The major means of protection accorded most cathedrals in times of war or revolution relied upon the unstated mutual respect given buildings used for worship by the combatants. Churches and cathedrals were often respected as places of peace and refuge.
However, cathedrals often were not protected and became victims during times of war or revolution, suffering damage alongside the other buildings in their respective communities.
When King Henry VIII of England died and his son assumed the throne as the protestant King Edward VI, cathedrals and churches throughout the kingdom were stripped of their stained glass, statues were destroyed or defaced, and all relics considered to be too reminiscent of the Roman Catholic faith were abolished.
During World War II, Coventry Cathedral was severely damaged during the bombing by the Germans. The new building was planned to incorporate part of the ruins of the original structure into the new cathedral.