Sent To Coventry

Posted by Smokey Stover on October 18, 2005

In Reply to: Sent To Coventry posted by Ray Daley on October 17, 2005

: I was interested to read the Covin - Tree theory but here's what I was taught as a native of the city. Rulers of a city are also normally the judge or justice of the parish. Cofa who founded the city used the tree to execute his enemies and wrong doers. If you had been sent to Cofa's Tree your fate was to be executed by being hung from the neck until you were dead. As the dead can not answer, no-one speaks to them Hence being sent to Coventry means no-one speaks to you.

Thanks for your explanation. I'm sure you've also seen the explanation in the OED: "1. to send (a person) to Coventry: to exclude him from the society of which he is a member on account of objectionable conduct; to refuse to associate or have intercourse with him. So also to be in Coventry.
[The origin of the phrase has been the subject of numerous ingenious conjectures: see Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, etc. A probable suggestion refers it to the circumstances recorded in quot. 1647; a less likely source has been suggested in quot. 1691.
1647 CLARENDON Hist. Reb. VI. 83 At Bromigham a town so generally wicked that it had risen upon small parties of the king's, and killed or taken them prisoners and sent them to Coventry [then strongly held for the Parliament]. a1691 BAXTER in Reliq. Baxt. I. I. 44 Thus when I was at Coventry the Religious part of my Neighbours at Kidderminster that would fain have lived quietly at home, were be gone, and to Coventry they came.]" SS