Pounds 1/2m Grant to Help Save Priory Remains; SOME OF UK'S BEST-PRESERVED MONASTIC UNDERCROFTS WILL GO ON SHOW

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES WILDE

COVENTRY'S magnificent 13th-century undercrofts are to be preserved for future generations thanks to a Lotto grant of nearly pounds 500,000.

Described by archaeologists as one of the best preserved in the country,

the Priory Undercrofts will be a major attraction in the award-winning Phoenix Initiative.

The chambers underneath the site of the city's ancient priory were used for storage and were properly excavated in 2000.

The pounds 40million Phoenix Initiative offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover more about the city's past and has proved to be one of the biggest med-ieval excavations that have ever taken place in Britain.

But even archaeologists were am-azed at how well the undercrofts, which date back to Coventry's first cathedral, have been preserved and wanted to safeguard them for the city.

That will now be possible thanks to a pounds 452,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money will be used to surround the undercrofts with glass windows so they can be viewed from an improved walkway off Hill Top Alley, which leads to the new Priory Place.

It will also pay for lighting, information plaques about the history of the site and a staircase and disabled access into the undercrofts for guided tours.

An interactive console could also be built to show what monastic life was like for the monks who lived there. …