[Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, vol. 28, pp. 380-419 (1926)
Electronic text and additional notes kindly provided by David Hepworth
HTML version by Chris Phillips]



RALPH DE SAVILLE, 2.A., was probably born about 1160; there is no clue to his parentage. He made no gifts to Pontefract Priory, and his name only appears once in the Chartulary, but fortunately in a dated document.

1222. - Ralph and Henry de Saivile witnessed an agreement between the monks and Edusa de Barnsley, widow of Hugh de Baghill, being a demise of a messuage and land in Barnsley (Ponte­fract Chartulary, Record Series, vol. 30, pp. 437-8). Ralph's name is immediately before Henry's, which suggests that he was the elder brother, if brothers they were.

I have no further notes of this Ralph; he either left the neigh­bourhood or died soon after 1222. There is no record of any chil­dren.

HENRY DE SAVILLE, 2.B., was, I think, the brother of Ralph; there is no evidence of their parentage. Besides the charter just referred to, dated 1222, Henry witnessed a considerable number of undated documents recorded in the Pontefract Chartulary, though he was not himself a benefactor. These mostly relate to lands in Barnsley and Dodworth; the numbers are 267 (about 1210), 336, 347, 355, 362, 367 (before 1222), 374, 390 (about 1200 or later), 392, 456, and 522 (late twelfth or early thirteenth century); the con­jectural dates are Mr. Holmes's. In Nos. 355 and 362 he is called dominus. His name is spelled Saivile (1), Seiwilla (1), Sevile (3), Sevilla (2), Sewilla (2), and Siewilla (1).

Undated; about 1212. - Hugh Pincerna and Henry de Sewilla, probably his father-in-law (see below), witnessed a charter relating to land at Hermitage in Crosland (Record Series, vol. 30, p. 558).

A document of great importance in settling the relationship of Henry de Saville is printed by the late Mr. S. J. Chadwick, F.S.A., in his notes on Dewsbury church (Yorks. Arch. Journal, vol. 20, p. 393), from Hunter's MSS. in the British Museum. Hunter states that it was "copied by N[athaniel] J[ohnston] from an original into his history of the house of Savile." The document is dated in Lent (the exact day being somewhat uncertain), 1225, by which John de Dewsbury and Odo de Richmond, parsons [rectors] of Dewsbury, in consideration of a rent of 22d. a year, grant to their parishioner, Henry de Seyvill, license to have a chantry in his chapel at Guthlaker [Golcar], situated in his house (curia), within the bounds of Dewsbury parish. Witnesses, etc. It is not stated where Johnston obtained this document, and it does not appear to be among Lord Savile's deeds; but notwithstanding this rather damaging


fact, I am inclined to accept it as genuine, for the following reasons: The three persons chiefly concerned, and also most of the witnesses, can be shown from other evidence to have been living at or about the specified date; the deed does not contain any allegation of pedigree, and therefore was not a forgery for the purpose of sup­porting a fictitious descent, as is sometimes found.

The importance of the document in the present inquiry lies in the mention of the curia at Golcar. Curia is a word with many shades of meaning, but here, I think, it means a house with a court attached to or held in it, that is, a manor house, a view supported by the fact that the house was of sufficient size and importance to have a chapel. I infer, therefore, that Henry de Saville was at that date lord of the manor of Golcar. Now we shall see presently that in 1286 Peter de Seyville was lord of the manor of Golcar, so that we have at once a reasonable ground for concluding that Peter was either a direct or collateral descendant of Henry. Foster's pedigree states that Henry had a son Thomas, who had a son John, who was the father of Peter.

I find no trace of any Thomas son of Henry, but John son of Henry was in all probability Peter's grandfather.

1226, Octave of St. Andrew, 11 Hen. III. - Fine between Robert son of Henry, by Henry de Seiville, plaintiff, and Walter de Went and Alice his wife, deforciants, of 1/3 of 2 bovates of land in Thorpe,1 whereof there had been an assize of mort d’ancestor. The meadow of Hulm is mentioned (Feet of Fines, Yorks., Hen. III, file 18, no. 18).

