18th Jan, 2018

Benefactor to be subject of Warwick festival one man show

Leamington Editorial 17th Sep, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE LIFE and times of one of Warwick’s greatest benefactors will be the subject of a one-man show during the Warwick Words History Festival in October.

Thomas Oken was a wealthy cloth merchant whose legacy today provides grants for ‘relief in need’ and almshouses in Warwick.

As part of the festival there will be an educational project called Warwick Revisited, featuring talks, walks, workshops, music and songs.

This will include an interactive, illustrated one-man show entitled Thomas Oken Explains, written and performed by Warwick teacher and local history enthusiast Trevor Langley.

More than 440 years after his death at his house in Castle Street – now the Oken Tearooms – the Thomas Oken character, in period costume, will share his own thoughts on what actually took place in Warwick during his lifetime and indeed following his death in July 1573.

Based entirely on documents of the time, including The Black Book of Warwick, this wealthy but modest statesman will explain how he stood up to the commissioners of King Henry VIII as he tried to confiscate all the lands, wealth and property of St Mary’s Church and The Guild, of which Oken was The Master.

Oken was also Chief Burgess and a life-long member of The Corporation he helped to create. In writing two separate wills he also exposed the greed and underhand dishonesty of his colleagues who he appointed as his executors.

The Warwick Words History Festival runs from October 3 to 9.

Visit www.warwickwords.co.uk for further details.


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