9 Things you never knew about old Coventry Cathedral (St Michael’s)

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1)   Coventry has three cathedrals, all be seen today - the ruins of St Mary’s, destroyed by Henry VIII, St Michael’s, blitzed in November 1940, and Sir Basil Spence’s new cathedral, consecrated in 1962.
 

2)   St Michael’s church originated as a chapel, possibly associated with the site of Coventry Castle which was located to the south of the cathedral.
 

3)   Although with its origins in the 12th century, St Michael’s is largely the product of a rebuild in the 15th century, alongside the newly extended St Mary’s Hall. They both benefited from the financial support of Coventry’s wealthy wool traders.
 

4)   With the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 Coventry lost its first cathedral and it was another four centuries before St Michael’s became a cathedral.
 

5)   Before it was raised to cathedral status in 1918, St Michael’s was the country’s largest parish church.

 

6)   The spire of St Michael’s, at 295 feet, is the third tallest in England, after Salisbury and Norwich.

 

7)   Squirrels carved into the stonework of what is now the sanctuary are said to represent the ancient woodlands that still surrounded Coventry in the Middle Ages.

 

8)   It was the only English cathedral lost to aerial bombardment during the Second World War

 

9)   The day after the Blitz, Thursday 14 November 1940, demolition crews had to be prevented from pulling down the surviving tower. They didn’t realise it had been leaning for at least a hundred years.

 

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