AUG 00] HERITAGE OPEN DAYS FACTFILE
Came Tumbling Down At Swanswell
of the last remaining bastions of Coventry’s medieval defences will
be seen at this year’s Heritage Open Days.
Gate is one of two remaining gates that provided the city with its
link to the outside world.
medieval times, the city walls were an impressive sight to strangers.
was one of the richest and most powerful cities in the country, and in
1355 work began to build defences worthy of its stature.
continued until the early 16th century. Various town notables
requested that the design be change to include their property.
1450 the city authorities decided that there should be a metal
portcullis to protect against attack.
people of the city put the gates to good use during the Wars of Roses,
refusing Edward IV entrance to the town. They were led by the Earl of
Warwick, who died weeks later.
returned to the city and stripped it of many of its rights as a
punishment, and imposed a heavy fine.
lesson didn’t stay with the populace. 170 years later, in 1642,
Charles I tried to force his way through the wall.
gunners managed to blast their way through, only to be greeted by the
people of the city hurling everything they could find into the gaps to
drive the soldiers away.
II decided that the walls had to go, and sent the Earl of Northampton
to breach them in 1662.
a few sections survived, and many of them became hidden by later
developments. They survived the bombing and became visible for the
first time in years when large sections of the city were cleared to
make way for the ring road.
there are just surviving two gates – Swanswell and Priory – but
much of the original route can be followed.
Swanswell Gate was converted to a home and a workshop in the 1820s,
and currently is empty. It expected to be refurbished soon and let as
a retail unit after the previous occupant, a potter, left two years
of the walls will be run for the Heritage open Days weekend by local
historian Joe Davies. They will start at 11am and 2pm on both days.
They will take 1.5 hours.
gate itself will be open between 11am and 5pm each day.
Work begins on town wall
metal portcullises put in
townsfolk combine to keep out Edward IV
Charles I is also refused entry
Charles II sends the Earl of Northampton to destroy much of the walls
Spon Gate demolished
Swanswell Gate converted to a workshop