Fulke Greville's Temple - Robbed out in 1901

Fulke Greville's "Temple of Solomon" in the Freemasons "Mother Church", of St Mary's, Warwick, and his Rosicrucian Swords  and other armour which are now the subject of a court case: Rene Greville -v- Merlin Entertainments Ltd - Claim No: H10YJ717.

 

The Chapter House of the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick is the "Mother Church" of the Freemasons. The small chapter house has seats for 8 canons and the Dean of St Mary's, but it is hard to see the canopied seats properly because the chamber is filled almost to the ceiling by the monument built by Sir Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke. The monument is quite plain, with a large black marble sarcophagus and pillars. It is unusually aligned North/South.

 

An endoscopy on Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke’s monument was carried out by a leading expert in the field, Guy Edwards of Cliveden Conservation of Maidenhead. It was paid for by my family after I hade overcome the strongest resistance from the Diocesan Advisory Committee "on ethical grounds", which was later proved to be an absolute fraud, because at least two members already knew the monument had been robbed out.

 

The endoscopy was carried out on the 29th of April 2010, in the presence of church officials, distinguished experts and a film crew. It was discovered that the monument had been ‘robbed out’ in 1901 and filled with rubble. It is unknown what happened to the contents. What a tragedy for posterity! The conclusions of Cliveden’s report dated the 4th of May, 2010 were:

 

​Conclusions -
  • The investigations and detailed observations made were conclusive of the following facts:

 

  • The sarcophagus has been previously tampered with as evidenced by the broken marble moulding under the marble lid which itself appeared to be slightly out of line.

 

  • There was no mortar bonding the sarcophagus lid to the marble sides. The cavity within the sarcophagus was filled with sandstone rubble loosely bound with lime mortar.

 

  • There was evidence of repair to the marble cladding of the columns at the southern end of the monument. This cladding would have had to have been removed if the sarcophagus lid had been slid off longitudinally. There was further damage to the marble cladding of the central columns immediately above the sarcophagus lid.

That the lid was lifted or ‘slid along’ in the summer or autumn of 1901 is proved by scientific analysis of samples of plaster/cement taken from  the sarcophagus and date tested. The samples have been dated to circa 1900 as it contains Portland cement. Portland cement was developed in the early part of the nineteenth century.

 

In addition, the two entrance facing columns of the monument have been sawn out and then replaced at some point. This may have been done to see if the  columns were hollow. Removing them also made it possible to slide the lid along  the top of the body of the sarcophagus.

 

Repairs to Fulke Greville’s monument were discussed by Lord Warwick and the PCC of St Mary’s Church, Warwick, between 1900 and 1901. Entries in the Vestry Book from those dates show that there were meetings and discussions between the PCC and the Earl of Warwick regarding pressing repairs to the Chapter House, which were believed were the earl’s responsibility under the terms of the grant of 1618.

 

Lord Warwick expressed himself less than keen to spend money on these repairs and raised the question of ownership of the Chapter House. Remarkably, the Vicar was required to consult ‘the Trustee of Henry’s VIII’s Estate’, who in turn sought legal advice. Lord Warwick was not required to pay for the roof or other repairs. However he exercised his right to ‘renovate’ his family’s famous monument.

 

Having ‘repaired’ the monument, he then gave up all rights to it on the condition that the monument  would never be opened again. The agreement between the Church and Lord Warwick is recorded on a brass plaque on the wall by the sarcophagus.

In 1901, under normal circumstances, repairs to  any common grave stone or funerary monument would have required a faculty but no such faculty was ever applied for. It is clear from the correspondence that the PCC felt that they did not wish to upset Lord Warwick because he was not only the patron of their church and the ‘owner’ of the family ‘tomb’, but he was also the Deputy-Grand Master of All the English Freemasons and sole representative in England of all the German Masonic Lodges. It was Lord Warwick  who had arranged for and had dedicated the Masonic Pulpit in St Mary’s Church in 1897 dedicated to ‘The Great Architect of the Universe’ (the only Masonic pulpit ever placed in an Anglican Church).

