AUG 00] HERITAGE OPEN DAYS FACTFILE
20 Things You
Should Know About...
Cheylesmore Manor And Birth, Marriages and Deaths In Coventry
COVENTRY AND WARWICKSHIRE PROMOTIONS
- Parts of
Cheylesmore Manor, Coventry's register office, date back to 1250,
and it is the oldest building in Britain to be used for such a
purpose. What survives is the gatehouse.
- Edward the Black
Prince and Henry VI were among the royal to live there until the
Prince Regent, later George IV, disposed of the manor to the
Marquis of Hertford in 1798 –supposedly after a bet between the
two men, gambling on which of two caterpillars would reach the end
of a leaf first.
- Remnants of the
main house survived the Second World War, but were demolished in
1955. Ancient roof timbers found their way into a pub restoration
at Berkswell in Warwickshire.
- Among the
celebrities to have exchanged vows at Cheylesmore Manor are Second
World War air ace Douglas Bader, Hollies singer Alan Clark and
comedian Freddie Starr.
- Its records for
births feature a number of famous Coventrians, notably jet pioneer
Frank Whittle and the poet Philip Larkin.
- Also recorded are
the great Victorian actress Ellen Terry and current star of stage
and screen Sir Nigel Hawthorne.
- St George, patron
saint of England, doesn't feature in the records, but it was
Edward III, owner of Cheylesmore Manor, who gave him a Coventry
birthplace and family background back in the 14th century.
- The city was also
the birthplace of the athlete and broadcaster David Moorcroft and
pop impresario Pete Waterman.
Shakespeare was said to have jilted a Coventry woman on the eve of
their wedding to marry Anne Hathaway.
- Sarah Siddons,
the great 18th century actress, was married at Holy Trinity Church
in Coventry in November 1773.
- Three years
earlier, a Bill was brought before Parliament to forbid any woman
from 'betraying into matrimony' any of His Majesty's subjects by
means of artificial teeth, iron stays, high-heeled shoes or
- In April 1900,
Coventry sweethearts William Riley and Ellen Simkins created a new
national fashion by using a motor car for their wedding.
afterwards William Drakeford, a Daimler worker in the city, became
the first person in Britain to be taken to his final rest by motor
- Richard III is
believed to have ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower
while spending Christmas in Coventry.
- In 1665 the spire
of Holy Trinity Church, weakened by an earthquake, collapsed in a
storm, killing a small boy who was passing at the time.
He is buried in the churchyard.
- Among the more
bizarre deaths registered in Coventry was that of William Wombwell,
gored to death by an elephant at the Great Fair in 1849.
- The same year,
Mary Ball went to the gallows in the city for poisoning her
husband. Her death, the last public execution in Coventry, was
witnessed by more than 10,000 people.
- The writer EM
Forster, who wrote the classics A Passage to India and
Howard's End, died in a house in Styvechale in Coventry in 1970.
- The ashes of John
Hutton, creator of Coventry Cathedral's great West Screen, lie
buried beneath his great work. It is said that the chemicals he used in etching the
screen may have hastened his death.
- Among the records
kept at Cheylesmore Manor are special registers listing the war
dead in Coventry in 1940, including a family of nine from a single