Undated. - Henry de Sevile witnessed a charter of Avice daughter of Laurence the Clerk of Darrington, relating to lands at Darrington (Record Series, vol. 25, p. 297). Mr. Holmes dates this as about 1239; I think this is too late, for there is some reason to suppose that Henry was dead in 1231 (see below, John, 3.C.).

The subsequent pedigree turns largely on the question of Henry's wife or wives and children. The old pedigrees state that he married Agnes, daughter and heir of John Golcar, and that he had two sons, Thomas of Newstead and Baldwin. I have found no trace of any Thomas at this time; some notes as to Baldwin will be found below, but I have no evidence as to his parentage.

I can only explain the later facts as to the various properties on the assumption that Henry was twice married, and that the Golcar property did in fact come to him by marriage. The only property that apparently belonged to these early Savilles, apart from Golcar,

1 Probably Thorpe Audlin, near Pontefract.


was at Silkston, Dodworth and Barnsley, and perhaps Thurlston, all of which can be traced in the descendants of Henry in the male line. Golcar was also owned by Peter de Saville in 1286 (see below), but it was held, as to three-fourths of it, from the heir of Richard Butler, who was a descendant of Hugh Pincerna and Avice de Saville. Now this Avice was, in my opinion, certainly a daughter of Henry, and not a sister, as Holmes suggested; how comes it then that the descendant of Henry's son held Golcar of the descendant of Henry's daughter? There can, I think, be but one answer: Avice must have been the daughter and heir of Henry's first wife, to whom the Golcar property belonged, while John de Saville, Henry's son and heir, must have been by a second wife. The original Butler property was at Armthorpe, Skelbrook, Scawsby, and elsewhere in the neigh­bourhood of Doncaster; Golcar, being near Huddersfield, was much nearer to the Saville property than to the Butler property, and Avice de Saville and her husband may well have settled Golcar on her half-brother and his heirs to hold of herself and her heirs. This is a guess, pure and simple, there is no evidence whatever of such a grant, but it is the only suggestion I can make which explains the situation.

On this supposition Henry de Saville was twice married, his first wife being the heiress of Golcar, whether or no she was Agnes daughter and heir of John Golcar, as the old pedigrees allege. Avice, wife of Hugh Pincerna, was apparentlhy the sole issue of this marriage. See Section III, The Butlers.

Of the supposed second wife I have no information; her children I take to have been John and Ralph; Ralph was probably the elder son.

RALPH DE SAVILLE, 3.B., was probably the eldest son of Henry, 2.B., by his supposed second wife (see above). There is no evidence of any wife or children. If he were in fact the eldest son he must have died without issue.

1216. - Dodsworth notes a charter, "out of the chest of Roche Abbay in St. Marye's Tower in York," by Adam de St. Maria, re­lating to lands in Swinton and Rawmarsh, dated 18 John, 1216, and attested by Ralph de Sayvile (Dodsworth MS. 117, fo. 17 b).

Undated; about 1230. - Grant by Robert son of Robert de Stubbes to Ralph son of Henry de Sayvile of all his land in Little Smeaton, etc. Witnesses, (inter alios) John de Sayvile (Lord Savile's deeds, Record Series, vol. 50, p. 173). Three other witnesses, William de Bretton, Adam de Mirfield, and Jordan de Heton, wit­nessed the grant to John de Sayvile, 1244-47 (see below).


Sir JOHN DE SAVILLE, 3.C., was the son of Henry, 2.B., and was probably born about 1200. Mr. Holmes thought that he was the second son of Hugh Butler and Avice de Saville, but this is clearly a mistake.

John de Saville witnessed several undated charters in the Pontefract Chartulary, viz., Nos. 346 (p. 442), 388 (p. 470), as John de Sevile or Seivile, and as Sir John de Saivile (Sevile), Nos. 363 (p. 452), 364 (p. 453), and 376 (p. 461), to none of which does Mr. Holmes assign a conjectural date.

Undated. - John de Seivile witnessed the grant by Avice de Seyvile to her son William, of lands at Bolhach in Silkston (post, The Butlers). He subsequently had a grant from William of the same property. The date of these documents is probably between 1240 and 1246.