 

It is clear that some ‘deal’ was then made to ‘accommodate’ Lord Warwick and he was allowed,  without any faculty, to instruct his castle mason "Elliot" to saw out the two columns on the front of the monument in order to slide the lid out. It is also clear that Elliot would be allowed to ‘remove  for repair’ anything he found. On the 21st of May, 1901, H. G. Godfrey-Payton, of the Warwick Castle Estate Office, wrote to S. W. Cooke Esq. (an officer of the church) that:

"It will be necessary for our contractor, Elliot to have access to the Chapter House for the purpose of removing for repair, and re-instating portions of the tomb".

 

Elliot opened the monument shortly afterwards, removed the contents and filled the sarcophagus with rubble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lost Treasure - The Cup of the Swan

The Cup of the Swan is one of the lost treasures of Britain and it is

closely associated with Warwick Castle.

     

The Cup of the Swan was last seen (and drawn - Aeneus holding the Cup of the Swan), at the Castle in 1483, the year before Christian Rosenkreuz died and was buried in a hidden vault.

The origin of the cup is the medieval legend of “The Knight of the Swan”, a mysterious knight who comes in a boat drawn by a swan, to help a lady in distress. The Knight makes it a condition for his service that she never asks his name. 

 

He marries and fathers septuplets, who are all born with gold chains around their necks. In the legend, a golden cup, “La Coupe du Cygne” was made from one of the Swan children’s chains. The Knight then disappears. The legend is the plot of the opera Lohengrin. 

Fulke Greville was very closely associated by the Jacobean public with the image of a swan because it was his crest. In 1582, watched by Queen Elizabeth and thousands of spectators, he had been publicly acknowledged as a Knight of the Swan, a very rare and highly prized (non-royal courtesy), title. 

        In 1848, Richard Wagner adapted the tale of the swan knight in his opera Lohengrin, and Ludwig II, “the Swan King”, had a mural of  Lohengrin’s arrival in the salon of his castle at Neushwanstein (right).

The story of the Knight of the Swan is a medieval tale about a mysterious knight who comes in a boat drawn by a swan, to defend a lady in distress, He makes a condition for his service; she must never ask his name. After a taboo is broken, the Knight disappears but not before marrying and becoming the father of septuplets, who are born with gold chairs around their necks. At one point his three sons are transformed into swans before returning to human form. 

The first version of the story of the Knight of the Swan, which appeared around 1192, does not name him, but the chroniclers of the ‘Crusade Cycle’ turned him into the ‘Chevalier au Cygne’ and claimed him as the ancestor of Godfrey of Bouillon, who in 1099, became King of Jerusalem.

 

By the reign of William the Conqueror, it was widely believed that one of the Swan Knight’s sons was the ancestor of the Norman family of De Tony, hereditary standard bearers of Normandy. The Chevalier’s heirs were traced down to Ralph de Tony, who bore the Norman Standard at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. William granted Ralph the manor of Flamstead in Hertfordshire and he was named as a tenant in the Domesday survey.  

 

By 1300, the right of the de Tonys to the title of Swan Knight was deemed an undoubted fact. The last of the de Tonys, Robert, 1st Baron Tony, is called the Knight of the Swan in the Caerlaverock Roll: Translated from the French the entry reads: 

 

A white surcoat and white alettes

A white shield and a white banner 

Bore, with a red maunch,

Robert de Tony, who well evinces

That he is descended from the Knight of the Swan. 

 

After the death of Robert in 1310, six families were subsequently recognised as his heirs. The Stafford family, Dukes of Buckingham;’ the Beauchamps, Earls of Warwick; the Nevills, Earls of Warwick; the Plantagenets, Earls of Warwick; the Beauchamps, Barons of Powke; and the Grevilles, Lords Willoughby de Broke and Latimer (later Lords Brooke and Earls of Warwick).

 

Being an heir of the de Tonys clearly impacted on Greville as strongly as it had done on the Beauchamp and Nevill earls of Warwick. That is shown by the fact that Greville legally adopted the crest of a swan in the 1570s. The Greville’s family crest had originally been a wheat sheaf (with the Grenvilles, later Dukes of Buckingham extinct), and later, a greyhound’s head (in 1440, John Greville bore both crests). Lord Brooke’s father bore just the greyhound's head on a Torse (a wreath).

As a young man Greville fought in many famous tournaments, including the most famous English tournament of the age, The Four Foster Children of Desire (devised by Sidney and Greville), in which impresse was first introduced into England. 

