The Spon End Wakes Week
BY KEVIN NOBLE
The origins of the Spon End Wakes Week are unclear but there are
records of an annual Wakes Week taking place more than 200 years ago including a vigil
commemorating the dedication of St John the Baptist Church.
It is believed that the traditional date for the
Wakes Week was 10 July and this would have later coincided with the Coventry industrial
In the 1700's the Wakes was a religious festival and
holiday but by the 1800's it had became a festival of fairs with people journeying from
neighbouring parishes to join in the merry-making, revelry and hospitality for which it
At its high point the Wakes Week culminated with a
procession of flags attended by a lady on horseback re-enacting Lady Godiva, pony races,
flower shows and an ox roasting. At the 19th century Wakes the King of Spon End, Charles
Lilly, a kind man and Director of the Poor Relief Board used to hold 'court' at the Black
Horse and other local inns, adjudicating in local disputes, issued drinking challenges and
rarely being beaten.
In the late 1870s there was a rapid decline, with
hawkers and pedlars and other amusements barred - the fair thus gradually came to an end
and the holiday festivities ceased.
The Spon End Wakes Week is being revived in
July 1999 - for more information contact Sarah Fergusson, Festival Committee
Chair 01203 230606.
RELATED NEWS: [21 FEB 99] SPON END
WAKES WEEK PLANNING UNDERWAY