The History of St. Mary Magdalene Church
The medieval church of St. Mary Magdalene is the oldest surviving building in Coventry. The first chapel was built by Ranulf, Earl of Chester in about 1100 for use by the monks from thePriory in Coventry. The original building comprised of the existing nave and chancel except for the addition of extra windows.
The original windows were Norman narrow slit ones that meant the interior of the church would have been very dark. Additional windows were added in the 13th century to give extra light to the Altar.
The large east window was installed in the 15th century and the chancel ceiling plastered in 1686 as shown in the plaster. The stained glass was installed in 1867 and illustrates the Marys commemorated in the Bible.
Photo by Mike Cox
The oldest feature inside the Church is the 800 year old Norman font. It was carved from a single block of stone.
The font is still used for Baptisms today.
The gallery over the font was added in the 18th century and now covers the arch which was the original entrance to the tower.
The tower was added in the 15th century with an entrance from the nave. It originally had a lower roof. The pyramid roof and spire were added later.
A single bell cast in 1400 still hangs in the tower and is used to call parishioners to worship.
During the installation of
electricity in 1956 a painting was discovered on the north wall of the nave opposite the original entrance. The painting is dated about 1480. It was plastered over in 1547 at the time of the reformation as such pictures were considered superstitious.
The original entrance was in the south wall of the nave in the position shown by the surviving arch. In the 19th century the door complete with its mouldings, columns and arch were moved into its present position in the tower.
900 Years of History
1066 - The Battle of Hastings 1536 - Dissolution of Monastries
1086 - Doomsday Book 1539 - First English Bible
Survey of Properties
1110/12 - St. Mary Magdalene 1547 - Wall paintings covered
1260 - Priest appointed to say 1775 - Doorway moved to west
Mass three times a week wall of the tower
1400 - Tower added 1785 - Stained glass added to the east window and enlarged
1480 - Wall paintings added windows in the nave
1500 - Spire added 1940 - Bomb damage to Craven
1534 - Act of Supremacy
introduces Church of England 1956 - Restoration of wall painting
2010 - The 900 Year Anniversary Celebrations
The "Friends of Wyken's Old Church
The friends are a group dedicated to ensuring that the church of St. Mary Magdalene is maintained asa tribute to our ancestors and enable future generations to have the opportunity to reflect on their heritage.
To become a “Friend” only requires a minimum annual contribution of £5.00 and we will keep you notified of the current projects which are ongoing.
For further information please contact:
Friends of Wyken's Old Church or complete a form which can be found in
c/o Risen Christ Church the churches of St. Mary Magdalene or
Wyken Croft, Coventry CV2 3AD Risen Christ and we will contact you.