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Here is what we think is the only comprehensive record of pubs and beerhouses within the Coventry city boundaries going back as far as available records allow. This is an ongoing project so contributions, corrections or additions to this archive, especially anecdotes, photos and media are most welcome. Feel free to contact us for a pint and a chat anytime.

The Golden Cross

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NAME GOLDEN CROSS
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Previously
ADDRESS 8 HAY LANE
THIS PREMISES HAS BEEN KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES DURING ITS HISTORY FROM TO KNOWN AS
1693 ROYAL EXCHANGE
1756 1770 DOG and DUCK
1770 1773 CROSS GUNS
1773 present GOLDEN CROSS

I can only imagine that the name of this pub comes from the belief that the Golden Cross stands on the site of the Coventry mint. Some people seem to think that the Golden Cross was the mint but I am afraid that the pub is later.

Elizabeth Woodville was enthroned as the Queen of Edward IV in May 1465. The royal couple spent Christmas that year at Coventry Priory. It is probably at this time that Edward gave Coventry the right to mint coins. Coventry mint operated from 1466 to 1470 and produced royals, half royals, silver groats and half groats. These coins are now rare and can be identified as they bear a 'C' for Coventry under the king's head and CIVITAS COVENTRE on the reverse. So you know what to look for when you are digging your garden!

The Golden Cross is reputed to have been built c1583, so more than a century after the mint ceased to operate. It is Grade II Listed and the listing goes as follows : 'Late 16th century, reputedly c1583. Timber frame and plaster building, much restored. Three storey....with modern brick chimney stacks. Upper floors oversail on exposed timbers. Restored and modern four light moulded wooden casement windows. Modern ground floor.....First floor retains exposed dragon beam in the ceiling'. Apparently a dragon beam is a large timber beam that enables a jettied first floor to pass round a corner building. I am none the wiser for that information!

dragon beam
The Dragon Beam is a horizontal timber which runs diagonally into a corner angle, into which floor joists are tenoned.

In c1907 Mary Dormer Harris says that in Coventry's houses 'the ground, or rather underground, floor was occupied by a cellar of vaulted stone, in town houses often called the ' tavern ' a word not neccessarily implying the sale of wine there, but simply used for an underground shop.Such inconvenience attended the approaches to these taverns that they fell into disuse as shops, and the openings being filled they were thus converted into mere cellars whereof the only communication was with the interior of the house. In 1648 mention is made in the second Book of Council of an order of Leet whereby it was enjoined that grates or doors be made to ' all cellars and taverns by the street side ' A door of this kind is to be seen on the right-hand corner of PLATE XXVI, below the unrestored ' GOLDEN CROSS ' and a very conspicuous ' grate '

In 1770 a Birmingham gunsmith acquired a public house at the corner of Bayley Lane and Hay Lane known as the sign of the DOG and DUCK which he renamed the CROSS GUNS. When the gunsmith moved to Spon Street this became the GOLDEN CROSS.

After suppression of religious houses, inns such as the Golden Cross became important meeting places for city companies. Groups such as the Golden Cross Philanthropic Society, formed in 1859, held regular meetings in the club room upstairs. The society was composed of well-respected men of society and their aim was to help the poor by raising money for local hospitals, schools etc. The Coventry City Supporters club also held a meeting at the Golden Cross in 1951. The poet Philip Larkin was a frequent visitor.

The pub stands in the medieval heart of the city close to several other ancient buildings that survived the bombing raids of the Second World War, namely the shell of the old Coventry Cathedral of St. Michael, St. Mary’s Guild Hall, Holy Trinity Church.

As an inn it is thought to date back to the seventeenth century. The nineteenth century restorations were supposedly done with timbers from the old bell-frame of St. Michael's church. In 1935 it advertised 'one of the oldest houses in the city. NBC ales and stouts'. A newspaper article of 1960 talks of sitting in the gentlemen's snug and of horses being lead through the passage to the stables at the back. Now, which passage was this? The cellars were said to be a treat to see as they were cut out of the solid sandstone rock. An extension in 1968 substantially changed the interior of the pub, doubling the building's size by extending the gentleman’s bar, smoke room and upstairs club room. I can well remember the Golden Cross being an unspoilt little gem in the mid-sixties. Since the 1970s, the club room has been associated with live music.

In 1982 Chris Arnott was not so complimentary. He thought that the exterior, with its 'timber frame and leaded windows must be a magnet for visitors to the nearby cathedral, but what they make of it when they get inside, heaven only knows.' Apparently the ceiling had been painted bright red, Hells Angels sat all over the floor, some seats were slashed and there was a good choice of graffiti in the toilets. Is it any better today? In the same year the local CAMRA branch mentioned the stained glass Northampton Brewery Company windows. I believe that they have gone now.

