Sent to Coventry

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PostThu Jul 12, 2012 11:16 pm » by Fatdogmendoza


To be ignored or ostracised. This behaviour often takes the form of pretending that the shunned person, although conspicuously present, can't be seen or heard.

sent to coventryThe origins of this phrase aren't known, although it is quite probable that events in Coventry in the English Civil War in the 1640s play a part. For those not familiar with the UK, Coventry is an industrial city in Warwickshire, England. It is well-known for its two cathedrals; the modern cathedral being built in 1962 to replace the old cathedral, which was destroyed during an intense German bombing raid in 1940.

In the 17th century, when this phrase is supposed to have originated, Coventry was a small town. It has been suggested that the phrase, although we now use it in an allusory sense, originated from people being actually sent there.

The story - and it is no more than that - is that Cromwell sent a group of Royalist soldiers to be imprisoned in Coventry, around 1648. The locals, who were parliamentary supporters, shunned them and refused to consort with them.

The first known citation of the allusory meaning is from the Club Book of the Tarporley Hunt, 1765:

"Mr. John Barry having sent the Fox Hounds to a different place to what was ordered ... was sent to Coventry, but return'd upon giving six bottles of Claret to the Hunt."

By 1811, the then understood meaning of the term was defined in Grose's The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

To send one to Coventry; a punishment inflicted by officers of the army on such of their brethren as are testy, or have been guilty of improper behaviour, not worthy the cognizance of a court martial. The person sent to Coventry is considered as absent; no one must speak to or answer any question he asks, except relative to duty, under penalty of being also sent to the same place. On a proper submission, the penitent is recalled, and welcomed by the mess, as just returned from a journey to Coventry.

A well-known example of someone being sent to Coventry is Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), after his falling out with the Liddell family. Dodgson had developed a close relationship with the Liddell's daughter Alice. In 1863, when Alice was 11, something happened to cause the family to ostracize him. Whatever it was we can't now be sure as, although Dodgson recorded it in his diary at the time, the entry was later cut out by a Dodgson family member. This has led to widespread but unproven speculation that the relationship between Dodgson and Alice was inappropriate in some way - possibly what would now be called paedophilic.

This phrase was common in industrial disputes in Britain in the mid-twentieth century. Anyone who was considered to be unsupportive of the workforce was in danger of finding that his/her workmates refused to acknowledge their existence. Co-incidentally this was centred on the highly unionized car industry and especially British Leyland, which was largely based in Coventry. That gave rise to people who had in fact lived and worked in Coventry all their life being sent there figuratively by their workmates.

There's no substance in the suggestion sometimes put about that this relates to the disgrace of that well-known (if imaginary) Coventry resident - Peeping Tom.

peeping tom


godivaThe name comes from the legend of Lady Godiva's naked ride through the streets of Coventry, in order to persuade her husband to alleviate the harsh taxes on the town's poor. The story goes that the townsfolk agreed not to observe Godiva as she passed by, but that Peeping Tom broke that trust and spied on her.

The ride is still commemorated (clothed) in the city each year. As the picture shows, there's no longer any taboo about watching it.

Gleaning the elements of fact from this story isn't straightforward. Lady Godiva was an actual historical figure and is mentioned in various ancient records, including the Domesday survey of 1085. There's some justification to regard her as a patron of the town, although some accounts dispute this. She married Leofric in 1040 and in 1043 she persuaded him to build a Benedictine monastery at Coventry.

This is a translation from a Latin text, written a century or so after the supposed event - the Flores Historiarum, by Roger of Wendover, who died in 1236.

"Ascend," he said, "thy horse naked and pass thus through the city from one end to the other in sight of the people and on thy return thou shalt obtain thy request." Upon which she returned: "And should I be willing to do this, wilt thou give me leave?" "I will," he responded. Then the Countess Godiva, beloved of God, ascended her horse, naked, loosing her long hair which clothed her entire body except her snow white legs, and having performed the journey, seen by none, returned with joy to her husband who, regarding it as a miracle, thereupon granted Coventry a Charter, confirming it with his seal.

