Warwick’s own Game of Thrones-style legend is being brought to life thanks to a new historic trail through the town.
The Guy of Warwick trail takes visitors on a tour of Warwick town centre, encouraging them to solve clues and puzzles along the way while learning about the legendary figure.
The story of Guy of Warwick – dubbed ‘England’s Forgotten Hero’ – dates back to the 10th Century, when he was a page at the court of the Earl of Warwick.
He fell in love with the Earl’s daughter Felice, but was rejected for being too low born to win her hand, prompting him to set out on a series of heroic tasks. These included freeing the land from the terror of the Dun Cow – a monstrous beast whose name is immortalised in Warwickshire place names including Stretton-on-Dunsmore and Dunchurch – as well as taking on a giant boar that was terrorising Coventry.
Those tasks weren’t enough, so Guy of Warwick travelled around Europe proving himself as a knight before returning to marry Felice. Full of remorse for his past violence, he later left his wife to travel to Jerusalem as a pilgrim before returning to England to help fight the invading Danes, taking on their champion Colbrond in an epic Games of Thrones-esque battle – and going down in history as one of the great warriors England has ever seen.
Still disguised as a pilgrim, Guy joined a group of poor men being fed at the castle gate, where Felice didn’t recognise him. He later fell ill and spent his final days in a hermitage at nearby Guy’s Cliffe. Knowing he was near the end, he sent for Felice and the couple were reunited as Guy lay dying. Distraught at his death, Felice committed suicide by jumping from Guy’s Cliffe, where the couple are now said to be buried side by side.
Now the story of Guy of Warwick has been brought to life through a special trail produced by the town’s Guy of Warwick Society using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant.
The trail, which can be downloaded through an app or is available in paper format from the Tourist Office in Warwick, provides a map of nine locations in the town where clues are depicted in posters in the windows of shops and businesses. Visitors are encouraged to visit each one in turn, writing down the information from the nine numbered posters or solving a puzzle to help Guy save his friends Tirri and Heraud, with the free augmented reality app allowing people to hear the hero himself explain his life and adventures.
The trail culminates in the opportunity to take a selfie and enter a prize draw, allowing participants to win ‘Guy of Warwick goodies’, as well as the chance to learn more about one of Warwick’s – and England’s – most famous historical figures.
Chris Willsmore, from the Guy of Warwick Society, said: “The story of Guy of Warwick is often dismissed as folklore or legend, but is in fact rooted in history – and is easily as dramatic as some of the storylines in Game of Thrones or even Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. We wanted to bring the tale of Guy of Warwick to life, as well as using it to encourage people to explore Warwick and everything it has to offer.
“The trail is a great way to involve everyone, taking them on a tour of the town while learning about Guy of Warwick’s story and having plenty of fun along the way. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone’s selfies and spreading the word about this legendary figure.”
The Guy of Warwick trail comes hot on the heels of a new Town Break Trail launched last month by Warwick Chamber of Trade.
The Town Break Trail offers a ready-made itinerary for how to spend 48 hours in the historic town, taking visitors on a tour of the its famous hotspots and hidden gems, including everything from cultural highlights, the world-famous castle, and an array of independent shops, cafes and restaurants.
Find more information on the Guy of Warwick Trail and download the trail map via the Guy of Warwick Society website at https://www.thegows.co.uk/