ORIGINALLY, when the histories of Coventry and Warwick were planned, it was
intended that they should form with the history of Birmingham a single volume of the
Warwickshire History. Changed circumstances, however, resulted in an enlarged history
of Birmingham being published separately in 1964 as Volume VII of the Warwickshire
History, and these have been related in the editorial note to that volume. By then
much of the history of Coventry had been completed on a scale commensurate with
the original intention of covering the three towns in a single volume. What was then
drafted has not been significantly expanded but some new sections, not comprised in
the original plan, have been added.
As is well known, each county set of the History is intended to form an integrated
whole, and no one volume within the set is designed to stand on its own. This is
emphasized and explained in an article entitled 'The Structure and Aims of the
Victoria History of the Counties of England' in the Bulletin of the Institute of Historical
Research, Volume XL, May 1967. Thus, while the present volume, completing the
Victoria History of Warwickshire, is concerned only with Coventry and Warwick,
certain subjects which also form part of the histories of those two places are to be
found in other volumes of the Warwickshire History. Some of Coventry's industries,
for example, such as cloth making, cap and hat production, and ribbon manufacture,
have been treated in Volume II with the economic history of the county as a whole.
Sections on Coventry's crafts and industries in the present volume inevitably overlap
somewhat with the earlier descriptions. Nevertheless the accounts must be regarded as
complementary. Similarly the political history of the whole county is dealt with in
Volume II while in the present volume a chapter on the parliamentary representation
of Coventry is added. The histories of King Henry VIII's School, Bablake School,
and some charity schools in Coventry, of Warwick School, and of various religious
houses in Coventry and Warwick, are also to be found in Volume II, but architectural
descriptions of the buildings of some of these institutions, not previously treated, have
been included in the present volume. The histories of Allesley, Baginton, Berkeswell,
Binley, and Stoneleigh, parishes now within or partly within the city of Coventry,
have already been published in Volumes IV and VI of the Warwickshire History.
The various sections of both the Coventry and the Warwick histories have, in general,
been completed between 1960 and 1966, and the terminal date to which each has been
brought is indicated, where necessary, in footnotes to the text. Since 1961 Dr. W. B.
Stephens has been responsible for the completion and editing first of Volume VII
and then of this volume. He has had the assistance at various times of Miss Celia B.
Clarke and Miss Diane K. Bolton for Coventry, of Dr. K. J. Allison and Dr. R. W.
Dunning for Warwick, and of Mrs. Margaret Tomlinson for both.
The completion of the history of these two towns could not, however, have been
accomplished without the assistance of a large number of others, not all of whom can
be thanked here personally. Among these helpers are to be numbered the officers of
various Local Government departments, including the Coventry Architecture and
Planning, Engineer's, Education, Estates, Markets, and Town Clerk's departments,
and the Warwickshire County Architects and Education departments. Especially to be
thanked are Miss D. A. Leech and Mr. A. A. Dibben, successive Coventry City
Archivists, Mr. E. Simpson, Librarian of Coventry, and his staff, in particular Miss
Alice Lynes, librarian in charge of the Coventry and Warwickshire Collection, Messrs.
John Hewitt, C. J. Scott, and Brian Hobley of the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum,
Messrs. J. C. Brown, V. Levett, and G. H. Morris of the Coventry Architecture and
Planning Department, Mr. A. C. Wood, formerly Warwickshire County Archivist,
Mr. M. W. Farr, his successor and formerly Assistant County Archivist, and Mr.
D. J. Freeman, Deputy Town Clerk of Warwick. In addition the officers of Birmingham
Reference Library and of Shakespeare's Birthplace Library, the Diocesan Registrar,
the Archivist to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and the Archivist at Post Office
Headquarters all gave welcome aid.
The compilers are especially indebted to Mr. and Mrs. Philip Styles for their
considerable help in many aspects of the history of Warwick. Notes on the town provided by Mr. E. G. Tibbits have also proved useful and his help is gratefully acknowledged. Use has been made, too, of architectural descriptions of Warwick Castle and
other buildings in Warwick, supplied by the late Philip B. Chatwin, who gave invaluable help in other directions as well. Lord Warwick must be thanked for permission
to examine parts of the castle and to consult its records, and the help of the Hon.
H. A. Feilding of the Warwick Castle Estate Office is also acknowledged. For their
kindness in providing substantial information, Mr. F. W. B. Charles, Mr. A. H.
Gardner, Dr. and Mrs. A. Gooder, Miss Mary Ransome, and Mr. C. T. P. and Mrs.
Charmian Woodfield all deserve thanks. Miss Joan C. Lancaster has made available
her notes compiled from the Coventry records, and these together with certain draft
narratives of her authorship have proved useful for a number of sections as indicated
in the footnotes to the text.
The assistance of many other people including the authors of various unpublished
theses, members of business firms, and ministers of religion and members of congregations of various denominations and creeds has been recorded in footnotes to the text,
and is gratefully remembered. Finally thanks are due to the corporations of the cities
of Birmingham and Coventry and to the Warwickshire County Council for their
generous financial assistance.