Cross of Nails Pilgrimage

In 2018 all 75 Church of England Schools in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire took part in the Cross of Nails pilgrimage. The Cross of Nails travelled from school to school with a special act of worship taking place to mark each handover. The pilgrimage culminated in a service of celebration in the Cathedral with each school represented.


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The Cross of Nails Pilgrimage concluded with a service of thanksgiving at Coventry Cathedral.

Pupils, staff and local clergy from all 75 schools were at the service. The service started with a procession of colourful banners from each school in the nave before Bishop Christopher led Leigh CofE Academy’s version of the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation. During the service there was an exciting dramatic performance of the story of Joseph from Knightlow Primary School and beautiful choir performances from Blue Coat School & Music College and the Revel Primary School.

Bishop Christopher spoke about the story of the Cross of Nails from the perspective of the piece of metal that was made into the nails that held together the old Cathedral roof and thanksgiving prayers were lead by teachers, students and members of the DBE.

Overall, the service was a great celebration of the schools in our diocese and a chance to thank God for 100 years of the Diocese of Coventry.


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Walsgrave CofE School 

The excitement started off on Monday when we received the Cross of Nails from St Lawrence C of E. On Tuesday, we continued with our celebrations as we all had the opportunity to show our creative side. Through drama, art and cookery, we celebrated not only 100 years of the Diocese, but also the importance of  Remembrance. This was a fantastic day, with children across the school working together to produce some stunning work that will be displayed. Thank you to Mrs Ashworth for organising the event.

Finally, on Wednesday the children and staff of Walsgrave came together to create a huge piece of art work on the playground. Using a drone, we grouped together to make a cross and finished off our week.


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Shottery St Andrew’s C of E Primary School passed on the Cross of Nails to The Willows C of E Primary School.


The Cross of Nails arrived at Wellesbourne CofE Primary on Tuesday 12 June.  The School Council received the Cross from children representing Moreton Morrell CofE Primary during a special assembly attended by all staff and pupils.


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The Cross of Nails arrived at St Peter Ad Vincula’s Church in Hampton Lucy on Tuesday 5th June and it was handed over from Loxley School to the Head Girl Lucy and Head Boy Jake as part of a service in the church led by The Rev Rachel Saum. The Rev David Jessett also joined us for our celebration. The children sang and played percussion instruments to mark the receiving of The Cross of Nails at Hampton Lucy C of E Primary School and Nursery.

Year 6 and their buddies in reception made their own cross of nails which was rather tricky. This will remain with us in school as a reminder of The Cross of Nails.

On Friday 8th June Lucy and Jake had the privilege of taking the Cross of Nails to Moreton Morrell and handing it safely into their care.

Our mission complete the pilgrimage continues …

Lucy Aiello Head Girl
Jake Prance Head Boy
Hampton Lucy Cof E Primary School and Nursery


Loxley received the Cross of Nails at the half way point of its journey. All of the children have visited Barford Primary School to take part in the handover service followed by a picnic lunch with the Barford children. It was a wonderful experience and an event that we would like to repeat in the near future. The children and staff received an incredibly warm welcome from Annette Delaney and her staff and pupils.

Loxley looked after the cross over the half term holiday, when it travelled to PGL and back – the 108 miles made it quite a substantial pilgrimage.

One child commented that just having the cross with us made them feel more confident about attempting the zip wire.  She remarked that “I gained courage from touching the cross before I climbed up the tower.”

Following our INSET day on the Monday, we passed the Cross of Nails onto Hampton Lucy School on Tuesday. Rachel Saum led a child-friendly service and the Reception children’s musical accompaniment was uplifting.

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The children at Loxley have enjoyed learning about the Cross of Nails and have enjoyed hearing stories from the school archives of how the school has changed over the last 100 years. We all feel blessed to be part of the diocese and have thoroughly enjoyed being part of such a large pilgrimage.

Matthew Watson,
Head of School,
Loxley CofE Community Primary School


On Wednesday 23rd of May All Saints Junior School, in Warwick, handed over the Cross of Nails to Barford St Peter’s. It was immensely exciting as they arrived in a vintage car.

On Thursday 24th of May all of Loxley Primary School joined Barford St Peter’s in a special church service at St Peter’s Church. Both schools chose their favourite hymn and shared memorable, historic, events that had taken place over the past hundred years. The morning concluded with lunch and an opportunity for both schools to make new friendships.

