Guy of Warwick

Guy of Warwick
   Now virtually forgotten, Sir Guy of Warwick was once famous enough to be counted one of the Nine Worthies of the World; his story first appears as a Norman-French poem of about 1200, though he is alleged to have lived in the reign of Athelstan. He fought against Saracens abroad and Danes at home, killed giants and dragons, married an Earl's daughter, and became a hermit who begged, unrecognized, at the doors of his own castle. Later versions in *chapbooks and street *ballads added his fight against the Dun Cow and an equally monstrous boar. In the 17th century visitors to Warwick Castle were shown an arras depicting Guy's exploits, various huge weapons and other items (implying Guy was gigantic), and the grotto where he lived as a hermit; other sites displayed bones supposedly from the monstrous cow and boar. Some of the Castle weapons are still on show, and pub names and local place-names still recall the legend (Palmer, 1976: 130-4).
   ■ R. S. Crane, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 30 (1915), 125-94. For two texts of the 1790s, see John Simons (ed.), Guy of Warwick and Other Chapbook Romances (1998), 51-70.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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