15th-18th Centuries

The Tudor and Jacobean Periods (1485-1625) saw a shift in style at Warwick Castle. The focus was no longer on the castle as a military encampment but as a home.  By the end of the 18th century the castle was much as we see it today and even the grounds and gardens were beginning to take on their current shape under the eye of Capability Brown.

Those who lived in the castle still continued to exert influence with the Government of the day. In 1547 Edward VI appointed John Dudley Earl of Warwick. The Earl was to become the King’s Chief Minister. On Edward VI’s death in 1553, the Earl appointed his own daughter-in-law Queen. Lady Jane Gray was to reign for just two weeks before Mary Tudor reclaimed the throne and had the Earl and his fourth son executed for treason.  The reign of Elizabeth I saw a shift in fortunes. Elizabeth pardoned Ambrose Dudley, son of the treasonous earl and released him from the Tower of London, reinstating his title and Warwick Castle in 1561. Elizabeth herself visited Warwick castle in 1572, an occasion which saw great excitement and celebration – not least as it saw the skies above Warwick light up to the first firework display in Britain.

The early 17th century saw changes at Warwick and the rumblings of change for England as a whole. For centuries the Kings and Queens of England had ruled by ‘divine right’ but there was a growing feeling that things needed to change. When Fulke Greville Earl of Warwick died in 1628 without heir the title passed to his cousin Robert Greville.  Fulke had been a royalist, but Robert was an impassioned Republican and played a key role in the English Civil War, being appointed Commander of the Republican forces in Staffordshire and Warwickshire. Robert lost his life in the Civil War, he was shot in the eye by a sniper. His son was to inherit the title and, ironically, was one of the many nobles involved in the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II in 1660.

It is said that the ghost of Fulke Neville continues to haunt Warwick Castle to this day. Fulke, a published poet, was well regarded at court and was given the title Earl of Warwick by James I in 1604. The castle had stood derelict for some 14 years and was in desperate need of repair. Fulke lived in a tower at the castle whilst workmen and designers carried out his grand design in restoration. Fulke was never to see the castle restored to its full glory. He was stabbed by his manservant in a tussle and despite the best care of his doctors, died an excruciatingly painful  27 days later. His ghost can still be felt in The Ghost Tower that was once his home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *