William Savage – Vicar Of Rottingdean 1569 – 1619

The Poorer Peoples Friend

When following the footpath that meanders through St Margaret’s Churchyard pause for a while in this peaceful place, and at a point immediately south of the Church, you will discover the tombstone of William Savage, Vicar of Rottingdean 1569 -1619.

He was a well – known Puritan Minister a man of peace and the poorer people’s friend a faithful servant who for many years and in times of great unrest diligently served his flock in Rottingdean. Savage was held in high esteem by the Bishop of Chichester who bestowed upon him one other benefice; he was instituted as Rector of Ovingden in December 1570. Very little is known about his wife or her name. However, the Rottingdean parish registers show that he baptised no less than ten children between December 1573 and April 1592. Three of these children died in infancy.

William Savage made his will August 10th 1618, describing himself as in reasonable health’ and bequeathing his ‘soul to Almighty god my maker’

In his will he gave to the poorest people of Rottingdean the sum of ten shillings.

William Savage died on Saturday 4th of September 1619 aged 69 years.


William Savage’s Grave

William-Savage-GraveThe ravages of time have rendered the inscriptions on William Savages’s Tombstone barely readable. (They are recreated below)

GREAT.AARONS. ONE.OF.YE LEVITS. TRAINE. LIES . HERE . WITH . COMFORT . FOR . TO .
RISE. AGAINE. A . MAN . OF . PEACE .
THE. POORER . PEO.
PLES. FRIENDE.
A . FAITHFUL . ABRA .
HAM . LIVD . AND MADE.AN.ENDE SEP. 14 . ANNO . 1619 .
WI. SAVAGE .
VICAR .
OF. THIS. PLACE
PARSON . OF . OVING . DEN.


William Savage And The Spanish Armada

In 1588 Phillip II of Spain, a devout Roman Catholic, made an audacious attempt to invade England to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her Protestant regime thus ending her privateering in the Atlantic and Pacific ocean’s and England’s involvement in the Spanish Netherlands (Spanish-held provinces located in the southern part of the low countries, roughly corresponding to present day Belgium and Luxembourg)

It is said that as Phillip’s Armada sailed up the English Channel, a thin sea mist eerily descended on Rottingdean, the good Vicar conducted his flock to the cliff edge and there prayed that the peril to our shores might be averted.

Spain’s attempt to invade England badly miscarried partly because of Phillip’s mismanagement, and partly because of the defensive efforts of the English and their Dutch allies. Subsequently the Armada suffered a decisive defeat and accomplished nothing.

I am sure the good folk of Rottingdean rejoiced in having their prayers answered.

William-Savage-Spanish-Armada

Chris Wrapson November 2013