Savage, Arnold (DNB00)

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SAVAGE, Sir ARNOLD (d. 1410), speaker of the House of Commons, came of a family that had long been settled at Bobbing, Kent. A Sir Robert Savage of Bobbing is said to have taken part in the third crusade, and a Sir John Savage of Bobbing was present at the siege of Carlaverock in 1300. The heads of the family during six generations represented Kent in parliament. The speaker's father was Sir Arnold Savage (d. 1375), who served in France in 1345, and was a commissioner of array in Kent in 1346 and several times afterwards (Fœdera, iii. 38, 78, 243, 315). He sat in the parliament of January 1352, was warden of the coasts of Kent on 13 April 1355, and mayor of Bordeaux on 12 March 1359, retaining the latter post till 1363. In 1363 he was employed in negotiations with Pedro of Castile, and in 1371 and 1373 was a commissioner to treat with France (ib. iii. 422, 688, 762, 934, 1062). He died in 1375, having married Mary or Margery, daughter of Michael, lord Poynings [q. v.]

Sir Arnold Savage, the son, was sheriff of Kent in 1381 and 1385, and in 1386 served with John of Gaunt in Spain (Fœdera, vii. 490, original edit.). He was constable of Queenborough from 1392 to 1396, and was at one time lieutenant of Dover Castle (Hasted, Kent, iii. 657, iv. 75). He was a knight of the shire for Kent in the parliaments of January and November 1390. Savage did not sit again in parliament till 1401, when, on 22 Jan., the commons presented him as their speaker. In this capacity he gained great credit by his oratory. ‘He had the art of dealing effective thrusts under cover of a cloud of polished verbiage’ (Ramsay, i. 29). On the occasion of his presentation, after making the usual protest, Savage addressed the king, desiring that the commons might have good advice, and not be pressed with the most important matters at the close of parliament. Three days later he appeared again before the king, begging him not to listen to any idle tales of the commons' proceedings. This request was granted, and Savage then delivered a long speech of advice as to the challenge of certain lords by the French. When Savage and the commons presented themselves for the third time, on 31 Jan., Henry desired that all further petitions might be made in writing. The parliament closed with an elaborate speech from Savage, in which he likened the session of parliament to the mass. This session had been important both for parliamentary theory and practice; the commons had petitioned, though without success, that redress of grievances should precede supply, and had urged the need for more accurate engrossing of the record of parliamentary business. Savage was responsible at least for formulating these demands (Rolls of Parliament, iii. 455–6, 466). Later in the year Savage was one of the council of the Prince of Wales (Royal Let- ters, p. 69). Savage again represented Kent in the parliament which met in October 1402, though he did not serve as speaker. In the parliament of 1404 he was, on 15 Jan., for the second time presented as speaker. In spite of his long speeches, he was probably acceptable to the king, for he had attended councils during the previous year, and had been consulted by Henry shortly before the meeting of parliament as to the arrangement of business. Savage was one of the knights named by the commons in March to serve on the king's great and continual council (Rolls of Parliament, iii. 523, 530), and attended accordingly the first meeting of the council on 23 April (Proc. Privy Council, i. 222). His name continues to appear as one of the council in 1405 and 1406 (ib. i. 238, 244, 246, 295). He was one of the two persons nominated by the council for the king's choice as controller of his household on 8 Dec. 1406 (ib. i. 296). In May and September 1408 he was employed in the negotiations with France (Fœdera, viii. 585, 599). He died on 29 Nov. 1410, and was buried in the south chancel of Bobbing church, with Joane Eckingham, his wife. The St. Albans chronicler, in recording Savage's appointment as speaker in 1401, says that he managed the business of the commons with such prudence, tact, and eloquence as to win universal praise (Annales Henrici Quarti, p. 335). ‘Henry IV and Arnold Savage’ furnished Walter Savage Landor [q. v.] with the theme for one of his ‘Imaginary Conversations.’ Landor believed himself to be descended from Savage the speaker, and named his eldest son Arnold.

Savage had an only son, Sir Arnold Savage, who was knight of the shire for Kent in 1414, and died on 25 March 1420. He married Katherine (d. 1437), daughter of Roger, lord Scales, but left no issue. He and his wife were buried in the north chancel of Bobbing church. It is perhaps the third Sir Arnold Savage, and not his father, who was executor to the poet Gower. He was succeeded at Bobbing by his sister Eleanor, who had married (1) Sir Reginald Cobham, by whom she had no issue; and (2) William, son of Sir Lewis Clifford.

Savage's arms were argent six lioncels rampant sable, which are identical with the arms of the Savages of Rock Savage and Frodsham Castle, Cheshire. But though the families were probably related, there is no ground for supposing that the speaker's only son had any children.

[Otterbourne's Chron. p. 232; Historical Letters, Henry IV, p. 69 (Rolls Ser.); Nicolas's Proc. and Ordinances of the Privy Council; Hasted's History of Kent, vol. i. pp. lxxxv, cix–x, vol. iii. pp. 538, 635–6; Archæologia Cantiana, vi. 87; Return of Members of Parliament, i. 53–284; Stubbs's Constitutional History, iii. 29–31, 43–5; Wylie's Hist. of Henry IV, i. 169, 400–1, 410, ii. 428; Ramsay's Lancaster and York, i. 29, 69, 73, 98; Manning's Lives of the Speakers, pp. 29–32; The Savages of the Ards, by G. F. A[rmstrong], pp. 71–3.]

C. L. K.