SAVAGE, George (1636-83), of Bloxworth, Dorset.
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Family and Education
b. 17 Apr. 1636, o. surv. s. of William Savage, counsellor at law, of Bloxworth and the M. Temple by Joan, da. of Richard Page of Oxendon, Mdx. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 1651; M. Temple 1652. m. Anne, da. and h. of Thomas Bowyer of Deane, Shapwick, Dorset, 5s. 2da. suc. fa. 1650; kntd. 13 June 1681.1
Commr. for assessment, Dorset 1661-3, 1664-80; j.p. Dorset 1662-70, 1674-?d., Poole 1665; freeman, Poole 1662; commr. for pressing seamen, Dorset 1665, recusants 1675, dep. lt. 1676-?d., capt. of militia horse by 1679-d.; commr. for visitation, Poole 1681.2
Savage’s great-great-grandfather bought Bloxworth, part of the possessions of Cerne Abbey, at the dissolution. Set in the barren heathlands of south-east Dorset, it was not a large estate, but the family seem to have been mildly prosperous at the beginning of the 17th century, when the house was rebuilt. His father, a leading and articulate opponent of the Court before the Civil War, served on the county committee, and Savage’s relations with the more oafish Cavaliers were not of the best. But he signed the loyal address at the Restoration, and became an Anglican, anxious to ensure that his son should be ‘brought up in the practice and liturgy of the Church of England’3
Savage was returned to the Exclusion Parliaments for Wareham, five miles south-east of Bloxworth, probably with the support of Thomas Erle, a brother-officer in the militia. With Erle and their commanding officer Sir William Portman he attended the Corfe Castle election on 26 Feb. 1679 in support of the trimmer Sir Nathaniel Napier. He gave evidence to the elections committee, of which he was himself a member. Four days later he obtained leave of absence for a fortnight, and on his return he was named to a committee for securing the better attendance of Members. Shaftesbury marked him ‘base’, but he voted for the first exclusion bill. A moderately active Member of the first Exclusion Parliament, he was appointed to two other committees, one to prepare a bill for regulating elections, the other to inquire into the movement of artillery to Portsmouth. In the second Exclusion Parliament he was again appointed to an electoral reform committee, but on 21 Dec. 1680 he obtained leave to retire to the country for reasons of health. In 1681 an opposition newspaper reported that he and Erle were again returned ‘without expense’; but there is no record of his attendance at Oxford.4
Savage quickly reverted to the Court, accompanying the Earl of Bristol (John Digby) with a loyal address from Dorset in June. Delighted at this evidence that Shaftesbury was a prophet without honour in his own country, Charles knighted him. But Savage’s financial position, aggravated by an unhappy marriage, was rapidly becoming desperate. He had begun to mortgage his property as early as 1674 and now his creditors (headed by his in-laws) were closing in. He remained on the commission of the peace, but by the end of 1681 his estate was in the hands of trustees, and in Aug. 1683 he was in the King’s Bench, owing the marshal £130 for meat, drink and lodging for himself and his servant. ‘Under some indisposition of body’ he drew up his will, declaring:
I forgive my greatest enemies and offenders, these my unnatural though nearest relations who ... by their conspiring to imprison my person have shortened my life and subverted my family.
Savage had not exaggerated, for by 25 Sept. he was dead. Optimistic to the last, he had left instructions in his will for purchase of land to round off his estate; but in 1689 his sons were forced to convey Bloxworth to Henry Trenchard, probably the mortgagee in possession. No other member of his family ever sat in Parliament.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: John. P. Ferris
- 1. Society of Genealogists, Bloxworth reg.; Hutchins, Dorset, iii. 171; Trans. London and Mdx. Arch. Soc. o.s. i. 296; C142/549/71.
- 2. Hutchins, i. 32; PRO 30/24, bdle. 7, no. 565; CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 222; 1679-80, p. 61; 1680-1, p. 316.
- 3. Hutchins, i. 180-1; CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 16; Som. and Dorset N. and Q. xii. 54; PCC 38 Grey, 118 Hare; Address of Nobility and Gentry of Dorset; C8/167/144.
- 4. CJ, ix. 594; Prot. Dom. Intell. 22 Feb. 1681.
- 5. CSP Dom. 1680-1, p. 656; Yale Univ. (Osborn mss), letter of William Bennett, 12 Dec. 1681; Bloxworth reg.; Dorset RO, D60/T103, f. 28; PCC 118 Hare.