Sir Fulke of Beauchamp's Court Greville  25
- Born: Abt 1491, Milcote, Warwickshire, England
- Marriage: Elizabeth Willoughby  before 11 Apr 1526
- Died: 10 Nov 1559 about age 68
- Buried: 11 Dec 1559, Alcester, , Warwickshire, England
Which Fulke Greville? There were three of them, one after the other. There was Fulke Greville I died 1559, F.G. II died 1606 and F.G. III , died 1628. All of them lived parts of their lives at Beauchamp Court, which was their Alcester manor house at King's Coughton.
F.G.I's tomb is in Alcester church: he enhanced the family fortunes by marrying a rich bride. F.G. II was prominent in county affairs was a Knight of the Shire in several Parliaments. But it is F.G. III of whom we now speak. Such an article as this can only hint vaguely at his talents and his participation, not only in county but in national affairs. He is the most famous figure that Alcester has produced. (Books which deal in great detail with his life and attainments are named at the end of this article).
In volume 42 of the Camden Society's publications (in Warwick Record Office) is quoted an extract from the diary of Henry Machyn, a merchant tailor of London, part of whose business was to specialise in funerals of the great.
'The xi day of December 1559 was bered in Warwykeshyre Sir Folk Greville Knt. And he had a hearse of wax and penselles and with arms; and he had a harold of armes and a standard and a pennon of armes and a colt armur and a helm targett and sworn mantylls of velvett and a vi dozen skochyons and many morners; and pore men had gowns and a great dolle; and after a great dinner for rich and pore; and the best howse keeper in that countre'
The Rev. Frank Wain reminds us: 'It was no small task to convey the funeral trappings around the country in winter in waggons floundering through mud up to the axles. Do not think that people or churches kept that kind of equipment lying about the place till it was wanted. Indeed, the extract reads very much like notes made with the view to sending in the bill later on'.
In the next issue we will have more about this funeral; in the meantime, enough to remind readers that this Fulke Greville is the one whose restored tomb may be seen in Alcester parish church.
Alcester & District Local History Society
Spring 1985 Index <index.htm>
In the last issue <../85su/funer.htm> a few words were written about Fulke's funeral in 1559 and the man, Henry Machyn, who supplied the outward trappings. Here are some more thoughts on this most imposing event by the Revd.Frank Wain.
Do not picture the scene as taking place in what you now know as Alcester Parish Church. Try to imagine, rather, the long, narrow, lofty mediaeval church of St.Faith, fragrant with the incense of many centuries, of which only the tower now survives.
From far and wide people flocked to the funeral, including the neighbouring clergy. It is still said that you can make sure of the attendance of the clergy at a function by offering them a free lunch and here they were being given a great dinner! The purpose of the dole to the poor was to ensure their attendance at the fun eral and their prayers for the soul of the departed; Sir Fulke and Elizabeth, his wife, had been members of the religious guild of Knowle, which had a similar purpose. Although all such guilds had been disbanded by the government before this date, you cannot stop people's private prayers by Act of Parliament, nor their attendance at funerals. So the church was crowded.
Did the Bishop come to so important a funeral? The answer is 'No'. Earlier in the year a form of subscription to the new English service, combined with an oath about the Royal Supremacy, had been presented to the bishops. They all refused, all were deprived of their sees and England had, for the time being, no bishops left. It is far more likely that William Walker conducted the funeral himself. He had been rector of Alcester since 1544 and was prob ably a fairly old man by Elizabethan standards, with a distaste for all these changes in religion.
Fulke departed this life on the 10th November; now it was a month later. With that crowded church, let us hope that it was a hard winter! No doubt they had their methods of embalming and no doubt in the depths of Warwickshire these methods were extremely amateurish. Who applied them? Not Henry Machyn, for it took a month to fetch him from London. A plentiful use of incense at the service would be desirable. Would William Walker consider himself still permitted to use it? He would have known that the Queen insisted on its use in her private chapel, although the services there were now in English, not Latin. If he had a copy of the third edition of the Book of Common Prayer, published this year, he may have considered that the Ornaments Rubric, now inserted for the first time, specially to deal with such things, authorises it. But he was probably old-fashioned and it was probably a necessity in any case.
Was the service in English or Latin? Were the Latin services really abolished? Was the 1559 Prayer Book used instead? Bishop Scory wrote that the book had still not been used in Hereford Cathedral as late as October, 1564.
Machyn had only recently, in September, conducted the obsequies of Henry II of France with great solemnity in St.Paul's Cathedral. We have the same undertaker, the same gear and trapp ings, quite likely the same Herald, brought up by Machyn from London don. As we picture him bustling about Alcester church, who shall say that it was not also the same service, which his diary describes in full on the previous occasion?
Frank Wain has added a note that the body may have been kept fresh by keeping it in an ice-house, a common feature of large houses. Until recently there was one extant at Studley and we know that Ragley Hall had one.
Autumn 1985 Index <index.htm>
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1985
Fulke married Elizabeth Willoughby  [MRIN: 3600], daughter of Edward Willoughby  and Margaret Neville , before 11 Apr 1526. (Elizabeth Willoughby  was born on 28 Apr 1510 in probably Broke, Wiltshire, England and died on 15 Nov 1562.)