SAVILE, Henry II (1549-1622), of Oxford and Eton, Bucks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 30 Nov. 1549, yr. s. of Henry Savile (d.1566) of Bradley, Yorks. by Elizabeth, da. of Robert Ramsden; bro. of John I. educ. Brasenose, Oxf., fellow of Merton 1565, BA 1566, MA 1570; Padua; I. Temple c.1578. m. c.1592, Margaret, da. of George Dacres of Cheshunt, Herts., wid. of George Gerrard of Bucks., 1s. d.v.p. 1da. Kntd. 1604.

Offices Held

Junior proctor Oxford Univ. 1575-7; warden, Merton from 1585; Latin sec. and dean of Carlisle 1595 or 1596; provost of Eton and j.p. Bucks. from c.1596.


Savile was one of the leading scholars of the second half of Elizabeth’s reign, a friend of Thomas Bodley, whose library he helped to found, and a translator of the classics. In 1591 his edition of Tacitus was published, and between 1610 and 1613 his translation of the works of St. Chrysostom. He was one of the committee which prepared the Authorised Version of the Bible. In 1620 he gave the first geometry lectures at Oxford, later founding eponymous chairs in that subject and in astronomy. He is said to have taught Greek to Queen Elizabeth, and he entertained her at Merton in 1592. Savile’s Inner Temple membership was probably honorary.

Savile’s patron at Bossiney could have been John Hender, who entered the Middle Temple at the same time as Savile’s brother John, or even Sir William Peryam, another of the borough’s patrons, whom Savile probably knew through Thomas Bodley. Savile took charge of the bill about Anne Neville’s jointure, 24 Feb. 1589. At Dunwich he was no doubt nominated by his friend and one-time pupil, the Earl of Essex, high steward of the borough. The journals do not mention him in 1593. His appointment as Latin secretary necessitated his spending some time at court, where he fell into temporary disfavour at the time of the Essex rebellion. Though committed to private custody he was not deprived of his offices, and by the time of the 1601 Parliament he had recovered the Queen’s good opinion, for she gave him a copy of her ‘Golden Speech’. James I knighted him at Eton in September 1604. Savile died there on 19 Feb. 1622, and was buried in the college chapel ‘by torchlight to save expense’.

DNB; Clay, Dugdale’s Vis. Yorks. i. 334; Al. Ox. i(4), p. 1319; Neale, Parlts. ii. 392-3; D’Ewes, 438; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 121; PCC 44 Savile.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: J.C.H.