Tag Archives: Fulke Greville

Charlton speculates on Greville monument connectons to Oxford

Derran Charlton reports from England about the inspection of Fulke Greville’s monument at Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick:

Professor James Stevens Curl of Cambridge University has discovered what he claims to be powerful evidence that Fulke Greville had several manuscripts buried in his ornate memorial. This is no idle speculation. A radar scan of the monument that stands in the chapter house of the Collegiate Church of St. Mary, Warwick, has revealed three “box-like” objects that are sealed within. Researchers have also uncovered evidence suggesting that the remaining two boxes might contain a previously unseen biography of James I and appreciating that Greville`s most famous work is his Life of the Renowned Sr. Philip Sidney, the priceless literary remains of Sir Philip Sidney. But that is, perhaps, wishful thinking.

In an article titled “A murdered spy and coded messages from beyond the grave . . . Will opening this tomb prove Shakespeare didn’t write his plays?” by Richard Price published February 11, 2010 in the London daily Mail Online, Curl said:

“Until we look inside we cannot know for sure what it is. What is absolutely certain is that the size, cost and magnificence of the monument are intended to speak to us. There are plenty of clues about what it might be, and they suggest this is an incredibly exciting find.”

The discovery has resulted in great excitement, with academics positing that the boxes may contain the holy-grail of English dramatic history — an original manuscript of a Shakeseare play.

The initial search, using ground penetrating radar, has been approved by the local diocese. Under the expert guidance of Professor Rodwell the team of investigators now want to use an endoscope – a tiny video camera on a long thin tube, similar to the type commonly used in surgical procedures.

In a major development last week, Chancellor Stephen Eyre of the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Coventry granted permission for an endoscope to be used to examine the monument. A stringent set of conditions have stipulated that the work must be carried out within the next few months. However, those involved expect the work to begin, almost certainly, with the next six weeks.

Greville, four years younger than Oxford, was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1554, ten years before the official birth date of Shaksper. Greville and Shaksper lived on the same street.

According to a mid-seventeenth century biography Greville wished to be known to posterity as Shakespeare`s master. (See Note.)

Greville spent the equivalent of £300,000 on his monument, but his body was placed in the crypt below the church – not in the monument itself. Ben Jonson referred to his friend William Shakespere as “a monument without a tombe”, a precise description of Greville`s monument.

Although Curl posits Greville as a candidate for Shakespeare’s work, I do not think that non-Oxfordians are aware of the possible Oxford connections:

I have always been fascinated by the fact that Sir Fulke Greville (1554-1628), poet, renowned scholar, statesman, soldier, spy, judge, and Army captain, was appointed by Queen Elizabeth as treasurer of the navy, and that James I made Greville chancellor of the exchequer in 1614 and granted him Warwick Castle.

I was particularly interested by the fact that Greville purchased King`s Place (previously known as Kingshold) and re-named Brooke House by Greville following the death of Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford who had resided there. I speculate that Shakesperean documents might have been located there following the death of the earl, and that they may later have been acquired by Greville.

Appreciating that no Shakespearean manuscripts are extant, and appreciating that Oxford most probably wrote them and constantly polished them until his death in 1604, I reasoned that it is not beyond possibility that manuscripts could have been located at King’s Place.

Derran Charlton

The title and author of the biography in which Greville referred to Shake-speare’s master was: Statesmen and Favourites of England since the Reformation, 1665, by David Lloyd. The full quote is: “He desired to be known to posterity under no other notions than of Shakespeare’s and Ben Johnson’s master, Chancellor Egerton’s patron, and Sir Philip Sidney’s friend.” The quote that “He lived on Shaksper’s street in Stratford.” is from The Master of Shakespeare by A.W.L. Saunders.

Shahan re: Greville

Independent Oxfordian researcher John Shahan has agreed to allow SOS to publish his letter to the Telegraph regarding their August 9, 2009 article on the possible opening of Fulke Greville’s tomb.

Re: David Harrison’s article, “Tomb Search Could End Riddle of Shakespeare’s Identity,” in the Sunday Telegraph, August 8, 2009

Dear Editor,

The proposed tomb search of Fulke Greville’s tomb at St. Mary’s church depends on the credibility of historian AWL Saunders, and there’s reason to doubt his credibility. On the first page of the preface (ix) of The Master of Shakespeare (MoS Publishing, 2007), the book in which Saunders puts forth Greville as the author of Shakespeare’s works, he places great emphasis on the stylometric results of Professors Ward E. Y. Elliott and Robert Valenza at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. He also calls special attention to “Elliott and Valenza’s Results” at his website: http://www.masterofshakespeare.com/elliott_valenza.htm (Note that he gives no results.)

The problem is that Elliott and Valenza themselves disagree! This undermines Saunders’ entire case, since he chose to place such emphasis on it, and it is totally false. Saunders’ claims are based on an early report of Elliott and Valenza’s results back in 1990, but shortly afterward they reported more definitive results eliminating Greville. Ever since the early 1990s, Elliott and Valenza have consistently said that their stylometric results have ruled out all alternative authorship candidates, including Greville.

As a Claremont resident myself, and being familiar with E&V’s work (having written three articles on it), I emailed Ward Elliott in 2007 to ask if he agreed that his results support Greville, and whether Saunders had consulted him and Valenza before going public with his claims. Elliott replied that, “Greville’s Caelica was a Shakespeare ‘could be’ on one test in 1990, but it was later rejected on several other [tests], and is not a likely Shakespeare work.” He said that Saunders had not consulted them.

It was at least irresponsible for Saunders to give Elliott and Valenza’s work so much prominence, claiming it as the basis of their discovery of Greville as Shakespeare, and suggesting in 2007 that these seventeen-year-old results still stood, without ever consulting E&V, and ignoring all of the contrary findings in their subsequent work. How can a so-called scholar who is so careless about checking his claims (and this is not a minor claim on some peripheral point) be trusted to get it right elsewhere? I’m frankly amazed that Saunders is still being taken seriously two years after he published his book. It makes one wonder whether anyone ever checks facts anymore.

I believe that this should be brought to the attention of your readers, and also to those at St. Mary’s church who will be making the decision about the proposed search.


John Shahan

Fulke Greville’s tomb

The London Telegraph reported August 9, 2009: Tomb search could end the riddle of Shakespeare’s true identity — a sarcophagus in an English parish church could solve the century’s old literary debate over who really wrote the plays of William Shakespeare by David Harrison.

The interest is based on Master of Shakespeare author AWL Sanders’ claim that Fulke Greville is a candidate for Bardship. Text at: