To be Sent To Coventry is to become a social outcast and be ignored by everybody. But why poor old Coventry?
During the English Civil War in the mid-1600s Coventry was a strong Parliamentarian town, and Royalist soldiers, captured during the early battles in the Midlands, would be sent to nearby Coventry where they could be certain of a less than welcoming reception. Long before the days of prison camps soldiers loyal to the King could only wander around town looking for food or work but locals would refuse to speak with them, and would even turn their backs and ignore their presence completely. Back then the only entertainment to be found was in local inns but Royalists were barred. Coventry was clearly no place for them but, short of walking back to London, and starving on the way, there was little option but to stay and scavenge.
In some cases Royalist soldiers who were deemed useless or not quite committed to the cause would also be garrisoned near Coventry, assuring them of a miserable posting by way of punishment. The idea was that, as no loyalist wanted to be sent to Coventry, they might show more commitment to the King in battle and avoid the posting.