The Stoke Commons :: Shared Description

From at least the time of Godiva, when most of the Coventry area was woodland, its inhabitants were granted rights of common. Over the centuries, as elsewhere in Arden, it was cleared piecemeal for grazing, fuel or crops. Towards the mid-nineteenth century the few people who still exercised commoner's rights continued the tradition of resistance to further enclosure and encroachment. Coventry could not grow because of its encircling belt of commons; new building was crowded into the mediaeval city to the detriment of public health; the establishment of market gardens to feed the city was hampered.

From 1860 the freemen were compensated as land was acquired for housing, industry, railways and roads. The remaining 'wastes and commons' evolved into recreational land where grazing was still allowed. From 1886 to 1927 the pasture and administration of the Stoke commons was vested in a body of conservators, in a faint echo of the chamberlains of old. In 1914 Gosford Green was reserved for recreational purposes; in 1916 more than 800 houses for warworkers were built on Stoke Heath.

In 1927 the Corporation extinguished all the remaining traditional rights of common within the (expanding) city boundaries: half a dozen or so sites in the former manors of Coventry and Stoke. Their legal status was changed to public open space although some are still called commons. By 1927 the remainder of Stoke Green, Stoke Heath and Stoke Hill comprised just over 58 acres. In 1932, when the memorial obelisk to the Gregory family was being erected beside Stivichall Croft SP3276, the Corporation agreed to mark the short era of the Conservators with an almost identical monument. It stands at the northwest corner of Binley Road and Bray's Lane and was installed in 1933.

Victoria County History: Warwickshire, volume 8.
Coventry City Council records in Coventry History Centre.
Smith, F. Six Hundred Years of Municipal Life. Corporation of the City of Coventry, 1945.
by Robin Stott
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10 images use this description:

SP3578 : Uncut hedges, Stoke Park, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Gosford Park looking north, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : North end of Humber Road, Lower Stoke, Coventry by Robin Stott
SP3578 : An evening in August, Stoke Green, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Playground, Stoke Park, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Path junction, Gosford Park, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Gosford Park looking south, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Memorial to the late Conservators of the Stoke Commons, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Open space by Binley Road, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott
SP3578 : Basketball on Gosford Park MUGA, Coventry CV3 by Robin Stott

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Created: Sun, 17 Mar 2013, Updated: Sun, 14 Apr 2019

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2013 Robin Stott, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

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