Leading landowner Lord Savile dies, 89
Jun 4 2008 by Andrew Hirst, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
ONE of Yorkshire’s largest landowners has died aged 89.
Lord Savile died on Monday afternoon from natural causes at Gryce Hall, his Elizabethan manor home in Kirkburton.
A bachelor, his full name was George Halifax Lumley-Savile, 3rd Baron of Rufford. He served with the army in Burma during World War II.
A devout Christian, Lord Savile was patron of St Michael’s Church at Emley, where he worshipped for more than 60 years.
He was also patron of Emley Show and Whitley Lower Parish Church.
He was a magistrate in Dewsbury for many years.
Show president Michael Hull said: “Lord Savile was a good Christian gentleman who always knew what was the right thing to do on every occasion. He was even planning his 90th birthday.’’
Lord Savile had become increasingly frail in recent times and was looked after by staff at the hall.
His younger brother, Henry, died a few years ago and Lord Savile’s heir is his nephew, John Anthony Thornhill Lumley-Savile, who lives in Cornwall.
He said: “My uncle was a real gentleman and could have written the book on etiquette.
“He sat in the House of Lords for 60s years – often into the early hours – and loved every moment of it.
“He passionately believed in his duty to serve both his country and his monarch.
“He was a man of great faith and will be sadly missed.’’
Mr Lumley-Savile has already spent a lot of time helping to manage the Yorkshire estate which includes tenant farms and cottages and will now spend more time here.
Lord Savile was a former president of the Country Landowners’ Association and former chairman of the St John Council of South and West Yorkshire which is responsible for raising the money needed by St John Ambulance.
He was a member of the Wakefield Diocesan Synod for almost 40 years.
The Savile family’s history in this area stretches back to the 1370s.
The family estates cover thousands of acres and include moorland surrounding Hardcastle Crags and Hebden Bridge.
Other land owned by the family is in Emley, Thornhill and Hanging Heaton.
The family prospered in medieval times. Their base then was Thornhill Hall which became one of the last Royalist strongholds to fight against Cromwell in July 1648.
But the hall was destroyed after the battle and the family moved to Rufford Abbey in Nottingham which became the family seat for generations before it was sold in 1938.
Born in 1917, Lord Savile joined the Army in 1939 and started with the 4th Battalion the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. He insisted on joining as a gunner even though his father had been honorary colonel.
Lord Savile was later commissioned into the regiment guarding beach defences in Cornwall in 1940 and 1941 and went to Burma with the1st Bn Lincolnshire Regiment.
He was a lifelong member of the Burma Star Association.
After the war he bought Gryce Hall in Kirkburton in 1947.
There will be a private family cremation for Lord Savile on June 16. On July 17 there will be a Service Of Thanksgiving at Thornhill Parish Church, Church Lane, Thornhill, at 11am.
Books of condolence have been opened there and at St Michael’s Church, Emley, and the Savile estate office at The Town, Thornhill, Dewsbury.