SAVILE, Sir Henry (1498/99-1558), of Thornhill, Tankersley and Elland, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1498/99, 1st s. of Sir John Savile of Thornhill and Tankersley by 2nd w. Elizabeth, da. of Sir William Paston of Norwich, Norf. and London. m. 29 Aug. 1517, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Thomas Soothill of Soothill, Yorks., 2s. 1da.; 2s. illegit. by Margaret, da. of Peter Barkston. suc. fa. 16 Mar. 1505. KB 30 May 1533.2

Offices Held

J.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1528, rem. 1530, rest. by 1534-d. (E. and N. Ridings) 1544-d., northern circuit 1539-d.; steward, duchy of Lancaster, Pontefract honor 4 Nov. 1537-27 Nov. 1549, jt. (with George, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury) 27 Nov. 1549-d.; sheriff, Yorks. 1537-8, 1541-2; capt. Pontefract castle in 1539, Bamborough castle, Yorks. in 1546; member, council in the north in 1542-9, by 1552-d.; commr. benevolence, Yorks. (W. Riding) 1544/45, relief, Yorks. (E. N. and W. Ridings) 1550.3


The young Henry Savile’s wardship passed successively to his stepfather Sir Richard Hastings and the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury before being bought early in 1517 by Thomas Soothill; seven months later Savile married Soothill’s daughter and heir, and within another four years he had livery of his lands. The marriage was to prove a stormy one, with Savile fathering two sons by one of his wife’s gentlewomen, but it survived her persistent attempts at a divorce and she was to benefit under his will.4

His marital discord was one of the issues in the feud between Savile and Thomas, Lord Darcy of Temple Hurst, and Darcy’s kinsman Sir Richard Tempest, which ended only with his opponents’ deaths in 1537. From 1523, when the Earl of Surrey tried to reconcile him with Tempest while they were serving together against the Scots, until 1534, when both risked expulsion from the Yorkshire commissions in the interest of order, their antagonism defined all efforts to allay it. Savile was the more successful in soliciting the support of higher authority, and his creation as a knight of the bath at Anne Boleyn’s coronation foreshadowed the outcome of the rebellion of 1536. Where Darcy and Tempest fatally compromised themselves, Savile justified the rebels’ proscription of him by his refusal to parley with them, and he was soon reaping his reward. In the autumn of 1537 he succeeded Darcy as steward of Pontefract and was pricked sheriff, an office which he discharged to the admiration of Bishop Holgate, president of the council in the north, and in the spring of 1539 he was elected first knight of the shire. His second shrievalty excluded him from re-election in 1542 but he could have been returned to the last Parliament of the reign, the Yorkshire names being lost. Brought onto the council in the north in 1542, he fought in all the Scottish campaigns of the following years and spent much time in garrison duty on the border.5

Early in 1549 Savile was replaced as a member of the council in the north by Sir Charles Fairfax but within three years he had been renamed to the council. By his will made on 15 Feb. 1556 he left lands to his daughter Dorothy, the only child for whom until then he had made no provision, and remembered his wife. After his death on 20 Apr. 1558 he was buried in accordance with his wishes at Thornhill, his widow married Richard Gascoigne of Barnborough in Yorkshire, and his brother-in-law Richard Corbet replaced him on the council in the north. His son and heir Edward who had been affianced to a daughter of Sir Richard Lee during Savile’s lifetime was mentally unstable, and although adjudged sane about 1560 he sought the protection of the earls of Shrewsbury with whom he resided until his death in 1603, whereupon his estates passed to a kinsman Sir George Savile of Lupset.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. E159/319, brev. ret. Mich. r [1-2]
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., CIPM Hen. VII, ii. 803.Vis. Yorks. (Harl. Soc. xvi), 275; Glover’s Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 185.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, iv, xii, xv, xvi, xx, xxi; R. B. Smith, Land and Pol. 148, 158; CPR, 1547-8, pp. 75, 91; 1553, pp. 353-4; Somerville, Duchy, i. 515-16; C60/355, m. 4; R. R. Reid, King’s Council in the North, 490ff; HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 28; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, ii(2), 161.
  • 4. Glover’s Vis. Yorks. 185; LP Hen. VIII, i, iii-v; Test. Ebor. iv (Surtees Soc. liii), 170; Smith, 58, 217; C142/116/43.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, iii-xxi; Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxxix. 123; Yorks. Arch. Soc. rec. ser. xli. 178-80, 189; Elton, Policy and Police, 304-5; HMC Bath, iv. 58, 66, 71; Plumpton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. iv), 246-7.
  • 6. HMC Shrewsbury and Talbot, ii. 28, 43, 76, 99, 404; C142/116/43; Test. Ebor. v (Surtees Soc. lxxix), 82.