AUG 00] HERITAGE OPEN DAYS FACTFILE
Church Is No Shrinking Violet
find the oldest building standing in the city boundaries, you have to
leave the city centre and travel to the “sinking church.”
church of St Mary Magdalen in Wyken Croft dates back to the 12th
century, and has its strange nickname because locals were convinced it
OLD BUT NOT
SHRINKING, ST MARY MAGDALEN
had been convinced that they used be able to see the church from the
Coventry to Walsgrave Road, but it had since slipped out of the line
showed that the church hadn’t moved at al, but it is one of the
tales that gives the church a unique atmosphere.
much of its time it has been serving a tiny community, isolated from
the hustle and bustle of Coventry’s city life.
recently as 1910 there were just 260 people living in Wyken, and St
Mary Magdalen was known as the “church in the fields”.
this isolation means that it has escaped “improvements” throughout
are examples of Norman windows, a 12th century font bowl and a rare
sacramental cupboard. The walls are one metre thick.
origin is shrouded in mystery. It is thought to have been built by
Ranulf, Earl of Chester as one of four chapels for the monks of Coombe
those days they would have to travel there by boat, across pools and
are few concrete facts about the early days, but the tower and bell
are both dated at around 1420.
of the rarest treasures is a 1480 wall painting on the north wall of
the nave. It was only uncovered in the 1950s when electric lights were
being fitted and shows St Christopher carrying Christ across a river.
had been plastered over during the Reformation.
Wyken started to grow, the church was deemed too small, but instead of
replacing it, another church was built next
- the Church of the Risen Christ.