Whatever the truth of the ride through the town, there are no accounts of this story which mentioned a 'Peeping Tom' character until the 18th century and that has to been seen as a later invention. Why that embellishment was given to the story isn't clear.

The name 'Peeping Tom' is first recorded in the Coventry city accounts in 1773, recording a new wig and paint for the effigy of Tom the Tailor (which clearly must have existed for some time prior to that).

The first record that alludes to his dubious habits is in Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, 1796:

"Peeping Tom, a nick name for a curious prying fellow."

Peeping Toms aren't of course restricted to mediaeval times. Towards the end of the 20th century they got a new activity to partake in, or at least a new name was given to an old activity. The term dogging was coined in the UK - meaning 'spying on couples having sex in a car or some other public place'. The meaning of dogging has since modified somewhat to include the practices of engaging in or viewing in sex in public

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PostFri Jul 13, 2012 8:15 am » by Fatdogmendoza

If I was being too subtle.............its a metaphor..

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PostFri Jul 13, 2012 11:03 am » by Iamthatiam

Fatdogmendoza wrote:If I was being too subtle.............its a metaphor..

Everybody understood, brother...This is why we were sending you to Coventry!!!

Seriously, interesting read.


"The Heaven's Lights are fed by the energy generated inside the furnaces of Hell; I AM One Conductive Wire! "

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PostFri Jul 13, 2012 4:25 pm » by Edgar 2.0


Incidentally, i was re-reading the Greek Myths by R. Graves, and there's an interesting thing about Coventry Cathedral related to Lady Godiva.
A real treat for Baphomet conspiracists :mrgreen:

3. To judge from the ritual of the Celtic North, where the goddess is
called Goda (‘the Good’)—Neanthes translates the syllable brito as
‘good’ (Greek Historical Fragments)—she originally rode on a goat,
naked except for a net, with an apple in one hand, and accompanied
by a hare and a raven, to her annual love-feast. The carved miserere
seat in Coventry Cathedral, where she was thus portrayed, recorded
the Christian May Eve ceremonies at Southam and Coventry, from the
legend of Lady Godiva has been piously evolved.

There's more :

The May-eve goat, as is clear from the English witch ceremonies and from the Swedish May-play, 'Biikkerwise', was mated to the goddess, sacrificed and resurrected: that is to say, the Priestess had public connexion with the annual king dressed in goatskins, and either he was then killed and resurrected in the form of his successor, or else a goat was sacrificed in his stead and his reign prolonged. This fertility rite was the basis of the highly intellectualized 'Lesser Mysteries' of Eleusis, performed in February, representing the marriage of Goat-Dionysus to the Goddess Thyone, 'the raving queen', his death and resurrection.1 At Coventry, she evi-dendy went to the ceremony riding on his back, to denote her domination of him—as Europa rode on the Minos bull, or Hera on her lion.

And there's a symbolism of Carroll's hare as well :

The hare, as has been pointed out in Chapter Sixteen, was sacred both in Pelasgian .Greece and Britain because it is swift, prolific and mates openly without embarrassment. I should have mentioned in this context that the early British tabu on hunting the hare, the penalty for a breach of which was to be struck with cowardice, was originally lifted on a single day in the year—May-eve—as the tabu on hunting the wren was lifted only on St. Stephen's Day. (Boadicea let loose the hare during her battle with the Romans in the hope, presumably, that the Romans would strike at it with their swords and so lose courage.)
The hare was ritually hunted on May-eve, and the miserere-seat 'figure of lechery'—which is a fair enough description of the Goddess on this occasion—is releasing the hare for her daughters to hunt. The folksong If all those young men evidently belongs to these May-eve witch frolics:

If all those young men were like hares on the mountain Then all those pretty maidens would get guns, go a-hunting.