Undated. - Sir John de Seyvile and Walter de Seyvile witnessed a charter of John son of Elias de Bulehul, relating to land in Bilcliffe, near Penistone (Lord Savile's deeds, Record Series, vol. 50, p. 38).

Undated. - A rent of 4d. due to John de Seyvil from lands in Bullhouse [in Thurlston, near Barnsley] is mentioned in a charter of John son of Robert de Farnley (Lord Savile's deeds, Record Series, vol. 50, p. 53).

Undated; about 1230. - John de Sayvill witnessed a grant of land in Little Smeaton to his brother Ralph (see above).

1231, Trinity Term. - A day is given to John de Seyville, plain­tiff, and John de Midhope, to hear judgment in a plea of warranty of charter relating to the tithes of a certain mill, in one month of Michaelmas at Westminster, or in the counties of Nottingham, Derby or Leicester, if the justices shall go there (Assize Roll 1042, m. 26d.). The locality of the mill is not mentioned. Apparently Henry de Saville and his (? eldest) son Ralph were both dead.

1242, September 4. - Bordeaux. John de Seyvylla had letters of protection (Patent Rolls, 26-7 Hen. III, m. 8).

1242-3. - Lacy Fee. "Seyvill, the third part of a fee." This is the entry printed, without date, in the 1807 edition of the Testa de Nevill (pp. 365, 367). The date is supplied in the new edition (Part II, p. 1103). The Christian name appears to be omitted, and I see no reason to doubt that Sir John is the person referred to. No place is mentioned.

1243-4, January. - John de Seyvile was a juror on an inquisition as to the lands of Ralph de Fetherstan (Record Series, vol. 12, p. 2).

Undated; 1244-47. - Confirmation by Roger de Quency, Earl of Winchester and Constable of Scotland, of a grant by Simon


Scorcheboef, to Sir John de Sayvile of lands in the vill and common fields of Smidhetone [Kirk Smeaton], at a yearly rent of some iron spurs or 3d. at Easter for all service; for which grant John gave him [? Simon] 43 marks of silver. Witnesses to the grant, Alan de Farnham, then Sheriff of Oxfordshire, Walter de Sayvile, [and others]. Witnesses to the confirmation, Sir William Mauduite, [and others] (Lord Savile's deeds, Record Series, vol. 50, p. 173). Alan de Farnham was sheriff from 1244 to 1247.

1246, Easter Term. - Henry son of Adam claimed against John de Seyville 40 acres of land in Aldeham and Smithele,1 as his right. John said he ought not to answer because the complaint was never made in the County Court (?; loquela ista nunquam fuit in Com'), and the writ speaks of 60 acres, whereas he now only claims 40 acres. John goes without day, and Henry is in mercy (Assize Roll 1045, m. 24).

John de Sayville, juror, re claim to land in Wintewurth (ibid., m. 25).

1246, Easter Term. - Assize whether Adam de Holaund had unjustly raised a foss in Thurueleston [Thurlston] to the damage of the free tenement of John de Seville there. The jury found for the plaintiff; the foss was ordered to be pulled down (prosternatur) (Assize Roll 1045, m. 46d.).

There is no clear evidence of the date of Sir John's death, and, as his eldest son was also named John, there is a doubt whether certain later notes refer to the father or the son. Sir John probably died in 1250 or earlier; Agnes de Saville claimed dower in 1250, and she was alleged to be responsible in December, 1250, for a tres­pass committed by her sons (see below). She was probably Sir John's widow. There is no clue to her parentage.

Their children were John, William, and Walter.

JOHN DE SAVILLE, 4.A., was, there can be little doubt, the son and heir of Sir John, 3.C., though the fact is nowhere stated in terms. He is the first to be mentioned in the Genealogia Savilorum (Harl. MS. 4630, "copied out of an old MS."). He is there stated to have had two brothers, Walter and William, which seems to identify him as the son of Sir John, 3.C. He is also said to have married ..... "filiam et heredem de Gothlaker," which apparently confuses him with his grandfather, and to have been "dominum de Savile Hall circa annum 30 Henrici III in Anno Domini 1245," which I believe to be an error.

