Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke

"Fulke Greville" redirects here. For other uses, see Fulke Greville (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
The Lord Brooke

Portrait by Edmund Lodge
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
Preceded by Sir Julius Caesar
Succeeded by Sir Richard Weston
Personal details
Born 3 October 1554
Beauchamp's Court, Alcester
Died 30 September 1628
Brook House
Mother Anne Neville
Father Sir Fulke Greville
Alma mater Jesus College, Cambridge

Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer and 5th Baron Willoughby de Broke KB PC (/fʊlk ˈɡrɛvɪl/; 3 October 1554 – 30 September 1628), known before 1621 as Sir Fulke Greville, was an Elizabethan poet, dramatist, and statesman who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1581 and 1621, when he was raised to the peerage.

Greville was a capable administrator who served the English Crown under Elizabeth I and James I as, successively, treasurer of the navy, chancellor of the exchequer, and commissioner of the Treasury, and who for his services was in 1621 made Baron Brooke, peer of the realm. Greville was granted Warwick Castle in 1604, making numerous improvements. Greville is best known today as the biographer of Sir Philip Sidney, and for his sober poetry, which presents dark, thoughtful and distinctly Calvinist views on art, literature, beauty and other philosophical matters.


Fulke Greville, born 3 October 1554, at Beauchamp Court, near Alcester, Warwickshire, was the only son of Sir Fulke Greville (1536–1606) and Anne Neville (d.1583), the daughter of Ralph Neville, 4th Earl of Westmorland.[1] He was the grandson of Sir Fulke Greville (d. 10 November 1559) and Elizabeth Willoughby (buried 15 November 1562), eldest daughter of Robert Willoughby, 2nd Baron Willoughby de Broke,[2] the only other child of the marriage was a daughter, Margaret Greville (1561–1631/2), who married Sir Richard Verney.[1] He enrolled at Jesus College, Cambridge in 1568.[3]

Sir Henry Sidney, Philip's father, and president of the Council of Wales and the Marches, gave Greville in 1576 a post connected with the court of the Welsh Marches, but Greville resigned it in 1577 to go to attend court of Queen Elizabeth I along with Philip Sidney. There, Greville became a great favourite with the Queen, who valued his sober character and administrative skills. In 1581, he was elected in a by-election as Member of Parliament for Southampton.[4] Queen Elizabeth made him secretary to the principality of Wales in 1583. However he was put out of favour more than once for leaving the country against her wishes.

Warwick Castle on River Avon in October 2004.

Greville, Philip Sidney and Sir Edward Dyer were members of the "Areopagus", the literary clique which, under the leadership of Gabriel Harvey, supported the introduction of classical metres into English verse. Sidney and Greville arranged to sail with Sir Francis Drake in 1585 in his expedition against the Spanish West Indies, but Elizabeth forbade Drake to take them with him, and also refused Greville's request to be allowed to join Robert Dudley's army in the Netherlands. Philip Sidney, who took part in the campaign, was killed on 17 October 1586. Greville memorialized his beloved friend in his Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney.

Greville participated in the Battle of Coutras in 1587.[5] About 1591 Greville served further for a short time in Normandy under King Henry III of Navarre in the French Wars of Religion. This was his last experience of war.

Greville represented Warwickshire in parliament in 1592-1593, 1597, 1601 and 1621. In 1598 he was made Treasurer of the Navy, and he retained the office through the early years of the reign of James I.

Greville was granted Warwick Castle—situated on a bend of the River Avon in Warwickshire—by King James I in 1604.[6] Dilapidated when he took possession of the castle, he spent £20,000 to restore it to former glory.[4][7]

In 1614 he became chancellor and under-treasurer of the exchequer, and throughout the reign he was a valued supporter of James I, although in 1615 he advocated the summoning of Parliament. In 1618 he became commissioner of the treasury, and in 1621 he was raised to the peerage with the title of Baron Brooke, a title which had belonged to the family of his paternal grandmother.

Death and legacy

In 1628 Greville was stabbed inside Warwick Castle by Ralph Heywood, a servant who believed that he had been cheated in his master's will. Heywood then turned the knife on himself. Greville's physicians treated his wounds by filling them with pig fat rather than disinfecting them, the pig fat turned rancid and infected the wounds, and he died in agony four weeks after the attack. He was buried in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick, and on his tomb was inscribed the epitaph he had composed:

Folk Grevill
Servant to Queene Elizabeth
Conceller to King James
and Frend to Sir Philip Sidney.
Trophaeum Peccati.

Greville has numerous streets named after him in the Hatton Garden area of Holborn, London (see Hatton Garden#Street names etymologies).


Greville is best known by his biography of Sidney, the full title of which expresses the scope of the work.[n 1] He includes some autobiographical matter in what amounts to a treatise on government.

