17th Nov, 2018

Part of Coventry's medieval wall discovered under car park

Correspondent 6th Feb, 2017 Updated: 7th Feb, 2017

PART of the remains of Coventry’s medieval wall have been discovered under a car park – prompting a campaign to ‘save it’.

The discovery came ahead of diggers moving in to the car park in Fairfax Street, city centre, to build more student accommodation.

The wall was a highly attractive feature of the city from the 14th century until it was destroyed after the restoration of the monarchy in the 1660s following the civil war – when Coventry had sided with the Parliamentarians.

The wall was used to enable guild members who had permission to trade in the city to enter through its gates, while keeping out criminals and other unwanted people.

Parts of the wall – which had gates and towers at strategic points – can still be seen at Lady Herbert’s Garden nearby, at Spon Gate, and other parts of the city.

The Fairfax Street excavations have uncovered only a fraction of the wall.

Archaeologists from Leicester University have been brought in – the same team who sensationally uncovered King Richard III’s body under a Leicester car park.

The wall is being studied and recorded underground, as it is feared it will disintegrate if exposed in the open.

Digging was today (Monday) due to continue towards Cox Street under the ‘elephant’ part of the swimming baths and sports centre building.

A campaign to ‘Save Our City Wall’ has been launched by city PR man Paul Curtis, whose images of the excavations on Facebook have attracted more than 20,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook in four days.

He called for glass structures to be used to allow the public to view the newly discovered sections of the wall – notably because of their proximity to Coventry University which brings in people from around the world.

Richard Buckley, from Leicester University, said a 10 metre long section of the wall at the archaeological site was in reasonable condition.

But he said other parts of the wall had been badly damaged, adding: “It’s an interesting discovery. But it’s not of preservable quality in terms of making it visible to people.”

He said other sections of the wall at the site had been damaged by previous development and redevelopment, including in 19th century.

He added it was unlikely that coins or other treasures would be found, saying most archaeological digs tended to only found ‘people’s rubbish’.

Coventry city councillor Jim O’Boyle said the council had already intended after the excavations to mark the presence of the wall with something above ground, while the medieval wall would stay underground to preserve it.

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