Coventry enjoyed a 'golden age' in the medieval period, which is reflected in our extensive collections.
Coventry has had a rich religious heritage that began with St Osburga's Nunnery and then the Benedictine Priory. By the end of the 1100s Coventry had become established as an important city based on the cloth and leather trades. The archaeological finds from medieval Coventry illustrates both city life and the city’s trade links. Objects include pottery, small dress accessories, cloth fragments, leather shoes, belts and pieces of saddlery and occasionally a coin.
By the 1400s Coventry was enjoying a 'golden age' of prosperity and importance and the collection reflects this. Material from this period numbers over 1,500 objects ranging from rings and jewellery to brooches, points, buckles, decorative studs, nails, tools, horseshoes, keys and strap ends.
Highlights of the collection include a 1400s sallet (helmet), a wooden carved figure of St. George and the Dragon, a leather face mask used in mystery plays, choir stalls from Whitefriars and over 1000 carved stones excavated from the Benedictine Priory.
John Bailey Shelton, a keen local archaeologist, built up a large collection of material through the 1930s and 40s. His collection formed the nucleus of the archaeology material held by the museum.