As Loxley left the success of the morning was clear. The waving and the calls of ‘goodbye’ showed just how much the children had enjoyed spending time together.


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The Cross of Nails arrived at Meriden CofE Primary School at 2.45pm on Wednesday 14 March. The Cross was passed over to us by pupils from Bournebrook CofE Primary School during a service which was led by Year 5. Extracts from the school log book from 1918 were read out along with readings about the memorials in Meriden village centre. During the three days, the children took part in art projects based around peace, love and faith. 100 pupils designed a tile to be part of our centenary plaque which will be erected in the school hall. Other pupils created willow sculptures which will be placed in our Peace Garden.



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Abbey CofE Primary received The Cross of Nails on 6 March.  Sharon Thorpe, Headteacher, writes:

“A very special service was held in school and some lovely photos were taken. The service began with a re-enactment of how The Cross of Nails originated, followed by celebrations including singing, praying and releasing doves. The service was concluded by sharing the outcome of our wonderful SIAMS report with children, staff, governors and parents.”


Angela Dawes, Interim Headteacher of St Nicholas’ CofE Academy, writes:

“The Cross of Nails arrived at St Nicolas’ CofE Academy at 9.15am on Thursday 8 March. The Cross was passed to us by pupils from St Paul’s C of E Primary School, Stockingford, during a whole school service. Rock Solid, the school’s Christian Club, led the formal ceremony with Rev Kelly blessing The Cross at the end of the service. The children had each made their own decorated hand-held cross at home beforehand and took them into the hall for the service.  Throughout the rest of the day the children took part in a series of activities where they explored the Christian values of Peace, Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Hope.  We converted one of our classrooms into a prayer/reflective area where we provided a range of activities to help the children to be still and reflective. We had a willow weaver working in school with our children to make small crosses, a large cross and a fish for display.  Each year group also created a permanent piece of artwork that depicted images relating to the values. The Cross of Nails journeyed from class to class throughout the day where special circle prayer times were held. As a lasting memory of the Cross of Nails event we created an aerial view photograph of the whole school standing in the shape of a cross.”

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The Cross of Nails left The Revel CofE Primary on 5 February and travelled in style on board a tractor to Wolvey CofE Primary school.  From Wolvey CofE Primary it travelled to St James’ CofE Acacemy, Bulkington.  Christine Baggott Acting Headteacher at St James’ CofE Academy writes:

“We received the Cross of Nails from Wolvey CofE Primary school during a lovely service in church.  Every member of the school made a peace promise and wrote it on a dove and some children read out their peace promises during the service. The children also wove ribbon to make crosses – weaving used to be very popular in Bulkington.”



Yesterday (1 February) there was a service to hand over the cross from Dunchurch Boughton CofE Junior to The Revel CofE Primary. During its time at The Revel, the cross will move from classroom to classroom with special activities planned by each class of children. This morning there was a service at St Edith’s Church and for the first time ever, children from all three school sites (Early Birds Nursery, Brinklow Reception and Monks Kirby KS1 and 2) joined together for worship. Linda Wainscot attended this service too.

Tomorrow evening St Edith’s Church is holding a candlemass supper in the school hall at The Revel CofE Primary and the Cross of Nails will form a central part of the service so the wider community will be included.  The cross will leave The Revel on Monday 5 February and will travel on a specially designed platform on the front of a tractor to Wolvey CofE Primary.  The tractor will be followed by the Junior Leadership Team travelling in the school minibus.


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The Cross of Nails arrived at Clifton-upon-Dunsmore  C of E Primary School at 1:30pm on Friday 26th January.  During a service which was led by our school worship team, the Cross was passed over to us by pupils from St. Andrew’s Benn C of E Primary School.

Our two schools have a very different history, and it was lovely to find out more about how they have developed over the years and compare what school was like during the last 100 years.  The pupils from both schools shared extracts from their school log books.  Clifton looked back to the early days of the centenary period from 1918, through the second world war years, (where we discovered that during this time the boys were regularly sent out to harvest potatoes as part of the war effort) to events around 1960.  St. Andrew’s compared their school today with what it was like in 1966 when it was located on the site which is now the home of the Diocese offices.

We were delighted that Rev’d Tim Davis could be present as he works very closely with both schools and he prayed for God’s guidance on us all as we continue to work with the children in our care.

