Archive: The Ghostly Anecdotes of a Great Man; Ross Reyburn Discovers the Haunted Trail at the Great Warwick Castle Fortification

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Reyburn

The life of Fulke Greville, courtier, poet and saviour of Warwick Castle, is remembered with some style in the historic town of Warwick.

At the castle he saved, they say his spectre inhabits the Ghost Tower where he lived while rebuilding the great fortification. Visiting this atmospheric setting you can see where he slept and hear the story of his ultimately fatal stabbing at the hands of his servant in London related with sombre authority by a voice echoing from the walls.

And his tomb can be found just a few hundred yards' walk away in the Collegiate Church of St Mary.

Amid a background of appropriately eerie music, a sonorous, doom-laden voice tells visitors as they arrive in the downstairs room of the tower with its darkly lit portrait of Fulke Greville, 1st Lord Brooke: 'This room is haunted. The fine and worthy life of Sir Fulke Greville did not come to a fine and worthy end for he was murdered. If you would know how and why he met his end, ascend these stairs.'

Upstairs is the magnificent wooden bed where Fulke Greville slept and displayed are replicas of the gruesome 17th century medical instruments available in the doomed 27-day attempt to save his life.

Ironically the diseased pig's fat used to pack his wounds is thought to have killed him rather than the knife wounds inflicted by his servant Ralph Haywood, aggrieved at being left pounds 20 in his master's will.

Fulke Greville's spirit is said to haunt the tower. But castle guide Sam Cherry points out that the tower has fewer reports of pronominal activity than elsewhere in the castle.

'It is a nice story but I have never seen a ghost in the tower,' said Cherry, whose unhappiest experience in her nine years at the castle was hearing the harrowing sound of a child crying for which she could find no explanation.

'I did see the silhouette of two men in the bedroom window box looking into the courtyard at me or beyond. I thought they were cleaners - I waved but got no response. Later I asked the head of security who had been in the Ghost Tower at 7.15pm and he told me it had been locked since six o'clock.' You may not see his ghost, but Fulke Greville is impressively brought to life again by 29-year-old Sam Cherry in her 20-minute solo theatrical performance for visitors that debates who was the most powerful figure in Warwick Castle's history.

Donning varying items of clothing, she in turn acts the part of four outstanding figures in the castle's history, the 14th century knight Richard de Beauchamp, Richard Neville, otherwise known as Warwick the Kingmaker, Fulke Greville and finally Daisy, Countess of Warwick.

In the script, Greville amusingly dismisses his predecessors: 'Listen not to Richard Neville, a foolish man, never really sure of his allegiances, who died a humiliating death at the battle of Barnet. …