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Savile, John (1811-1896) (DNB00)


SAVILE, JOHN, first Baron Savile of Rufford (1818–1896), diplomatist, born in 1818, was the eldest natural son of John Lumley-Savile, eighth earl of Scarborough, his mother being of French origin. His grandfather, John Lumley (1761–1835), elder brother of Sir William Lumley [q. v.], was the fourth of the seven sons of Richard Lumley Saunderson, fourth earl of Scarborough, by Barbara, sister and heir of Sir George Savile (1726–1784) [q. v.] of Rufford Abbey, and a descendant of the Saviles of Thornhill and Lupset [see Savile, George, Marquis of Halifax]. Soon after graduating from King's College, Cambridge, in 1782, John Lumley, the grandfather, assumed the name of Savile by royal sign-manual, pursuant to the will of his uncle, Sir George. Having taken orders, he became a prebendary of York, and he succeeded to the earldom of Scarborough on the death of his brother Richard in 1832, but never took his seat in the House of Lords. Dying three years later from the results of a fall in the hunting-field, he was succeeded by his son, John Lumley-Savile, eighth earl of Scarborough (1788–1856), who graduated M.A. from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and represented Nottinghamshire, 1826–35. He was maimed as a boy, owing, it is said, to his father's violence. He never married, but left five natural children. His large property at Rufford, Nottinghamshire, and in the West Riding he bequeathed to his second son, Henry, a captain in the 2nd life-guards, owner of the famous racehorse, Cremorne, winner of the Derby in 1872 and the Ascot Cup in 1873. On his death in 1881 the estate passed to the fourth son, Augustus William (1829–1887), who held the post of assistant master of the ceremonies in her majesty's household for many years previous to his death at Cannes in April 1887.

The eldest son, John, obtained in August 1841, as John Savile Lumley, a nomination as supernumerary clerk in the librarian's department at the foreign office, and in the following November he accompanied John Fane, eleventh earl of Westmorland [q. v.], to Berlin as private secretary and attaché. On 5 July 1842 he was appointed attaché at Berlin, and obtained a grasp of diplomatic practice during the next seven years, while his chief was endeavouring to mediate in the Schleswig-Holstein difficulty between Denmark and Prussia. In 1849 he was transferred to St. Petersburg, and in October 1854 he became secretary of legation at Washington, being employed on special service at New York some months prior to his removal to Madrid in February 1858. On 14 April 1860 he was appointed secretary to the embassy at Constantinople, but at the close of the same year he was transferred in the same capacity to St. Petersburg, where he acted from time to time as chargé d'affaires, and where he was in January 1866 elected member of the Russian Imperial Academy. Next summer he was promoted envoy to the king of Saxony; and when, a few months later, that mission was withdrawn, Savile proceeded as envoy to the Swiss confederation. Two years later he was transferred to Brussels, while in August 1883, after forty-two years' service, he was promoted to be British minister at Rome, and was created a privy councillor in the same year. While at Rome he represented Great Britain at the International Sanitary Conference (1885), and commenced some valuable excavations at Civita Lavinia (Lanuvium). Of the numerous objects there found in marble, terra cotta, bronze, and glass, some were presented to the British Museum, while others went to form the Savile Gallery in the Nottingham Castle Museum (1891). In September 1888 he was succeeded at Rome by the Marquis of Dufferin, and retired from the service, whereupon he was raised to the peerage as Baron Savile of Rufford in Nottinghamshire (25 Oct.). In the previous year he had dropped the name of Lumley, and had succeeded to the estate and mansion of Rufford Abbey by the death of his brother Augustus. Baron Savile greatly improved the abbey and its demesnes. In the former he located his fine collection of pictures. He showed great judgment as a collector, had a fine perception and a wide knowledge of art, and himself painted some vigorous landscapes and sea-pieces. He was elected an honorary member of the Royal Academy at Antwerp, and he served for many years as a trustee of the National Gallery, to which he presented ‘Christ at the Column,’ by Velasquez, and other oil-paintings. He was created a C.B. in 1873, K.C.B. in 1878, and G.C.B. in 1885. He died at Rufford Abbey on 28 Nov. 1896. The title passed to his nephew, John Savile Lumley (son of his third brother, Frederick Savile Lumley, rector of Bilsthorpe), who entered the diplomatic service in 1873.

[Gent. Mag. 1835 i. 541, 1856 ii. 771; Foster's Alumni Oxon. s.v. ‘Lumley’ and ‘Savile;’ Times, 30 Nov. 1896; Nottingham Daily Guardian, 30 Nov. 1896; Foreign Office Lists; Burke's Peerage; Black's Jockey Club, p. 302.]

T. S.