries around the world for its senseless deformation of religious buildings and private residencies that suffered under the attack. The city burned for days, but the strength of its people, the courage and determination to rise from its ashes, burned even stronger. This amazing act of courage and fortitude is symbolised in the main logo of Coventry University's phoenix, rising from the ashes to form anew.

If we travel back even further in time, during the outbreak of the English Civil War, Coventry became a stronghold of the Parliamentarian forces. On several occasions Coventry was attacked by Royalists, but each time they were unable to breach the strong fortified city walls. Coventry was used for confining Royalist prisoners. It is believed that the phrase "sent to Coventry" originates from the hostile attitude to either the troops there, or towards the Scottish Royalist prisoners held in the Church of St. John the Baptist following the Battle of Preston. Some theories even state that during the 16th century, supposed heretics were sent to Coventry for public burning and beheading. In 1662, after the restoration of the monarchy, in revenge for the support given to the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, the city walls were destroyed on the orders of King Charles II. When his son, King James II visited the city in 1687, he received a magnificent reception in an outward show of loyalty to the Crown, but within two years most of the same people were then celebrating the coming of William III of England.


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