The city of Coventry is located in the central part of England in Warwickshire in the West Midlands. The Midlands, which are comprised of ten other shires in addition to Warwickshire, has for centuries represented the industrial muscle of England. This region has sometimes been referred to as Britain's prosperous midriff. Coventry is situated on the Sherbourne River and is 85 miles northwest of London and 17 miles southeast of Birmingham. The city adjoins the southern tip of the East Warwickshire coal field and covers an area of 37 square miles.
The name Coventry comes from its Anglo-Saxon roots and means "Cofa's Tree," which might have been a landmark or an object of worship planted at a crossroads in the Midlands. During Roman times three major roads were built through this area, and coin finds suggest that there may have been a minor trade route through Coventry. 1
Recorded history of Coventry begins in 1016 when the Saxon nunnery of St. Osburga was sacked by the Danes. In 1043, Earl Leofric of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva (Godgifu) founded a Benedictine monastery in Coventry. Over the centuries the story of Lady Godiva's famous ride naked through the streets of Coventry has helped popularize the city. Although the story is of questionable historical accuracy, it has nevertheless been kept alive by celebrations and processions depicting the event which have been held from 1678 to the present century. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, Coventry replaced Lichfield and Chester as the center of a large diocese. The diocese and its great abbey prospered until destroyed in 1539 at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries.
Ranulf, Earl of Chester, granted Coventry a charter in about 1150, and in 1345 Edward III incorporated the area that had already begun sending two members to Parliament in 1295. This charter granted by Edward III was the first of its kind, and it authorized the annual election of a mayor and bailiffs and represented the start of