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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Coventry and Warwickshire

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Myths and Legends
Warwick pageant
Warwick pageant

© Courtesy of Coventry Libraries and Information Services
Who was Sir Guy of Warwick?

Sir Guy of Warwick

The earliest surviving record of the legend of Sir Guy of Warwick is Gui de Warewic, a 13th Century Anglo-Norman poem. The identity of the poem’s author has been lost, but it has been established that the poem borrows episodes and themes from a wide range of other Anglo-Norman romances. Although the repetition and sheer length of Gui de Warewic may be unsuited to modern tastes, the story of Sir Guy became popular all over medieval Europe, his character was transmuted into later poems and prose literature. The 14th Century Middle English poem, Sir Guy of Warwick, saw the poem’s appearance in the vernacular.

The original story of Sir Guy is in two parts, each centred upon a period of travel and exile undertaken by the poem’s hero. In the first part, Sir Guy falls for Felice, a lady of far higher social standing than himself. In order to wed Felice he must first become a knight and then prove himself a valiant one. His travels, in quest of adventure, take him across the world, killing a dragon and wooing an emperor’s daughter along the way. Two weeks after returning and marrying Felice he is off again on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands.

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