1250, December 7. - Order to Geoffrey de Langley, the justice of

1 Oldham and Smidley are in Wombwell.


the Forest, to postpone until the Purification next the distraint to be made on Agnes de Seville for a trespass which her sons had made in Peak Forest (Close Roll Cal., p. 388).

1250-1, February 7. - John de Seyville and William and Walter, his brothers, were pardoned all trespasses charged against them before Geoffrey de Langley in the pleas of the forest in Derbyshire (ibid., p. 411).

1251, Michaelmas Term. - John de Seyvill was one of four knights in an action relating to land in Pontefract (Record Series, vol. 44, p. 60).

1251, Michaelmas Term. - Agnes de Seyville complained that Robert de Thorpe had unjustly disseised her of a third of 20 acres of land in Calthoren [Cawthorne, near Barnsley]. The jury found for the defendant. Agnes is in mercy for a false claim; pledge, her son John (Assize Roll 1046, m. 11d.).

The one third clearly points to dower; Agnes must, I think, have been the widow of John de Saville, 3.C.

1251, Michaelmas Term. - Colin de Seyville1 was summoned to answer John de Seyville in a plea that he should do the accustomed services due for the free tenement he holds of John in Calthorne, viz., 80 acres of land and a mill, by the service of yearly rents of 30s. 4d. for the land and ½ mark for the mill. John himself received this until 4 years ago; he claims 100s. damages. Colin admits the holding and the service, but he says that when John set out for a pilgrimage to the Holy Land he in­structed (assignavit) him [Colin] to pay out of the said rents 20s. 3d. to John Haunsard, 10s. to John de Lungvilers, in respect of the land, and ½ mark to the Prior of Bowelton [Bolton] in respect of the mill. Asked if he has any document (instrumentum) showing this, Colin says that he has nothing except his "suit," and produces no "suit" except his own bare word (simplex dictum). It is therefore considered that he must henceforth pay the rents to John, and be in mercy for the unjust detention, and pay damages, taxed at [blank]. Pledge for the amercement, John son of Walter de Preston (Assize Roll 1046, m. 16d.).

1251, Michaelmas Term. - John de Seyvill was one of four knights appointed to choose a jury in an action relating to land in Briddeshal (Assize Roll 1046, m. 28).

1251-2, Hilary Term. - John de Seyvill v. the Prior of Ponte­fract, Richard de Scauceby, and Stephen the Carter, for disseising him of common of pasture in Doddewurth which belongs to his free

1 Mr. Baildon thought this a clerical error; but was not Colin the same man as Nicholas 4.D.? See p. 394.


tenement there, viz., in a certain wood where he was always used to common. The Prior said that there was formerly a dispute (contentio) between Hugh, sometime Prior of Pontefract, and Henry de Seyville, John's father, as touching that wood, and it was agreed between them that the Prior and his successors should essart within the common of Duddewurth [sic] if they wished, without contra­diction or impediment by Henry or his heirs, but saving to him and his heirs one-fifth part of the residue not essarted; and if the Prior or his successors made any new essart, neither Henry nor his heirs should on that account be able to make any complaint (querela), by a certain writing made between them, which he produced; and he said that there still remained more than one-tenth of the said pasture not yet essarted. John cannot deny this. Judgment for the Prior. John is in mercy for a false claim (Assize Roll 1046, m. 54d.).

This document certainly implies that the plaintiff was the son of Henry, 2.B.; I think that this is an error, and that for "Henry, John's father" we should read "Henry, John's grandfather."

1252, Martinmas. - Ralph son of Hugh de Balnia demised to John de Seyvill 2½ bovates of land in the field of Smitheton [Kirk Smeaton] and his rent in Skelbroke for 16 years, paying yearly 16s. Witnesses, Richard Foliot, Robert de Stapilton, Robert Butiller, Reynald Conan. In the writings of Robert Rockley of Rockley, esq. (Yorks. Arch. Journal, vol. 12, p. 70).

