The Stoke area of Coventry includes Stoke Park, Stoke Aldermoor, Stoke Heath, Copeswood, and Charterhouse. Stoke covers a large part of the city and has some of the most important heritage buildings in Coventry. The area is one of the most diverse in Coventry and there is plenty of history to explore.
The name Stoke is from the Old English “stoc” means “village” or “fenced in place”. An ancient parish lying just to the east of Coventry city centre, it is bounded by the River Sowe on the Binley side, and by Gosford Green and the Coventry Canal on the West.
Although not mentioned in the Domesday Book, a Chapelry at Stoke is recorded in an 11th century document granting it (with others) to Coventry Priory. Walter Dyville was the principal landholder in 1250, and Robert de Stoke in 1279 was the first of a prominent family who held an estate here until the 16th century. At this time Sir Thomas White’s Charity and Bonds Hospital were established and endowed with lands at Stoke.
The church of Stoke St. Michael, possibly at an early date dedicated to St. Chad, has little surviving 12th century work and has been restored and altered during its long history. There was a manor house nearby which may have been Stoke Hall, occupied at one time by the Stoke family and later by the Hornes, and the hamlet of Bigging was represented by Biggin Hall, a moated property which stood near the Binley Road until the mid 19th century.
Unlike surrounding parishes, Stoke did not include large areas of wood and wasteland, instead clay soil gave rise to a tile making industry which flourished in the Middle Ages. Kilns have been found near Harefield Road, and there is evidence of pipemaking and brickworks in use until the 19th century. By this time weaving was the staple industry, and with 138 looms in use in 1838 and half the population engaged in the work 20 years later, great distress was suffered at the collapse of the silk ribbon trade in 1861.
The population of 505 in 1801 had grown to more than 1,600 but declined in the later years of the century until improved transport facilities brought housing development. Stoke Green had been a fashionable middle class suburb since the late 17th century, and wealthy ribbon manufacturers built large houses like Stoke Lodge, Hope’s Harbour and Copsewood Grange in Victorian times. Earlier, Stoke Park had been used as a race course until 1849 when it was laid out as a private housing estate.
Stoke Heath was built up for munition workers in the First World War, but before that the Humber factory had been producing bicycles and cars since the 19th century. Sewage works, allotments, sports grounds and more suburban estates were developed, when part of Stoke was transferred to the city of Coventry in 1899 and the rest in 1928.
(This information is courtesy of Coventry City Council).