Golden Cross Pub 16th Century. Coventry,

Clipping from the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper of 5th August 1960

Known Licensees are;
1822 - 1829 Richard Farmer
1835 Richard Ballard
1841 Mary Ballard
1845 - 1851 Josiah Phillips
1868 - 1886 Robert Warrington & maltster
1890 - 1891 Northampton Brewery Company
1893 S. E. Watson
1894 - 1896 A. Bedford
1903 - 1909 H. C. Edwards
1911 - 1913 Henry C. Hands
1929 - 1938 J. F. York
1939 - 1940 A. T. Jones
1955 - 1957 John S. Barnes
1960 - 1966 Ray W. Cox (see above - is there a date discrepancy? the clipping places him here in around about 1955)
Owners
1890 onwards Northampton Brewery Company (Phipps)
photo
newspaper clipping
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Click here to see Research

Dict PN On site of old mint which made goldcoins.

5.1465 HOC P83 Elizabeth was enthroned in May 1465 and the royal couple spent Christmas of that year at Coventry priory. It was probably during this time that Edward gave Coventry the right to mint his new ' light coinage '. These gold and silver coins bore a 'C' for Coventry under the king's head and CIVITAS COVENTRE on the reverse, and consisted of royals, half royals, silver groats and half-groats. They were struck at a mint on the site of the Golden Cross public house on the corner of Hay lane.

c1583 Grade II Listing Late 16th century, reputedly c1583. Timber frame and plaster building, much restored. 3 storey, machine tiled roof with modern brick chimney stacks. Upper foors oversail on exposed timbers, restored and modern 4 light moulded wooden casement windows. Corner post with curved brackets, clustered slim pilasters. Modern ground floor. Returned side gable with plain bargeboards. Interior: 1st floor retains exposed dragon beam in ceiling.

BOC P57 The three storey Golden Cross on the corner of Hay Lane and Bayley Lane, dating from the sixteenth century, was much restored in the nineteenth century. It has close-studding on the upper floors and moulded jetty boards, but without tree-ring dating it is difficult to know how much of the timber-framing is original. Its finest feature is the ' dragon beam ' visible in the groung floor ceiling. This is a large timber beam that enables ajettied first floor to pass round a corner building.

Cov HG P83 The Golden Cross is traditionally the site of the Coventry Mint, which struck gold and silver coins between 1466 and 1470. The seventeenth-century inn was restored in the nineteenth century, using timbers from the old bell-frame of St.Michaels.

Source 34 P44 Then the ground, or rather underground, floor was wontedly occupied by a cellar of vaulted stone, in town houses often called the ' tavern ' a word not neccessarily implying the sale of wine there, but simply used for an underground shop.

Source 34 P59 PLATE 26
Such inconvenience attended the approaches to these taverns that they fell into disuse as shops, and the openings being filled they were thus converted into mere cellars whereof the only communication was with the interior of the house. In 1648 mention is made in the second Book of Council of an order of Leet whereby it was enjoined that grates or doors be made to ' all cellars and taverns by the street side ' A door of this kind is to be seen on the right-hand corner of PLATE XXVI, below the unrestored ' GOLDEN CROSS ' and a very conspicuous ' grate '.......so great was the natural facility for the construction of taverns afforded by the rock whereon this part of the city lies.

These underground shops if they afforded protection from fire must have been subject to the inrush of another element, water.

Source 34 P64 PLATE XXVI
Golden Cross
Not lettered names but actual signs and trade emblems distinguished the various houses and shops one from the other

DYKC P19 Q166 Site previously of a mint

1693 JA Possible called the EXCHANGE

1770 JA10 Wilson A Birmingham gunsmith acquired a public house at the corner of Bayley Lane and Hay Lane known by ther sign of the DOG AND DUCK which he renamed the CROSS GUNS. This later became the GOLDEN CROSS.

1773 JA10 Wilson When the gunsmith moved to Spon Street the new owner changed the name to the GOLDEN CROSS.

28.8.1878 LJ Vol 1 P48 GOLDEN CROSS, Hay Lane Alehouse
Owner : David Spencer, Warwick Row
later Northampton Brewery Co Ltd
Licensee : Robert Warrington
31.10.1889 TOL to Samuel Facon Watson
14.4.1892 TOL to Alfred John Watts
21.10.1892 TOL to Arthur Bedford

1887 COC P52 Cov Times Inn signs

Cov AIW Photo 18

1924 CBH P119 PALMER & KAIN ( Bicycles )
7 Hay Lane
Palmer & Kain was seen in the 1924 Kelly's Directory of Warwickshire at 7 Hay Lane, situated next door to the Golden Cross Inn.

c1930 ACov P76 Photo

The Golden Cross Inn, on the corner of Hay Lane and Pepper Lane. Tradition says the inn stands on the site of the old city mint, which for a short period between 1466 and 1470 struck the now rare Coventry groats, nobles and half nobles bearing the image of King Edward IV. As an inn it dates back to the 17th century and was much restored in the mid 19th century, mainly using large oak timbers taken from St Michaels old bell frame.

c1932 CWL P15 Photo

1935/36 P. James One of the oldest houses in the city.NBC ales and stouts

11/1940 Cov at War Photo

? News 4 photo

1960 Citypubs 3 Sitting in the gentleman's snug at the Golden Cross inn at the corner of Pepper Lane and Hay Lane. The inn is reputed to date back to the days of Henry VIII. It stands in the oldest part of the City and nearby are the old County Hall and former Gaol, the ruins of the old Cathedral and St Mary's Hall.

