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St Mary's Guildhall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Mary's Guildhall
St Marys Hall -Coventry -8o08.jpg
The entrance to St Mary's Hall in Bayley Lane
LocationCoventry, West Midlands
Coordinates52°24′28″N 1°30′28″W / 52.4077°N 1.5078°W / 52.4077; -1.5078
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated5 February 1955
Reference no.1116402
Location of St Mary's Guildhall in West Midlands county

St Mary's Hall is a municipal building in Bayley Lane in Coventry, West Midlands, England. It is a Grade I listed building.[1]


The archway entrance to the guildhall in 1810
The entrance now

The building was built in the Medieval style between 1340 and 1342 and much altered and extended in 1460.[1]

The guildhall originally served as the headquarters of the merchant guild of St Mary, and subsequently of the united guilds of the Holy Trinity, St Mary, St John the Baptist and St Katherine. Following the suppression of the chantries and religious guilds under King Edward VI in 1547, for a time it served as the city's armoury and as its treasury (until 1822),[2] as well as the headquarters for administration for the city council (until the Council House opened in 1920).[3]

In November 1569, following the Catholic Rising of the North, Mary, Queen of Scots was rushed south from Tutbury Castle to Coventry.[4][5] Elizabeth I sent a letter, instructing the people of Coventry to look after Mary.[6] She suggested that Mary be held somewhere secure such as Coventry Castle. However, by that time the castle was too decayed and Mary was instead first held at the Bull Inn, Smithford Street before being moved to the Mayoress's Parlour in St Mary's Guildhall. Following the defeat of the rebels, Mary was once more sent north to Chatsworth in May 1570.[7]

On 3 April 1604 Princess Elizabeth and her ladies rode from Coombe Abbey to Coventry. She heard a sermon in St Michael's Church and dined in St Mary's Hall.[8]

George Eld, mayor of Coventry (1834–5) was an antiquarian who encouraged appreciation of Coventry's ancient buildings. He initiated the restoration of the fourteenth-century interior of the mayoress's parlour.[9]

In 1861, the artist David Gee painted The Godiva Procession Leaving St Mary's Hall, which is now on display in the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry.[10]

Restoration work by the council received the approval of the committee of the Coventry City Guild in 1930. Improvements had included the repair of the door at the north entrance to the crypt and providing glass and grilles in the windows of the fore crypt. Outside the crumbling exterior stonework was stabilized.[11] The building also has a vaulted undercroft which is currently used as a restaurant.[12]

The building retains a collection of royal portraits from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, arms and armour, fine stained glass and one of the country's most important tapestries dating from circa 1500.[13] Works of art include a portrait by John Shackleton of King George I,[14] a portrait by Godfrey Kneller of Queen Caroline of Ansbach[15] and a marble statue by William Calder Marshall of Lady Godiva.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Historic England. "St Mary's Hall, Coventry (1116402)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  2. ^ Fox (1957), pp. 96, 101, 175.
  3. ^ Historic England. "Council House, Coventry (1342927)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Mary, Queen of Scots: England". Marie Stuart Society. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Step inside Coventry's Guildhall". BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. BBC. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  6. ^ Pearce, Matt. "Mary Queen of Scots". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Mary, Queen of Scots: Residences 1568-1587". Elizabeth I. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  8. ^ John Nichols, Progresses of James the First, vol. 1 (London, 1828), p. 429.
  9. ^ Potier, Joanne (2004). ‘Eld, George (1791–1862)’. Oxford University Press.
  10. ^ Reader offers: Coventry Telegraph 26 November 2001
  11. ^ The Times, News in Brief, 16 April 1930
  12. ^ Pearce, Matt. "Home". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  13. ^ Pearce, Matt. "The Coventry Tapestry". Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  14. ^ Shackleton, John. "George I (1660–1727)". Art UK. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  15. ^ Kneller, Godfrey. "Queen Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1683–1737)". Art UK. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  16. ^ Marshall, William Calder. "Godiva". Art UK. Retrieved 24 August 2020.

External links

Media related to St Mary's Guildhall at Wikimedia Commons

This page was last edited on 17 May 2021, at 19:32
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