Sir Fulke GREVILLE of Beauchamp's Court
Born: ABT 1491, probably Milcote, Warwickshire, England
Died: 10 Nov 1559
Buried: 11 Dec 1559, Alcester Church, Warwickshire, England
Father: Edward GREVILLE of Milcote (Sir)
Mother: Anne DENTON
Married: Elizabeth WILLOUGHBY BEF Apr 1526
1. Fulke GREVILLE (Sir Sheriff of Warwick)
2. William GREVILLE (b. ABT 1531)
3. Mary GREVILLE
4. Robert GREVILLE
5. Helen (Eleanor) GREVILLE
6. Edward GREVILLE (Sir)
7. Catherine GREVILLE
8. Catherine GREVILLE
9. Blanche GREVILLE (b. ABT 1544 / 1547) (never marr.)
Second son of Sir Edward Greville of Milcote, Weston-upon-Avon by Anne, dau. of John Denton of Wittenham, Berks.; brother of John. Married by Apr 1526, Elizabeth, dau. and coheiress of Edward Willoughby, later de jure suo jure Baroness Willoughby de Broke, by whom he had seven sons and eight daughters. Kntd. 1542/43. Feodary, Worcs. and Warws. 1534-5; j.p. Warws. 1537-d.; sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 1542-3, 1547-8; commr. contribution, Coventry 1546, chantries, Leics., Warws. and Coventry 1548, enclosures, midland counties 1548, 1549, relief, Warws. 1550, goods of churches and fraternities 1553; other commissions 1540-57.
Sir Edward Greville had originally intended to marry his eldest son John to Elizabeth Willoughby, but he yielded to her preference for his younger son Fulke, who thus became a considerable landowner. Elizabeth and her sisters Anne and Blanche were heirs general of their grandfather Robert, 2nd Lord Willoughby de Broke, and although he had settled the greater part of his family estates on the issue of his second marriage, they inherited their grandmother's share of the Beauchamp inheritance. In 1526 Elizabeth and her husband obtained possession of a third part of four manors in Somerset, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, two years later this was doubled on the death of Anne, and at some time before 1543 the remaining third passed to them when Blanche, who had married Sir Francis Dawtrey, died without issue. Lord Willoughby's settlement did not prevent conflict over the disposition of his estate but the almost inevitable lawsuit was settled by compromise. By a fine in Hilary term 1542 Sir Anthony Willoughby, Lord Willoughby's brother, agreed to release to the Grevilles and their heirs his interest in the manor of Frampton, Lincolnshire, and Wardour Castle, Wiltshire, and in lands in Guernsey, with a special entail to his wife Isolde's issue, as well as in a number of other manors in Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Somerset and Staffordshire to which he had less claim; in return Greville agreed to pay 550 marks and to make Willoughby a good estate in lands to the yearly value of £20 in Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Wiltshire. Sir Anthony also relinquished his claim to lands in Cornwall and Dorset to Elizabeth Greville's aunts, then married to Charles Blount, 5th Lord Mountjoy, and John Paulet, later 2nd Marquess of Winchester.
This was not the only dispute which arose over the Willoughby inheritance: Sir David Owen sued Greville for possession of the manor of Islehampstead Latimer, Buckinghamshire, and Greville and his wife themselves took action against Thomas Stapeldon for the manor of Lightwood in Staffordshire (a case not settled at his death) and against William Bostock for several manors in Gloucestershire and Warwickshire. Greville was to complain in his will that to establish the whole inheritance had been very costly. He certainly died in debt and had been in difficulty for some years before. In 1555 he surrendered himself to the Marshalsea and was pardoned an outlawry which had been proclaimed in Hertfordshire in Edward VI's time when he failed to meet a demand by Edmund Twyneho and his wife, executrix of Robert Burgoyne, for a sum of £40. (It follows that he was twice returned a knight of the shire while an outlaw.) The main source of his troubles, however, seems to have been his involvement in the marriage of Henry Compton of Compton Wynyates, Warwickshire. Having obtained in Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Westmoreland, for his heir he evidently hoped to obtain a countess's heir for one of his daughters. On the evidence of his will he paid William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, Compton's stepfather, £100 for his goodwill and the countess £500, besides selling lands at their behest for £400 less than he might have had. He claimed that he had gained nothing by doing so and that some recompense was due to him.
It is not clear what lands Greville sold. The only properties which he is known to have bought, the manor of Easenhall in Monk's Kirby from Edward Browne, and the priory manor of Alcester from the crown, were to remain in the family, and beyond these all that he held in his own right was the manor of Over, which he left to his executors for the payment of his debts. All the manors mentioned at any time as belonging to his wife's inheritance were to appear in her inquisition, with the exception of the lordship of Auneville, Guernsey, sold to Nicholas and Thomas Fasshyn in 1545, Wardour, sold to Sir Thomas Arundell in 1547, Cattered, or Cheyneys, Hertfordshire, sold to Thomas Docwray in 1551, and Coton, Northamptonshire, sold at some time before 1552 to Thomas Andrews of Charwelton. The only other property known to have been alienated was Greville's town house in Fetter Lane, which he sold to the attorney-general, Edward Griffin, in 1555.
Greville probably increased his indebtedness by building a magnificent new house at Beauchamp's Court. Leland noted in 1543 that he was building it with stone taken from Alcester priory and it was still being extended at his death. None the less, the family fortunes were never desperate: the younger sons were established without difficulty as life tenants of some of the lands, two of the daughters were well if not brilliantly married and the unmarried daughters were given dowries of 400 marks to which their mother was to add another £500. The annual value of the estate as given in Elizabeth Greville's inquisition was over £370.
Greville's public life suffered no interference from his private embarrassments. He was active in local administration; he served with 40 men in the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace and in the army against France in 1544 as part of the rearguard; and he attended the reception of Anne of Cleves and the funeral of Henry VIII. His standing in his shire is reflected in his election as one of its knights, and usually as the senior, to four Parliaments, more than any other of its gentlemen achieved. Of the many connexions in high places that his marriage had brought him, his kinship with the 3rd Marquess of Dorset, who is known to have sought to influence the elections there on at least one occasion, may have been a factor in his earlier successes. Nothing is known of his role in the Commons and unlike his fellow-Member Sir William Wigston he was not among those who quitted the Parliament of Nov 1554 without licence.
Greville made his will on 12 Sep 1559 and died on the following 10 Nov. He was buried at Alcester with great pomp and ceremony, a feast being provided for both rich and poor, and Machyn mourned him as ‘the best housekeeper in that country’. An altar-tomb was erected to his memory. His grandson Fulke was created Baron Broke of Beauchamp's Court in 1621 and a later descendant had his claim to the barony of Willoughby de Broke allowed in 1696.
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