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St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top

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Helen F
Warrington
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31 of 38  Mon 24th Sep 2018 7:22pm  
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Nice one Anne. Stan must have been as addicted to old Coventry as us - more so.
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Prof
Gloucester
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32 of 38  Wed 27th Feb 2019 9:52am  
: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1608

Rosie: View from Priory Halls
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Prof
Gloucester
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33 of 38  Fri 1st Nov 2019 10:57am  
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Staircase in St Mary's Priory
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Helen F
Warrington
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34 of 38  Fri 1st Nov 2019 8:29pm  
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Two nice images Prof. Don't know how I missed the one before. A great view for putting parts of the city into the rest of the cityscape. Thumbs up
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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35 of 38  Sat 27th Mar 2021 2:29pm  
: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3362

In the 11th century Leofric, Earl of Chester, son of Ealdorman, husband of Countess Godiva, came to Coventry. The place was in ruins from the destruction by King Cnut of the Vikings, the small nunnery had been destroyed in 1016, so Leofric began to rebuild it as a Benedictine priory with a small wooden church. When he died in 1057 he was buried in the grounds and so was his wife. But almost a century went by, a new group rebuilt and added to it - new language, new religion, new name. They now called it St Mary's Priory.
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Helen F
Warrington
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36 of 38  Fri 29th Apr 2022 9:37pm  
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From various comments I've made about St Mary's, you'll know that I (and others eg Linda Monckton) have a theory that the central spire might have sat on an octagonal tower. The sketch by Smyth certainly peaked my interest on the matter. This version of the image even has shading on the third wall. The other towers have at most 4 pinnacles (pointy things) but the mystery tower has at least 7. So assuming 1 is hidden or fell off, what shape would need 8 rather than 4? Most of the octagonal towers I could find in other large churches have quite distinctive footprints that didn't match St Mary's. However I found one that could be a possible model - Sacré Coeur Paray le Monial. Basically the octagon sits on a square. One thing that just occurred to me is that an octagonal tower on the same footprint as a square one is lighter (apparently it pays to cut corners... sorry, I'll get my coat). Every bit of stone less would have put less pressure on the base supports. I'm completely guessing but an octagonal tower may need less buttressing than a square one because it's a harder shape to deform? We already know that St Mary's has octagonal stairwells but phwoarrr, look at the octagons on that! The Chapter House, the apse, the mini chapels off it, the possible central tower, a possible octagonal series of buttressing columns aiding the central 4 and maybe that octagonal tower above the apse. At Sacré Coeur the central pillars are about 3-5 metres closer together compared to St Mary's giving the octagonal tower between 8m or 9m wall to wall. 9m is not dissimilar to the walls of St Michael's tower (minus buttresses). At between 11m to 14m wall to wall (I need to dig out my books but used Google to guestimate) St Mary's tower would have been impressive. While Smyth's sketch shows the tower comparable or even taller than St Michael's, the tapestry shows it substantially shorter, although it was down the hill from St Michael's tower. Note that the spire isn't stone and is shaped like a witches hat. Looking at wooden shingle spires that shape or something more angular was common. The footprint of Sacré Coeur's front towers are small compared to St Mary's which were comparable to St Michael's tower wall to wall (buttresses and stairwells add extra metres at ground level). Might those towers have had octagonal upper levels? Maybe a flight of fancy too far. One final thought. Some have wondered how the pinnacles on the central tower could avoid damage (give or take 1) during the demolition. If the spires were wood, with shingles, they would have been relatively easy to remove, burn or sell.
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Helen F
Warrington
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37 of 38  Sun 1st May 2022 11:47am  
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Sorry, more thoughts based on wild speculation. If the spires and maybe even the main body of the roof were made of less durable materials than stone, I wonder if it required more constant repair? Faced with a decaying cathedral and without the Catholic Church's income, it might be another reason why the city chose not to buy it off Henry VIII?
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top
Prof
Gloucester
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38 of 38  Sun 1st May 2022 7:10pm  
: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1608

Unlike Tewkesbury where the town bought their Abbey but were not allowed to keep the Lady Chapel original. Of course they do have one inside and the one they lost is marked out on the lawns with markers.
Buildings - St Mary's Priory ruins and Hill Top

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