Sir John Savile, of Thornhill

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Sir John Savile, Sr.

Birthplace: Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: June 15, 1482 (70-79)
Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Thomas Savile and Margaret Pilkington
Husband of Alice Gascoigne
Father of Isabel Mirfield; Sir John Savile, Jr.; Elizabeth Waterton (Saville); Nicholas Savile, Sr.; Thomas Savile, Sr., of Lupset and 1 other
Brother of Alice Aske; Margaret Hopton and Anna Butler
Half brother of john ware, DUP TREE don't merge and Nicholas Griffin, 8th Lord Latimer

Occupation: Knight of Methley Hall, York, England, High Sheriff of Yorkshire
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir John Savile, of Thornhill

John (Sir; of Thornhill) SAVILE

    Sheriff of Yorkshire

Born: ? Died: aft. 1460
The Saviles 1449-1482

U.S. President's 8-Great Grandfather. HRH Charles's 15-Great Grandfather. PM Churchill's 15-Great Grandfather. Lady Diana's 14-Great Grandfather.

Wife/Partner:       Alice GASCOIGNE 

Children: Thomas (of Lupset) SAVILE ; Isabel SAVILE ; John (Sir; of THORNHILL) SAVILE ; Alice SAVILL
History of the Savile family

The son of Sir Thomas, Sir John Savile, assumed the leadership of the family after his father’s death. Sir John Savile lived through most of the Wars of the Roses and saw action at some of the major battles. His military career began in 1441, when he was part of the Duke of York’s retinue in his expedition to France. A surviving list of a purchase of armours from 1441 mentions ‘John Savyle’ as one of the recipients. Three suits armours were purchased by Sir John de Cressy, one for himself at a cost of £8.6s.6d, one for his squire at £5.16s.8d and one for John Savyle at £6. Since this purchase is contemporary with Savile’s presence in France and considering Sir John de Cressy was Captain of Lisieux, Orbal and Pont l’Eveque, it is likely that the John Savyle mentioned was John Savile of Thornhill and the armour was a new harness intended for use in the Duke of York’s French campaign.

By May 1442, John Savile had been knighted by the Duke of York. He was also made steward of the lordship of Wakefield and Constable of Sandal Castle, both possessions within the Duchy of York. With these responsibilities, Sir John Savile became one of the Duke of York’s principal estate managers in the North and a trusted member of the Yorkist faction. In the 1450s when the Duke of York was at the height of his influence, Sir John Savile played an important role in the Duke’s political strategy. In 1450, Savile was elected to parliament, which can be attributed almost directly to the influence of York who tried to fill the House with his supporters and oust those loyal to King Henry VI. Sir John’s loyalty to the House of York in this period is unquestionable, as he fought with the Duke at the First Battle of St. Albans in May 1455 and in the weeks following the battle, was appointed as Sheriff of Yorkshire.

When armed conflict resumed in 1459, the Savile family remained loyal to the Yorkist cause and Sir John’s eldest son (John Savile, esquire) fought with the Earl of Salisbury at Blore Heath in September of the same year. It is likely that Sir John sent the men of the Savile estates under the command of his son so the family would escape attainder if the House of Lancaster defeated the Yorkist forces. Salisbury aimed to join with the forces of York and Warwick at Ludlow, however he was intercepted in Staffordshire by the army of Lords Audley and Dudley. Fortunately Salisbury was victorious, a combination of outstanding generalship and Yorkist archery destroying any Lancastrian resistance and he was able to complete his march to Ludlow. However the upper-hand gained by this Yorkist victory was to be short-lived. On October 12th 1459 Warwick, York and Salisbury were forced to flee abroad after they were betrayed at Ludlow. In the following days after their flight, a Lancastrian Parliament met at Coventry and passed at Act of Attainder against, Warwick, York, Salisbury and 24 of their supporters including John Savile esquire. (An Act of Attainder stripped a person of all their property and possessions and made them liable for execution). Additionally, in December 1459, Sir John Savile lost his office as Steward of Wakefield and Constable of Sandal Castle and was replaced the son of the Earl of Shrewsbury, a known Lancastrian.