1252. - John de Seyvill held in Smetheton, for the term of 16 years, lands of Ralph son of Hugh de Balnia, and rent in Skelbroke [Will's Sayvill de eodem (Dodsworth)]. Witnesses, Robert Foliot, Robert Stapleton, Robert Butiler. In the writings of Robert Rockley, esq. (Yorks. Arch. Journal, vol. 12, p. 68). This appears to be a variant of the last note, with the curious interpolation from Dodsworth, which is not explained by the editor; it is probably one of Dodsworth's numerous cross-references to other documents, and may refer to Peter de Saville's inquisition (see below).

1267-8, Hilary Term. - John de Saiville, who brought a writ against Richard le Botiller that he should take the homage and reasonable relief from John for a tenement in Guthlacarthes [Golcar] and Duddeworth [Dodworth], does not prosecute. Therefore he and his pledges are in mercy, viz., Ralph de Mitton and William de Merston, clerk (Assize Roll 1050, m. 8).

The importance of homage and relief, as indicating a change of ownership, is very frequently overlooked. When an heir succeeded to the estate of his ancestor he had to do homage and become his lord's man (homo) as an acknowledgment of his tenure. "The lord


of the fee for which homage is due takes homage of every tenant as he comes to the land or fee" (Jacob's Law Dict.). Apparently it was only done once, and the acknowledgment implied by the doing of homage passed to an heir or grantee on any succession to or aliena­tion of the lord's estate; hence in grants, fines, or other assurances of estates, we frequently find the clause, "together with the homage and service of" the various tenants. A relief was payable "on the taking up by the heir of his ancestor's estate" (Goodeve, Modern Law of Real Property, p. 21), "by way of fine for taking up the estate after feuds became hereditary" (Scriven, Copyholds, p. 227). Fealty was the personal pledge of fidelity from the tenant to the person of his lord, and hence could not be assigned; it was due not only on a change of tenant, but also on a change of lord. We consequently get the statement frequently in fines on an assignment by the lord that the tenant was present and did fealty to the new lord. Homage and relief are therefore positive proof of a succession, while fealty is not.

1267-8, Hilary Term. - John de Seyville who brought a writ against Baldwin de Sayville [sic] to give up a charter which he un­justly detains, does not prosecute. He and his pledges are in mercy, viz., Ralph de Mitton and William de Merston, clerk (Assize Roll 1050, m. 5d.).

1267-8, Hilary Term. - Robert de Wambewell claimed against John de Seyville 3 bovates of land in Aldham1 as his right. John claimed a view, and put in his place John de Dighton. A day is given on the quindene of Michaelmas at Newcastle-on-Tyne (Assize Roll 1050, m. 73d.).

We shall see presently that a John de Dychton, probably the same man, married Pleasance, sister of Peter de Saville.

I have no further notes of this John; he was clearly dead in 1278.

There is no clue to his wife. His children were, Peter (see below) and two daughters, Agnes, and Pleasance wife of John de Deighton, both apparently living in 1286 and mentioned in Peter's inquisition. The Genealogia Savilorum gives these children, and two other sons in addition, Robert and Baldwin. I have no notes as to Robert; Baldwin will be found below. Ralph, mentioned in 1302 (John, 6.A.), may have been another son.

WILLIAM DE SAVILLE, 4.B., was a younger son of Sir John, 3.C. He is apparently the William mentioned in the rather puzzling paren­thesis in a document of 1252 (see above, John, 3.C.), and he had a

1 See above, 1246, John, 3.C.


lease of land in Smeaton from his nephew, Peter, for 14 years, of which seven had expired in 1286 (see below, Peter, 5.A.).

1250-1. - See above, John, 3.C.

1264, November 20. - William de Sayvile was a juror at an extent of the manor of Elmsall (Record Series, vol. 12, p. 99).

1266, Easter. - John de Scaldewell [sic] abandoned his assize of mort d'ancestor against William de Seyville concerning a messuage and 3 acres of land in Scadewell [Shadwell] (Assize Roll 1194, m. 8d.).

WALTER DE SAVILLE, 4.C., was a younger son of John, 3.C. He is mentioned with his two brothers, John and William, in 1250-1 (see above, John, 3.C.). He occurs as a witness to an undated char­ter to which Sir John de Saville was also a witness, and also as a wit­ness to a grant to Sir John himself, the date of which can be fixed approximately as between 1244 and 1247 (see above, John, 3.C.).

