SAVILE, John Charles George, Visct. Pollington (1810-1899), of Methley Park, nr. Leeds, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press



1831 - 1832
1835 - 1837
1841 - 1847

Family and Education

b. 4 June 1810, 1st s. of John Savile*, 3rd earl of Mexborough [I], and Lady Anne Yorke, da. of Philip Yorke†, 3rd earl of Hardwicke. educ. Eton c. 1821-6; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1827-8. m. (1) 24 Feb. 1842, Lady Rachel Katherine Walpole (d. 21 June 1854), da. of Horatio Walpole*, 3rd earl of Orford, 1s.; (2) 27 July 1861, Agnes Louise Elizabeth, da. of John Raphael of Kingston, Surr., 2s. 2da. styled Visct. Pollington 1830-60; suc. fa. as 4th earl of Mexborough [I] 25 Dec. 1860. d. 17 Aug. 1899.

Offices Held


Savile had been renowned for his classical scholarship at Eton, from where comes a story of a pugilistic encounter in which he ‘strutted about the ring, spouting Homer’ between rounds.1 He assumed the courtesy title of Lord Pollington on his father’s succession to the earldom of Mexborough in 1830, and was returned for Gatton at the general election the following year on the interest of his cousin the 5th Baron Monson. Though under age at the time of his election, he had attained his majority by the time the House assembled.

Like his father, Pollington divided against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reintroduced reform bill, which proposed to disfranchise Gatton, 6 July 1831. He voted five times for adjournment motions, 12 July, for use of the 1831 census to determine the disfranchisement schedules, 19 July, and against the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. He divided against the bill’s third reading, 21 Sept., and the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept. He voted to censure the Irish administration for its conduct during the Dublin election, 23 Aug. He was in the minority of seven for Waldo Sibthorp’s motion complaining of a breach of parliamentary privilege by The Times, 12 Sept., when he voted for safeguards for the West Indian sugar trade. In his only recorded contribution to debate, 22 Sept., he declined to press his father’s request for leave when the excuse of ‘urgent private business’ was queried by Daniel O’Connell. He paired in favour of ending the Maynooth grant, 26 Sept. He divided against the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, its passage into committee, 20 Jan., the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., and the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. Next day he was in the minority for Waldo Sibthorp’s amendment regarding the freeholders of Lincolnshire, where his patron Monson owned large estates.2 He voted against the second reading of the Irish reform bill, 25 May. He divided against ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12 July 1832.

With the disfranchisement of Gatton by the Reform Act, Pollington apparently made no attempt to find a new seat. Instead, he embarked on an adventurous variant of the grand tour, covering Russia, Persia and India. His experiences, which he set down in a journal, excited his interest in the Orient, and in 1834 he accompanied his school friend Alexander Kinglake† on an expedition through the Ottoman empire. This is chronicled in Kinglake’s novel Eothen, in which Pollington (thinly disguised as ‘Methley’) is depicted as a formidable classical scholar who nonetheless possessed ‘the practical sagacity of a Yorkshireman’.3 He was obliged to return to England early in 1835 for his election at Pontefract, after which his father anticipated that he would offer Sir Robert Peel ‘every support in his power’. He retired in 1837 but sat for the borough again in the 1841 Parliament, and was unsuccessfully nominated in his absence by the Protectionists at a by-election in 1851.4 A friend of Benjamin Disraeli†, he and his ‘very wild and gay’ first wife are featured as Lord and Lady Gaverstock in Coningsby.5 He succeeded to his father’s title and estates in 1860, and later adopted the Roman Catholic faith of his second wife.6 He died in August 1899, the last survivor of the unreformed Parliament, and was succeeded by the son from his first marriage, John Horatio Savile (1843-1916).

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Howard Spencer


  • 1. W. Tuckwell, Alexander Kinglake, 10.
  • 2. R.J. Olney, Rural Soc. in 19th Cent. Lincs. 24.
  • 3. G. de Gaury, Travelling Gentleman, 9, 22-24, 28.
  • 4. Add. 40413, f. 199; The Times, 2 Jan., 15 Feb. 1851.
  • 5. Disraeli Letters, iv. 80; Lady Holland to Son, 219.
  • 6. VCH Surr. iii. 463.