The Savile family’s misfortune was short-lived, and after the Yorkist victory at the Battle of Northampton, Sir John was reinstalled to his previous offices and the Act of Attainder against John esquire was reversed. It is not known whether the Saviles took any further part in the Wars of the Roses until the Battle of Wakefield. No documentary evidence has come to light regarding whether the Saviles were present at this battle, although it is very likely they were. Sir John was the Constable of Sandal castle at the time of the battle and the Yorkist army was camped all around the area. Furthermore, the principal seat of the family at Thornhill was five miles to the west of Sandal and most of the Savile estates were within a day’s ride of Wakefield. Finally, Sir John Savile was one of the Duke’s foremost supporters in Yorkshire and it is extremely unlikely that the family and their retainers could have avoided being drawn into the conflict at Wakefield.

Sir John Savile died in 1482 and it is thought to have been at Sandal castle, which had been an occasional residence while he was the Constable. Sir John was borne through Wakefield at his funeral and interred at the parish church in Thornhill. His will was proved on 21st June 1482 and Lady Alice Savile was veiled shortly afterward on July 3rd. Savile’s will gave instructions that he should be buried at the family chapel in Thornhill Church and he left £10 to be divided among his servants, according to their merit and status. To his grandson he left items including a bed, farming equipment and items for use in the brew-house.

Savile also left provisions for his sons, including sums of money and life annuities from some of these manors. His children and their portions were…

• Henry (40 shillings, plus a life annuity of £4)

• Richard (40 shillings, as above)

• Nicholas (40 shillings, as above)

• William (20 marks, a half share of the manor of Hundesworth)

• Thomas (20 marks, as William)

• Margaret (£40)

• Isabel (Married Oliver Mirfield)

• Elizabeth (Married Robert Waterton and mentioned in her brother-in laws will, Ralph Snaith.)

• Anne (Married three times, John Butler, Ralph Snaith and Sir Roger Hopton.

• Brian (not mentioned in the will, but instructed in 1440-1 to take holy orders, perhaps he was an illegitimate son?)

Sir John Savile’s son and heir, John Savile esquire (who had fought at Blore Heath in 1459) was killed fighting in the Duke of Gloucester’s campaign in Scotland in 1482. He had married twice, firstly to Jane, the daughter of Sir Thomas Harrington with whom he had two children and secondly, Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas, Lord Dacre. John Savile esquire had been expected to take over the offices of his father at Wakefield and Sandal either at the surrender or death of the elderly Sir John. However, due to his untimely death, the leadership of the family passed to the son of John Savile, esquire – a third John Savile.

an additional source...

Sir John Savile

  • [1???-1482] Of Elland, Tankersley and Thornhill.


Son and heir of Sir Thomas Savile.

He was High Sheriff of Yorkshire [1455, 1461] / MP for Yorkshire [1450, 1467].

Antiquarian Joseph Hunter says:“ he was chief steward of the manor of Wakefield Honour of Wakefield connected with which office was the custody of the castle of Sandal. The castle thus became his occasional residence, where he died on the morrow of the feast of St. Basil, 1482. His body was carried through Wakefield and sumptuously buried at Thornhill.”

Sir John was one of the protagonists in the Savile-Pilkington feud. A long-running 15th century feud between the Savile family and their kinsmen, the Stansfields, on one side, versus the Pilkingtons on the other. Some of the people involved came from outside Calderdale, but the dispute originated in Calderdale, the trigger for the battle was in Elland, and the final battle was at Skircoat Moor.

He married Alice Gascoigne. Alice was the daughter of Sir William Gascoigne of Gawthorpe


  1. John
  2. William
  3. Thomas
  4. Henry
  5. Richard
  6. Nicholas
  7. Margaret who appears never to have married
  8. Elizabeth
  9. daughter who may have been called Anne

He (probably) died at Sandal Castle.

He was buried at Thornhill

Anne, daughter of Sir John Savile, of Thornhill, died 1506.

Married 1) John Butler 2) Ralph Snaith 3) Sir Roger Hopton.


  • Pedigrees of the county families of Yorkshire. by Foster, Joseph, 1844-1905 Publication date 1874 Publisher London : Printed and published by the compiler by W. Wilfred Head Collection getty; americana Digitizing sponsor Getty Research Institute Contributor Getty Research Institute Language English Volume v.1. Page 183-184. “Hopton, of Armley, co. York.” Archive.Org
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Sir John Savile, of Thornhill's Timeline

Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Methley, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Harewood, West Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Copley, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Exley, Yorkshire, England UK
June 15, 1482
Age 75
Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
June 21, 1482
Age 75