28th Jun, 2022

Coventry's role in War of Roses to be celebrated with floral tribute

COVENTRY’s part in one of the most famous wars in English history is set to be commemorated with a floral tribute.

Coventry played a key role in the War of the Roses and the area around Coventry Cathedral – more specifically just behind Nando’s – was the site of the English Parliament in 1404 and again in 1459.

The latter date was a pivotal time during the Wars of the Roses as the House of Lancaster and the House of York fought to take control of the throne.

Paul Curtis – better known as the Deep Fact Friar – was researching the history of the site around the Priory Visitor Centre after becoming involved when it re-opened as a social enterprise.

Paul, working with Carole Donnelly – who runs the Priory Visitor Centre – wanted the city’s significant role to be commemorated and came up with the idea of the Walls of the Roses, where opposite walls in Priory Gardens would be adorned by white and red roses to represent the two sides in the wars.

When funding the idea became an issue, Baginton-based Smith’s Nurseries stepped in and agreed to supply two red High Flier roses and two white Iceberg Climbers – as well as the pots – to bring the Walls of the Roses to life.

Paul said it is crucial to raise the profile of the city’s heritage in the build-up to and during UK City of Culture in 2021.

He said: “People walk by this area every day and they will have no idea that the site just behind Nando’s was home to the English Parliament.

“It’s important that we bring our history to life and we wanted a visual way of showing that Coventry was an important place during the Wars of the Roses. The Walls of the Roses seemed like a really nice way to display that history in a visual way.

“We couldn’t have done it without Smith’s Nurseries. We originally got to know them via #Covhour when they answered our appeal for a Christmas Tree at the Visitor Centre.

“When they found out about the Walls of the Roses they stepped in to support us because we couldn’t access the national funding we were bidding for.

“It’s a great example of how Coventry can pull together which will create a beautiful display and a reminder of a key moment in the city’s – and England’s – history.”

Laura McMillan, director of operations and legacy for the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “We are delighted that the Walls of the Roses is going to be created to commemorate Coventry’s part in the Wars of the Roses.

“During the bidding process, we highlighted the fact that Coventry was home to the English Parliament as one of the little known facts about the city – and this floral display will be a lasting reminder of that.”

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