1246, Easter Term. - Walter de Saiville of Guthlacarges [Golcar] was a pledge for Modesta [sic] who claimed dower in Pocklington and abandoned her writ (Assize Roll 1045, East. 30 Hen. III, m. 31).

1251, Michaelmas Term. - William son of William discontinued his assize of mort d'ancestor against Walter de Seyvill touching 6d. rent in Thurleston; he and his pledges are in mercy, viz., William de Deneby and John de Ulfley (Assize Roll 1046, m. 21).

1268. - Staincross Wapentake. Walter de Sayville appealed Robert son of Henry de Bolehuses and John de Billeclif of blows and breach of the peace, and Henry of ordering and sending them (de missione et precepto). He did not come, and was amerced; pledges, Gilbert son of Henry de Calthorn and Adam son of Hugh de Wyggeflask (Assize Roll 1051, m. 10d.).

He had a son John, who was living in 1303; see below.


1251-2. - Nicholas de Seyville, ½ mark for an unjust detention; pledge, John son of Walter de Preston. Fines of the County of York, in the eyre of Silvester, Bishop of Carlisle, R. de Thurkelby, and their Fellows (Assize Roll, 1047, m. 22).

BALDWIN DE SAVILLE, 4.E., is stated in the old pedigrees to have been a son of Henry (see above, Henry, 2.B.). The dates show this to be incorrect, for Henry must have been born well back in the twelfth century, probably not much later than 1160, while Baldwin was living in 1309. The Genealogia Savilorum states that he was a brother of Peter and son of John, 4.A. This seems to me equally impossible, and it will be noticed that when this John sued Baldwin in 1267-8 (see above), he does not call him his son. He was probably a brother, and perhaps a younger son of John, 3.C.


The earliest note I have on him is in 1267-8 (see above, John, 4.A.), and the next in 1274, when he was a surety for Thomas de Burg and John de Caylly (Wakefield Court Rolls, Record Series, vol. 52, p. 83). He cannot have been much, if any, under 40 at this time, and was probably older, since his son William appeared in place of his father in 1275 (ibid., p. 102), and William, if not actually of age, cannot have been far short.

He occurs fairly frequently in the Wakefield Rolls between 1275 and 1309,1 sometimes as a juror or a surety, but more often as essoining for non-attendance, when, as a rule, one of his sons appeared for him.

1279. - Pleas of the Crown. The jury found that Alexander Lucas, Steward of the Earl of Warenne in the Court of Wakefield, had been taking improper amercements in the case of essoins, and that in this way he had taken (inter alia) ½ mark from Baldewin de Seyville (Assize Roll 1057, m. 15; 1064, m. 13d.).

1279, July 7. - Baldwin de Sayvile witnessed a charter relating to land in Norland in the parish of Halifax (Record Series, vol. 39, p. 125).

1293, Trinity Term. - John son of Matthew de Doddesworth, cutting down a tree in the wood of Baldwin de Sevile with an axe, was crushed by it, and died immediately. Verdict, death by mis­adventure. The tree and the axe, worth 4d., are forfeited as deodands (Assize Roll 1098, m. 33).

He was living in July, 1309, when he essoined at the Wakefield Court by Hugh de Seyville, his attorney (Record Series, vol. 36, p. 220), and in September, 1309, when he was fined 6d. for default (ibid.), and died before Trinity, 1311 (see below, Thomas, 5.C.).

There is no clue to Baldwin's wife. He had five sons, William, John, Thomas, Hugh, and Henry. Beyond the dates at which they first appear, there are no means of ascertaining their respective seniorities, but Thomas, although he does not occur so early as the two first-named, appears to have succeeded to Baldwin's pro­perty.

PETER DE SAVILLE, 5.A., son of John, 4.A., was probably born about 1250; he was clearly of age in 1278, or thereabouts, when he granted a lease of land in Skelbrook (see below). Hunter distinctly states that he was son of Sir John, 3.C., but, as stated above, I think that Hunter has omitted a generation. Peter's father was cer­tainly named John; see below, John, 6.A., 1302.

1 This is the latest entry of Baldwin in the Wakefield Rolls (Record Series, vol. 36, p. 227).