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Situated on the River Sherbourne, the city of Coventry was first granted city status during the Middle Ages. The city was important due to the cloth and textiles industry three.

The first documented event in Coventry was in 1016, when King Canute and his army of Vikings invaded the town, along with other nearby towns and villages, and sacked the settlement of Coventry, destroying the Saxon nunnery there. In 1043, the nunnery would be rebuilt as a Benedictine monastery by Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva.

The river was the source of much of Coventry’s prosperity as it powered mills and its numerous mills. In addition, the vast forest provided fuel and building materials, and the quarry was good for stone. Later, the lush grazing land lent itself to sheep farming and the production of wool. By the 13th century, Coventry’s dyers were known far and wide for their “Coventry blue” cloth.

During the English Civil War, royalist prisoners were imprisoned in Coventry. In the summer of 1642, the King, accompanied by more than 6,000 soldiers on horseback, arrived at the city gates in an attempt to take Coventry. The townspeople helped the garrison repel the king’s men.

On the night of November 14, 1940, large swathes of the city were destroyed in a blitz by the Nazis. Most of Coventry’s historic city centre was ravaged, 568 people were killed, and more than 4,300 homes were razed. Additionally, 75% of the factories were badly damaged. In April of 11941, the city was struck again, bringing the total number of dead to 1,236 and injured to 1,746.


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