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3-6 Priory Row (Lychgate Cottages)

Coventry, Warwickshire, England

Historic Coventry Trust

15th-century houses get a new lease of life as bespoke holiday lets

Grade II*

3-6 Priory Row, known as Lychgate Cottages, is a terrace of three jettied, timber-framed houses dating from around 1415 – a remarkable survival of a pre-Dissolution building in the heart of Coventry. The building is the only surviving part of the otherwise lost precinct of St Mary’s Priory, founded in the 12th century. By the time the adjacent Blue Coat School acquired the cottages in 1855, they were in poor condition, and so, they were restored, updated and extended, including the addition of an external staircase and rear extension that now face on to the ruins of the Priory complex.

In 2020, Historic Coventry Trust acquired the houses as part of a major asset transfer of 22 historic properties from the Council. The Row sits right at the junction between the medieval cathedral quarter and the busy high street, where the Trust is working with Historic England to deliver the national exemplar project for High Street Heritage Action Zone regeneration.

Historic Coventry Trust has now successfully completed the conversion of 3-6 Priory Row into four bespoke short-stay lets, which opened late 2021. Their transformation was designed to encourage visitors to experience the city in a new way and to increase tourism spend and boost prosperity, while also addressing a shortage of suitable accommodation in the city centre. This accommodation was especially needed for Coventry’s year in the spotlight as the UK City of Culture 2021. Local people have also benefited from this project by being involved in the restoration and by having regular access to the houses on local tourism and Heritage Open Days.


The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) awarded three grants to Historic Coventry Trust for this project. In 2018, a Project Development Grant allowed survey investigation of the buildings as part of the detailed design process, which led to their dendro-dating and their listing being upgraded to Grade II*. The second grant awarded was a Transformational Capital Grant of £350,000, which helped to unlock £211,971 from the Coventry City Council Cultural Capital awards. In 2021, the AHF also awarded Historic Coventry Trust an Emergency Support Grant of £15,000 to cover the costs incurred due to the pandemic.

About Historic Coventry Trust

Historic Coventry Trust, formerly Charterhouse Coventry Preservation Trust, is an energetic charity formed to resurrect Coventry’s image, economy and pride through the restoration and reuse of its heritage. The Trust’s aim is to become the guardian of the city’s heritage in perpetuity – a local ‘National Trust’ – and strategic partner to enable regeneration of all of Coventry’s heritage – Ancient to Modern. The Trust is a social enterprise and plans to become self-sufficient within 5 years, generating revenue from restored historic buildings. Historic Coventry Trust was a key partner in the city’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

In recognition of the enormous amount of work that Historic Coventry Trust needs to complete to achieve its goal of becoming self-sufficient within 5 years, in 2020, the AHF awarded the Trust with one of only four Heritage Development Trust pilot grants. This grant has provided £150,000 of revenue funding for three years to help the Trust achieve its ambitions, with the aim of investing in a potential model that others could use to reclaim a city’s heritage to promote economic growth and social benefit.

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AHF Funding

Project Development Grant - £27,425 (2018)

Transformational Project Grant - £350,000 (2019)

Emergency Support Grant - £15,000 (2021)

External Funding

Coventry City Council Cultural Capital Investment Fund - 211,971

Coventry & Warwickshire LEP Getting Building Fund - £244,010

Image Credits

Historic Coventry Trust

June 2022

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