It is a half timbered Inn and possesses three fine gables. The ceilings both on the ground floor and upstairs room are all of beautiful solid old English oak. It is also said that during alterations many years ago timber was used from the nearby St Michaels church

The older customers like to tell of the hotses passing through the passage to the stables at the back, while the cellars are a treat to see as they are cut out of the old sandstone. In fact, the pub itself is built on sandstone rocks.

1982 Pubscrawl 14 The Open University lecturer was leaning against the jukebox giving some of his students an informal lecture on the 16th century architecture

The impromptu Open University lecture would have been more appropriate outside the Golden Cross, which just happens to be one of the few genuine tudor buildings still standing in Coventry.

With its timber frame and leaded windows it must be a magnet for visitors to the nearby cathedral, nut what they make of it when they get inside, heaven only knows.

I picked my way to the bar across wall-to-wall Hells Angels with

' Coventry Slaves ' written across the back of their jackets. Lack of available seating does not seem to bother them. They just sit on the floor.

There was something of a mass migration when Kev Lee's rock disco restarted. The top end of the pub is more traditional - except for the fact that some whizz-kid interior designer has painted the ceiling- space between the old oak beams a glowing shade of red

Some of the seats are slashed and the walls of the gents are covered in mindless graffitti. This is the kind of pub I used to like when I was 18.

1982 WRAG2 Young, noisey lounge, quieter mixed public. Northampton Brewery Company stained glass windows. Claimed to be the oldest licensed premises in Coventry. Grade II listed building dating from 1583 but much restored.

1985 CCRAG Dating from 1583 this is said to be Coventry's oldest licensed premises and is a Grade II listed building. The building was once used as a mint. NBC stained glass windows.

COVHH P27 Photo

2016 Listed BAYLEY LANE No 8 (Golden Cross Inn)

II* Late C16, reputedly circa 1583. Timber frame and plaster infilling, much restored. 3 storeys, machine tiled roof with modern brick chimney stacks. Upper floors oversail on exposed timbers. Restored and modern 4 light moulded wooden casement windows. Corner post with curved brackets, clustered slim pilasters. Modern ground floor. Returned side gable with plain bargeboards. Interior: 1st floor retains exposed dragon beam in ceiling.

LICENSEES

? WTC Andrew SumnerN27332 F2892 DGV 'Golden Cross & Freeman's Inn

1822/23 Pigot R. Farmer

1828/29 Pigot Richd Farmer

1835 Pigot Richard Ballard

1841 Pigot Mary Ballard

1841 Census Mary Ballard 35 yo not b Wks & 7 others

1845 Kelly J. Phillips

1850 CS Josiah Phillips

1851 Census Josiah Phillips 41 yo innkeeper b Stonley m Mary, 49

23.11.1868 Lantern Robert Warrington

1871 Census Robert Warrington 49 yo maltster & licensed victualler b Coventry

1874 C&B R. Warrington [ m Elizabeth V., 51 & 1 neice, 3 servants
1878 LJ Vol 1 P48 Robert Warrington
1879 Stevens Robert Warrington

1881 C&B R. Warrington

1886 C&B R. Warrington
1889 LJ Vol 1 P48 Robert Warrington
1889 LJ Vol 1 P48 Samuel Facon Watson
1890/91 R&G Northampton Brewery Company
1892 LJ Vol 1 P48 Samuel Facon Watson
1892 LJ Vol 1 P48 Alfred John Watts
1892 LJ Vol 1 P48 Arthur Bedford
1893 Reporter S. E. Watson This is a year out

1894 R&G A. Bedford

1896 R&G A. Bedford

1898 LJ Vol 1 P48 Arthur Bedford
1903 R&G H. C. Edwards

1905 R&G H. C. Edwards

1909 R&G H. C. Edwards

1911/12 Spennell Henry C. Hands

1912/13 Spennell Henry C. Hands

1929 P. James J. F. York

1931/32 P. James J. F. York

1933/34 P. James J. F. York

1935/36 P. James J. F. York

1937/38 P. James J. F. York

1939/40 P. James A. T. Jones

1954 Citypubs 3 Ray Cox

1955/56 Barrett John S. Barnes

1957 Barrett John S. Barnes

1960 Citypubs 3 Ray Cox

1960 Barrett R. W. Cox

1961 Barrett R. W. Cox

1962 Barrett R. W. Cox

1966 Barrett R. W. Cox

OWNERS


1878 LJ Vol 1 P48 David Spencer, Warwick Row
later LJ Vol 1 P48 Northampton Brewery Co Ltd
1890/91 R&G Northampton Brewery Company

1898 LJ Vol 1 P48 Northampton Brewery Co Ltd
1935 P. James NBC

1960 Citypubs 3 Messrs Phipps, the Northampton Brewers

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