At the New Year's Day Tilt of 1582, after having satisfied the heralds of his descent and his right to the Swan Knight’s title and crest, Greville entered the lists wearing on his helmet the crest of a swan knight and fought the Dauphin of France. His tournament helmets, with their swan crests, are on display in the Magdalene Chapel in Warwick Castle, with Greville’s Rosicrucian sword.

The Knight of the Swan is closely associated with Warwick Castle. The fifteenth century Rous Roll, is an illustrated armorial roll-chronicle by John Rous (d. 1492), an historian and chantry priest of Guy’s Cliffe which lies about a mile and a half east of Warwick Castle. Rous authenticated the Beauchamp’s claim to the title of Swan Knights and he described a gold cup handed down in the Beauchamp family which was allegedly made from one of the swan children’s gold chains. 

Rous wrote that he had examined the legendary cup of the swan at Warwick Castle, in the company of the Kingmaker's wife, Countess Anne Beauchamp. ‘I have dronke of the same’, he said, ‘I dar the better wrighten it.’ He also drew a picture of it, a golden bowl with the sacred monogram on the inside. 

 

The will of Thomas Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick (1401), left Guy’s sword, coat of mail, harness and ragged staff, to:  ‘Richard my son and heir …  I will the said sword and coat of mail, with the cup of the swan’.

 

It is not known what happened to the cup. According to Rous, ‘the Beauchamps and the Starfords [Staffords], whose families had been united by a marriage in the fourteenth century, had divided it, the Beauchamps having the bowl, and the Staffords the cover.

 

Ralph’s descendant Roger, 1st Baron de Tony (1276-1309), was the last of the de Tonys. When he died in 1309, his sister and heir, Alice de Tony, “Lady of the Swan”, married (secondly) Guy de Beauchamp, 10th Earl of Warwick (1272–1315).

 

The first certain record of the de Tony’s golden cup, is the will of Thomas de Beauchamp, the 12th Earl of Warwick (1338-1401), who left it:  “To Richard my son and heir …  I will … the cup of the swan.”

In 1483, the historian John Rous examined the Cup at Warwick Castle: “I have dronke of the same'' he wrote in the Rous Roll, ‘I dar the better wrighten it.’ He also drew a picture of the cup, a large golden bowl with the sacred monogram on the inside. And that was the last that was seen of the Cup of the Swan.

 

In 1483, the castle belonged to King Richard III by right of his wife, Anne Nevill, daughter of Warwick the Kingmaker. Richard had started construction on the Bear Tower in 1478, but it was incomplete when he was killed at Bosworth in 1485. 

 

It is almost certain that John Rous attended the King during his stay at Warwick Castle in August 1483, because Rous was appointed as “chaplain of the chapel of Guy's Cliffe in the reign of Richard III, and canon of the collegiate church at Warwick.” 

 

Rous’ first version of the Rous Roll was written between 1483 and 1484, “while Richard III was still on the throne and possibly presented to the royal couple” at Warwick Castle in August 1483. The Roll includes Rous’ drawing of the Cup of the Swan, so it is probable that the King would have wanted to see it, and maybe even drink from it, as Rous and others did. 

 

There is a strange twist to the story of the Knights of the Swan and their golden cup, last seen at Warwick Castle in 1483-4. On the execution of Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick in 1499, the honours of the de Tony family became vested in the heirs of Robert’s aunt, Alice de Tony, “Lady of the Swan”, who married Sir Walter Beauchamp of Powke. Their eventual heiress, Elizabeth Willoughby, 3rd Baroness Willoughby de Broke, married Sir Fulke Greville the first (1505-1559), and was the grandmother of Fulke the third. 

 

Whether or not Greville ever possessed it, as the senior collateral heir of Alice de Tony, Lady Beauchamp of Powke,  he could have claimed ownership (or guardianship) of the de Tony’s golden Cup of the Swan, which was seen and drawn by John Rous at Warwick Castle in 1483-4, and never seen again.

It is interesting to note that the respected crypto-analyst Bill Briere, has suggested a new reading of the inscription on the monument:

"TROPHAEUM PECCATI"

The inscription as been interpreted as the "Monument of Sin" for 400 years:

Trophaeum = Monument

Peccati = Sin

Mr Briere has pointed out that "Trophaeum" can be translated as "Cup" as in "Trophy", which gives:

"THE CUP OF SIN"

 

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