Binley is situated three miles east of Coventry City Centre, on the Lutterworth Road. Originally a Saxon settlement, the name means “Billa’s well-watered land” and it was spelt Bilney in some early documents. At the time of the Domesday survey, Binley was held by Turchil, one of the most important Warwickshire landowners of his day, and by Aldgid, a granddaughter of Lady Godiva, who by her marriage to Harold Godwinson was briefly Queen of England. The chapel was granted to Coventry Priory in the reign of Henry I. By the 13th century most of the land belonged to Coombe Abbey, and Ernesford Grange (one of the monastery farms) was established at this time.
The area was largely woodland, pasture and arable with a small population, and as part of the Craven family’s Coombe Abbey estate from 1622 onwards, the almost feudal society continued unaffected by the changes wrought in neighbouring parishes by the rise and decline of the silk ribbon weaving industry.
The classical church of St Bartholomew was built at William Lord Craven’s expense in 1773. Little is know of the earlier one on the site, although the registers date from 1656 and the bell from 1728. The church plate is silver-gilt set of 1772, quite possibly designed by Robert Adam and the church as a whole contains many “Adamish” features. The River Sowe, its mills and Binley Bridge figure in the historical records as prominent features, but on the whole development was slow. A village school was opened in 1840 but the first shop-keeper was not recorded until 1876.
Binley Colliery was founded in 1907 and this quickly brought new life to the area, with a special village built to accommodate the miners, who numbered 474 in 1924, out of a total population of just over 800. More changes came seven years later, when a large part of Binley was transferred to the city of Coventry, and since then a good deal of building work took place before and after the last war. The colliery closed in 1963, but as a thriving suburb of a modern city there is no fear that Binley will slip back into the past.