Show ContentsSavile History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Savile family lived in Yorkshire. Their name, however, is a reference to Saville, in Anjou, France, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. 1

Roger and Gerard de Sevele or Savale occur in the Norman Exchequer Rolls of 1180-95. 2

Early Origins of the Savile family

The surname Savile was first found in Yorkshire where "the family of Savile was one of the most illustrious in the West Riding. Some writers have fancifully ascribed to it an Italian origin, but it probably had its rise at Silkston, in this county." 3

More specifically, many of the family held estates at Morley, a township and ecclesiastical district, in the parish of Batley, union of Dewsbury. In the war during the reign of Charles I., Howley Hall, here, for eighteen generations the seat of the Saville family, was garrisoned for the parliament; and the church of the ancient parish of Morley was let on lease by Saville, Earl of Sussex, to the Presbyterian party for 500 years: the building is still in possession of trustees as an Independent meetinghouse, forming a solitary exception to the general restitution which took place at the Restoration." 4

Stainland in the West Riding of Yorkshire was an ancient family seat. "Bradley Hall, here, the seat of the ancestors of the Earl of Mexborough, which was burnt down in 1629, and subsequently rebuilt, is now a farmhouse." 4

Thornhill, again in the West Riding was home to a branch of the family. "This place was the seat of the Thornhill family, for many generations proprietors of the manor, which was conveyed by marriage in 1404 to the Savilles, from whom the estate descended to the second son of Sir George Saville's sister: that lady had been married to Richard, Earl of Scarborough, ancestor of the present owner. The church is an ancient and venerable structure, chiefly in the early English style, with a square embattled tower: on the south side of the chancel is a chapel containing numerous monuments to the Saville family, one of which, entirely of oak, has the effigies of Sir John Saville and his two wives." 4

Early History of the Savile family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Savile research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1253, 1612, 1633, 1640, 1641, 1642, 1644, 1665, 1673, 1679, 1680, 1687, 1695 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Savile History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Savile Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Savile, Savill, Saville, Seville and others.

Early Notables of the Savile family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Sir George Savile, 1st Baronet
  • Sir William Savile, 3rd Baronet (1612-1644), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Yorkshire in 1640 and Old Sarum (1641-1642)
  • George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax PC FRS (1633-1695), an English statesman, writer, and politician
  • William Savile, 2nd Marquess of Halifax (1665-1700)

Migration of the Savile family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Savile or a variant listed above: Elizabeth Savill who settled in Virginia with her husband in 1652; Jeremiah and Joseph Saville and their children settled in Baltimore in 1823; John and Thomas Saville settled in Virginia in 1772..

Contemporary Notables of the name Savile (post 1700) +

  • Bourchier Wrey Savile (1817-1888), English author, second son of Albany Savile (died 1831), M.P., of Okehampton
  • George Savile (1847-1904), English amateur first-class cricketer
  • Steven Savile (b. 1969), British fantasy, horror and thriller writer
  • Sir Leopold Halliday Savile KCB, MICE (1870-1953), British civil engineer, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1940-1941)
  • John Savile PC (1818-1896), 1st Baron Savile, a British diplomat, Ambassador to Italy from 1883 to 1888
  • Douglas Barton Osborne Savile (1909-2000), Irish-born Canadian mycologist, plant pathologist and evolutionary biologist
  • George Savile Foljambe CB VD (1856-1920), English cricketer and soldier
  • Charles Savile Roundell, English politician, Member of Parliament in the 1920s
  • Charles Savile Roundell (1827-1906), English cricketer, lawyer and Liberal politician from Clifton, West Yorkshire
  • Savile Brinton Crossley GCVO, PC (1857-1935), 1st Baron Somerleyton, British Liberal Unionist politician, Paymaster General (1902 to 1905)

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print. on Facebook