The family name of the Earls of Mexborough is Savile and in 1623 the first of
that well known Yorkshire family came to live in Mexborough.
His name was Samuel and he was born in c1588 the son of William Savile, an attorney of Wakefield. He was a student, fellow and, authenticated by Leonard Harrop, a Master of King’s College Cambridge University, where he was a philosopher, mathematician and poet.
In the reign of James I, and after leaving King’s College, he was secretary to James, Earl of Carlisle and went with his Embassy to France. Then after long and faithful service at court he retired to the country.
He married Alice Blackett of Herts. and in 1623 came to live in Mexborough where, on 10th July 1628, their firstborn son William was baptised. William was followed quickly, in 1629, by a daughter named Alice. But alas, they both died and no other children are mentioned until their only surviving son Samuel was born in 1637.
In 1630 Samuel Savile leased, from the Archdeacon of York, the lay rectorship of Mexborough. Included in this was Mexborough Parsonage, this was a large Elizabethan stone-built house facing Old Denaby and was situated to the South West of Ferry Boat Lane. In its heyday any traveller approaching Mexborough, on the river or lane from Old Denaby, could not fail to have been impress by its grandeur as it had: two barns; a coach-house; a coach-house with stabling for six horses; a granary; yet another stable, this time for four horses; a cow-shed; an enclosure for sheep; an orchard with different types of fruit trees; two fish-ponds; a water-house; and gardens sweeping down to the River Don. While inside there was a Dining Room which was 8yds x 5yds with a magnificent marble fireplace and a Drawing Room measuring 5yds x 4yds, all panelled with oak.
In 1642 the split between King Charles and the Parliamentarians, became irreparable and war broke out. Many of the gentry in this area supported the Parliamentarians but Samuel Savile joined the Royalist cause, firstly joining the army and then becoming Bodyguard to King Charles I. Samuel stayed with the King, until defeat was staring them in the face and, possibly in 1646, when the King surrendered to the Scottish, he was taken prisoner and imprisoned in the Parlementary stronghold of Hull. Leonard Harrop then states:
“In 1647 a troop of Parliamentary Cavalry, passing through Mexborough for the north, were quartered here. Their commander’s name was Foster and he had with him a certain Lieutenant Colonel Rample who was quartered in Mr. Savile’s house. While staying here Rample killed a man, perhaps one of Mr. Savile’s loyal servants, who had said something to offend his colonelship. Of course the Mexborough Villages had no redress against the armed and disciplined forces of the Roundheads but the latter were a law unto themselves, and Colonel Rample was sentenced to be shot”.
In 1648 a Royalist uprising took place and Pontefract Castle was taken, there then ensued a siege at which Captain Paulden and twenty-four others extricated themselves from the castle to try and capture General Rainsborough, a Cromwellian, at Doncaster. They left under the cover of darkness and arrived at Mexborough the following morning, travelling along the old track, and rested at the home of Mr. Savile until noon before continuing their journey to Conisbrough. The following day they went to Doncaster to try and capture General Rainsborough, but unfortunately he was accidentally killed. We have been informed that some people were captured, for use as ransom, and that on the return journey one of them was beheaded outside the Ferry Boat Inn, not fifty yards from Mr. Savile’s house, but as yet we have been unable to find corroboration of this.
But alas, despite all his endeavours, for the Royalist Cause, Samuel Savile never got to see the restoration of the monarchy as he died, aged seventy-one years, on 25th May 1660 just four days before Charles II came to the throne. His ashes were buried in Mexborough Parish Church where, in the chancel, a mural monument was erected to his memory.
Following the death of Samuel Savile I his only surviving son, also named Samuel, inherited his father’s estate at Mexborough. In 1666 we find he was a Captain in Sir George Savile’s (Marquis of Halifax) regiment of foot and was brother-in-law to Dr. Nathaniel Johnston. He had eight children in all but, like his father before him, his eldest son died and so on his death in 1685 it was his second son, William, who took over the running of the estate at Mexborough.
It is William who appears in a lawful dispute1694-1695 with Sir William Reresby, which culminated in William Savile driving a cart through the Nether Ford, which was situated between Mexborough Ferry and Stafford Sands.
William Savile was married twice, but despite this he had no children, and on his death on 3rd July 1718 the running of the estate at Mexborough passed to his brother Samuel Savile III and it was he who sold all his possessions in Mexborough to Sir Charles Savile of Methley Hall which ultimately became the ancient Country Seat of the Earls of Mexborough.
Here, as there is much to tell you from The Local History Room, I will pause and pick my story up again, next month. When the Savile Family will become the Earls of Mexborough.
You can read part two, the October 2006 issue of the newsletter, here..
Information Obtained From:
The present Earl of Mexborough
The South Yorkshire Times 02/12/1916 & ? 1916 The Pickering & Herald 10/10/1985
1839 Tithe Map of Mexborough
Hunter’s South Yorkshire
The Norman Watson Collection
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