1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Coventry, Sir John

COVENTRY, SIR JOHN (d. 1682), son of John Coventry, the second son of Thomas, Lord Keeper Coventry, was returned to the Long Parliament in 1640 as member for Evesham. During the Civil War he served for the king, and at the Restoration was created a knight. In 1667, and in the following parliaments of 1678, 1679 and 1681, he was elected for Weymouth, and opposed the government. On the 21st of December 1670, owing to a jest made by Coventry in the House of Commons on the subject of the king’s amours, Sir Thomas Sandys, an officer of the guards, with other accomplices, by the order of Monmouth, and (it was said) with the approval of the king himself, waylaid him as he was returning home to Suffolk Street and slit his nose to the bone. The outrage created an extraordinary sensation, and in consequence a measure known as the “Coventry Act” was passed, declaring assaults accompanied by personal mutilation a felony without benefit of clergy. Sir John died in 1682. Sir William Coventry, his uncle, speaks slightingly of him, ridicules his vanity and wishes him out of the House of Commons to be “out of harm’s way.”