Greville's poetry consists of closet tragedies, sonnets, and poems on political and moral subjects. His style is grave and sententious.

Greville's works include:

Closet drama
Verse poems
Miscellaneous prose


Greville's works were collected and reprinted by Alexander Balloch Grosart, in 1870, in four volumes. Poetry and Drama of Fulke Greville, edited by Geoffrey Bullough, was published in 1938. The Prose Works of Fulke Greville, edited by John Gouws, were published in 1986. The Selected Poems of Fulke Greville edited by Thom Gunn, with an afterword by Bradin Cormack, was published in 2009 (University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-30846-3.)

The principal repository for Fulke Greville's papers is the British Library (Add. Mss. 54566-71, the Warwick Manuscripts; letters in the as-yet uncatalogued Earl Cowper mss.). Individual manuscripts of the Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney are to be found in Headington, Oxford (the private collection of Dr. B. E. Juel-Jensen); Trinity College, Cambridge (Mss. R.7.32 and 33); and Shrewsbury Public Library (Ms. 295).

Critical reception

Of Brooke Charles Lamb says . .

"He is nine parts Machiavel and Tacitus, for one of Sophocles and Seneca... Whether we look into his plays or his most passionate love-poems, we shall find all frozen and made rigid with intellect."

He goes on to speak of the obscurity of expression that runs through all Brooke's poetry.

Andrea McCrea sees the influence of Justus Lipsius in the Letter to an Honourable Lady, but elsewhere detects a scepticism more akin to Michel de Montaigne.[9]

A rhyming elegy on Brooke, published in Henry Huth's Inedited Poetical Miscellanies, brings charges of miserliness against him.

Robert Pinsky has asserted that this work is comparable in force of imagination to John Donne.[10]


Lord Brooke left no natural heirs, and his senior (Brooke) barony passed to his cousin and adopted son, Robert Greville (1608–1643), who took the side of Parliament part in the English Civil War, and defeated the Royalists in a skirmish at Kineton in August 1642. Robert was killed during the siege of Lichfield on 2 March 1643, having survived the elder Greville by only fifteen years. His other barony (Willoughby de Broke) was inherited by his sister Margaret who married Sir Richard Verney.

See also

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke


  1. the complete title: The Life of the Renowned Sr. Philip Sidney. With the true Interest of England as it then stood in relation to all Forrain Princes: And particularly for suppressing the power of Spain Stated by Him: His principall Actions, Counsels, Designes, and Death. Together with a short account of the Maximes and Policies used by Queen Elizabeth in her Government.


  1. 1 2 Gouws 2004
  2. Richardson I 2011, pp. 336–8; Richardson II 2011, p. 269.
  3. "Greville, Fulke (GRVL568F)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. 1 2 "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  5. Adriana McCrea, Constant Minds: Political virtue and the Lipsian paradigm in England, 1584-1650 (1997), p. 107.
  6. "The Ghost Tower of Warwick Castle". Great Castles. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  7. "Local Worthies 1 - Sir Fulke Greville III". Spring 1985 Index. Alcester & District Local History Society. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  8. "Fulke GREVILLE (1º B. Willoughby of Broke)". Bios. Tudor Place. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  9. Adriana McCrea, Constant Minds: Political virtue and the Lipsian paradigm in England, 1584-1650 (1997), pp. 115-116.
  10. "Susan Orlean, David Remnick, Ethan Hawke, and Others Pick Their Favorite Obscure Books". Village Voice. 2 December 2008.


Further reading


External links

Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Brooke, Fulke Greville, 1st Baron.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fulke Greville.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Henry Wallop
Nicholas Caplyn
Member of Parliament for Southampton
With: Nicholas Caplyn
Succeeded by
Thomas Digges
Thomas Godard
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Lucy
George Digby
Member of Parliament for Warwickshire
With: Sir John Harington 1587
Richard Verney 1589
Edward Greville 1593
William Combe 1597
Sir Robert Digby 1601
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Greville
Sir Richard Verney
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Lucy
Sir Richard Verney
Member of Parliament for Warwickshire
With: Sir Thomas Lucy
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Lucy
Sir Francis Leigh
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Leicester
Custos Rotulorum of Warwickshire
bef. 1594 – aft. 1596
Succeeded by
Sir Thomas Leigh
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Leigh
Custos Rotulorum of Warwickshire
Succeeded by
The Earl of Denbigh
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir John Hawkins
Treasurer of the Navy
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Mansell
Preceded by
Sir Julius Caesar
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Weston
Peerage of England
New title Baron Brooke
Succeeded by
Robert Greville
Preceded by
Fulke Greville
Baron Willoughby de Broke
de jure Baron Latimer

Succeeded by
Margaret Verney
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/27/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.