On Monday 29th, Rev’d Tim led our whole school worship which was also attended by parents and governors.  He took the Litany of Reconciliation as his theme and spoke about the meaning behind each of the phrases and how we should respond to these in our lives while asking for God’s guidance in all that we do and say.  He reminded us that Christ was crucified on a cross in order that we have the opportunity to be reconciled to God.

During the day the children undertook an art project based around images of the Cross of Nails and Coventry Cathedral, representing the themes of peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.  The artwork is being displayed around school.

On Tuesday 30th January, the student heads team and I were privileged to transport the Cross of Nails to Dunchurch Boughton C of E Junior School in a 1929 Vintage Rolls Royce with the top open on what was a beautiful and sunny day.  Travelling in a vehicle from the early part of the centenary period was a unique experience for us all and the children felt like royalty as we drove through Rugby town centre, attracting attention along the way.

We shared in the handing over ceremony with the pupils and staff of Dunchurch school.  We were able to share the history of our schools and learn how they have developed to become the schools they are today.

Lisa Bernard, Headteacher at Clifton-upon-Dunsmore CofE Primary School


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We received the Cross of Nails from two children from Bilton CofE Junior School on Tuesday 16th January during a special service in our school hall which was organised by our Worship Group. The focus of the worship was reconciliation, renewal and generous relationships. We sang together and the pupils from Bilton had refreshments with St Matthew’s Bloxam Worship Group. Whilst the Cross was at St Matthew’s Bloxam we shared it around the classes and talked about other events that had happened 100 years ago.  During the summer term we have planned a special RE day when we will learn more about the Litany which we use as our School Prayer.

On Friday 19th January, we walked with the Cross of Nails to St Oswald’s CofE Academy.  Sixty children (from Years 5 and 6) and six adults walked the 15 minute journey to St Oswald’s CofE Academy where we were welcomed by Mrs Lorimer and special guest, Canon Wainscot. Again we had a special service to hand over the Cross of Nails which ended in everyone eating and drinking together. The children then had the opportunity to play outside with the pupils from St Oswald’s CofE Academy before we made our way back to school.

Anita Timson, Head of St Matthew’s Bloxam CofE Primary School

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The DBE cross of nails pilgrimage got off to a great start last week. I had the honour of meeting students and staff from Harris CofE Academy in the Catherdral ruins of Wednesday to formally hand over the cross and send it on its way.

 On Thursday afternoon I attended a wonderful act of Collective Worship with the staff and students of Harris School accompanied by Joanne Evans from the DBE, Peter Law and David Morris from DMAT and local clergy representatives Reverend Imogen Nay from St Andrews and Reverend Tim Cockell the Area Dean. The worship, planned and led by the students, told of the history of the cross of nails and the important reconciliation ministry that has grown out of it at Coventry Cathedral.

 On Friday morning five Harris students took the cross to Bilton Junior School. The students carrying the cross from Harris were ex-BJS students which added to the feeling of being a Diocesan Family. The special assembly was attended by Mark Pawsey, the local MP; Canon Linda Wainscot, April Gold and Helen Gibson, from the DBE; and Kate Browning as the Chair of Governors. Alex Norton, Head Teacher, explained the history of the cross of nails to the children and we enjoyed singing “The Lion and the Lamb” with excellent BJS created actions.

 The final destination of the week was St Mary’s Church Bilton on Sunday morning. Alex Norton was invited to preach at the family service and explained the pilgrimage and its significance to the congregation. It was lovely to meet a number of pupils and parents from BJS past present and future. The cross of nails will remain with BJS until Tuesday when it will continue its journey on the St Matthew’s Bloxam.

April Gold, Deputy Diocesan Director of Education


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The Cross of Nails Centenary Pilgrimage began this week with a service in Coventry Cathedral ruins led by Reverend Kathryn Fleming and attended by April Gold (Deputy Diocesan Director of Education.  During the service the Cross was passed to students from Harris CofE Academy.  There was a celebratory service at the academy on Thursday (11 January) and the Cross was passed on to Bilton CofE Junior School at 9.00am today.  On 16 January the Cross will be passed from Bilton CofE Junior to St Matthew’s Bloxam CofE Primary and on 19 January the Cross will move to St Oswald’s CofE Academy.  If DBE Board members would like to attend any of the services please get in touch with Helen Gibson.