The Coventry Cross - a Public Art Gem!

The Coventry Cross was a replica of the Tudor Cross, it was unveiled in 1976. It was on Cuckoo Lane near Trinity Walk until the Council removed it in 2019. Made by sculptor George Wagstaffe.

Where was the Coventry Cross?

The replica of the Coventry Cross was on Cuckoo Lane near Trinity Walk, Coventry, CV1 1LN from 1976 until it was removed in 2019.


In brief

There had been a market cross in Coventry since medieval times, the first one dated to 1300, then a second one dated 1423 until 1537. The third one dated 1544 until 1771. The modern replica dated 1976 until removal in 2019. This was made by the sculptor George Wagstaffe.

Coventry Cross. Photography by Daniel Sturley.


Coventry Cross - history

The medieval cross

The first medieval cross stood at the southern end of Cheap Crossing where it met Broadgate, about 100 metres from where the new one used to stand. This was the market place, and place of executions, and the earliest references date it to 1300.


The second cross

The second cross was erected after Saint Matthias day in 1423, the mayor Henry Peyto held a meeting in St Mary's Hall which officially sanctioned the buildings of a new cross in Cross Cheaping. It stood for over a hundred years before it became unsafe and part of the upper section had to be taken down in 1537.


The Tudor cross

Early discussions had already begun to replace it in 1506. In 1541 a former mayor of London, Sir William Hollyes who had been born in Stoke, Coventry, left £200 in his will for a new cross, and the building started in the same year, The new Coventry Cross was completed in 1544, and was painted and covered in gold. The City carried out repaired to the cross in 1608-9. During the Commonwealth, six set of royal coats of arms were removed from the cross in 1650. The cross was restored in 1688. It stood for over two centuries, but by 1753 and 1755 the top two stages were removed to avoid danger of collapse. In 1771 Coventry Council authorised the demotion of the cross, although there was still some remains there in 1778.


The replica cross

It was proposed in the 1930s to build a replica of the 1544 cross, although work did not begin until the 1960s, with the cross being made by the sculptor George Wagstaffe. It was finally unveiled in 1976, about 100 metres from the original position. Based on it's medieval precursor, it had four tiers and surrounded by a flight of four steps. The City Council considered relocating the Cross in 2007 to a new public square at Ironmonger Row and the Burges, but a public consultation indicated that it should not be moved. In 2018 the council wanted to have it taken down, but the people of Coventry started a petition to stop this. It failed, and by January 2019 the cross had been removed.

Coventry Cross

Coventry CrossCoventry Cross (April 2014). Photography by Elliott Brown

Project dates

09 Aug 2021 - On-going


History & heritage, Art; Culture & creativity, Classic Architecture

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Jonathan Bostock

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