Kings and Queens during the timeline of Black Swan Terrace
As we approach the Coronation, we thought we’d take a quick look at who was ruling during some of the key points in our Weaver’s House/Black Swan timeline.
There have been 28 different sovereigns of Britain (plus the Commonwealth period) during the life of The Weaver’s House and Black Swan Terrace. Here we look at who was monarch during some significant points in our buildings’ history.
1455: The six cottages in Black Swan Terrace were built by the Priory as one structure in 1455, replacing the buildings that had previously stood on the site. The reign of the Plantagenet king, Henry VI would have been well underway at this point, lasting firstly from 1422 to 1461 and restored to the throne 1470–71. King Henry VI and his Queen, Margaret of Anjou are thought to be featured in the Coventry Tapestry – do you know whereabouts in Coventry you can see it?
The turbulent period known as The Wars of the Roses (1455–1487) was illustrated by Coventry Militia at an Open Day at The Weaver’s House in 2019.
1510: The city wall, begun in 1355 is finally completed. Our row of cottages were situated outside the wall. This would have been the year after the Tudor, Henry VIII came to the throne.
1539: The ownership of the terrace by St. Mary’s Priory, Coventry came to an end due to the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, with ownership therefore passing to the Crown – though the terrace was sold in 1545 to John Combes and Richard Stansfelde.
1540: This date appears on our timeline as this is the year designated to recreate the experience of living in The Weaver’s House (above). It would have been towards the end of Henry VIII’s reign (1509 – 1547).
1581: The ownership of the house is with The Mercers’ Company (one of the large number of craft guilds in Coventry). By this point Elizabeth I was Queen (1558–1603, the end of the Tudor period). Elizabeth visited the city in 1565. As one of the main routes into Coventry was along Spon Street, she may have passed by the terrace – do you know which building she addressed the people of Coventry from during her visit?
1678: The terrace is sold by the Mercers’ Company to a Mr Rogers. This was during the reign of the Stuart king, Charles II, who has a connection with a Coventry phrase – do you know why?
1700: Around this time the cottages are now owned by John Pickering, during the reign of William III & Mary II (1689–1702).
1768: The ownership of the terrace is split into three parts in Mary Kevitt’s will. From this time the terrace has separate ownerships, and at this point the throne was occupied by George III (1760–1820).
- Behind 120 a range of further cottages was built
- Behind 119 there was also a range of cottages with top-shops over
These buildings behind were Coventry Courts. Virtually no trace exists of these court buildings as those that were not destroyed in the blitz were demolished as part of slum clearance schemes. We are currently looking for any info and memories on these buildings (read more about this here).
1823: Around this time, during the reign of George IV (1820-30) , the first mention of the Black Swan Inn occurs, this would have been on the corner premises at 123 (today it has the Moira’s sign and distinctive green tiles), and in 1826 Swan Terrace is built behind 123 Spon Street.
1841: Now in the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901) the cloth trades still dominated the economy of the area with nearly 50% of the occupants involved in the area’s traditional trades of weaving and dyeing. Ten years on, the emphasis has shifted to the silk trade, and by 1891, nobody living in the terrace was employed in silk or cloth-weaving or dyeing.
As Victoria’s reign came to an end, the occupancy of the terrace was changing as the frontage becomes converted to shop fronts during the period 1900 – 1915 (This encompasses Edward VII from 1901-10 and the start of George V‘s reign (until 1936).
1940: During the Coventry blitz a nearby terrace facing Barras Lane (adjacent to Spon Street) was destroyed. There are blackened timbers within Black Swan Terrace itself as a result of the blitz, during the reign of George VI (1936–52). The monarch visited the war-torn city straight after the devastation of the blitz.
The remaining significant dates are all within the span of Elizabeth II’s long reign (1952–2022)
1977-87: The terrace is bought for slum clearance by Coventry City Council, intended for demolition
1995: Spon End Building Preservation Trust formed, to rescue the terrace.
2007: The conservation work is completed and The Weaver’s House opens to the public.
2023: Our latest development has begun as we approach the Coronation of Charles III.
Source for monarch dates: Britannica.com
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