8th Jul, 2020

Turning back the clock to celebrate the life of a true Elizabethan

Laura Kearns 16th Jul, 2018

A LARGELY forgotten Elizabethan poet is being remembered in his home town.

The Fulke Greville Festival will be held in Alcester in September and will celebrate the life and achievements of knight of the realm.

Sir Fulke, who died 390 years ago this year, was Lord of the Manor of Alcester during the late 16th and early 17th Centuries and also owner of Warwick Castle.

He was a poet, dramatist and statesman, whose various roles at the court of Elizabeth I and James I included Treasurer of the Navy and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

A contemporary of Shakespeare’s, Greville was also regarded as a generous patron of many of the leading writers of the day including Christopher Marlowe and Ben Johnson.

To mark the occasion, a festival of talks, lectures and tours have been organised with presentations by leading researchers on his poetry and plays, many of which have been compared in quality to the Bard’s own celebrated sonnets.

The programme will also include visits to the site of his former residence Beauchamp Court, Alcester, Warwick Castle and his tomb in the Chapter House of St Mary’s Church in Warwick.

Among his good deeds for the townsfolk of Alcester was a donation of £300 to build a market hall. Alcester Town Hall, as it is now known, celebrates its 400th anniversary this year and will be the main festival venue.

Sir Fulke was granted ownership in 1604 of Warwick Castle, and transformed it from what was then a ruin.

He was raised to the peerage by James I with the title of Lord Brooke.

His life came to a tragic end aged 74 when he was murdered by a greedy manservant at his London home.

The patron of the festival, which runs from September 28 to 30, is the Rt Hon Lord Brooke, ancestor of Sir Fulke and eldest son and heir to the present Earl of Warwick.

Adam Busiakiewicz, an art historian and festival co-organiser, said: “Not many people in Alcester know that such a fascinating figure in British history was born on their doorstep.

“Fulke Greville was a true Renaissance man, and was a poet, soldier, jouster, courtier and politician.

“His exciting life makes our current Chancellor’s look feeble and insignificant in comparison. We look forward to celebrating the life of this extraordinary individual and welcoming all who wish to learn more about this fascinating man and the intriguing times he lived in.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the festival can attend a free launch event on Wednesday, July 25 at Alcester Town Hall at 7pm, email info@fulkefest.org.uk to book a place.

Visit www.fulkefest.org.uk for more information.

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