Halifax objected to the claim of James to the succession to the throne on account of his being under priestly influence. He thought William of Orange more likely to follow Charles, and with that idea invited the Prince to come over to England, The need for a definite settlement of the succession was emphasised by the King's illness in 1679.

Savile was created Earl of Halifax in the same year. About this time he temporarily withdrew from public life, and wrote to his brother: " Notwithstanding my passion for the town, I dream of the country, as men do of small beer when they are in a fever." At Christmas, 1680, he went down to Rufford, the old family home in Sherwood Forest, and sought peace of mind in the manner of Sir William Temple, by philosophic gardening. Before the end of May in the following year he again came forward into busy life, and for a short time occupied a position of great influence. In 1682 he was created Marquis of Halifax.

Macaulay remarks that from his talent as a politician and a writer, as well as the influence derived from his rank and position, Halifax was one of the leading men of his generation. When pecuniary corruption was found in high places, no charge of that nature was breathed against him. His conversation overflows with wit and fancy. His speeches are said to have been the delight of the House of Lords. He was at the head of that body known by the expressive name of trimmers, and took a pride in the name, for he despised the exaggerations of both parties. He exerted himself, though unavailingly, to save the lives of Lord Russell and Algernon Sidney. And when Halifax himself lost two of his sons, he received a touching letter of condolence from Rachel, Lady Russell.

Attempts were made by Louis XIV. to bribe Halifax, but in vain, and when he was found incorruptible, all the art and influence of the French embassy were employed to drive him from office; but his polished wit and his various accomplishments had made him so agreeable to his master, that the design failed.

Lord Preston, who was envoy at Paris, wrote thence to Halifax: " I find that your lordship lies still under the same misfortune of being no favourite to this Court: and Monsieur Barillon dare not do you the honour to shine upon you since his master frowneth, and be assured, my lord, if all their strength can send you to Rufford, it shall be employed to that end. Two things I hear they particularly object against you, your secrecy, and your being incapable of being corrupted. Against these two things I know they have declared."

His first wife died in 1670, and two years after he married Gertrude, youngest daughter of the Hon. William Pierrepont of Thoresby. Halifax died in 1695, and even in his death he was remarkable. A marriage had been arranged between Lord Eland, the only son of the Marquis, and Lady Mary Finch, the daughter of the Earl of Nottingham, which was to take place at the magnificent seat of the bride's father at Burley-on-the-hill. The wedding company was assembled, but Halifax was not present, being detained in London by indisposition, which was thought to be slight, and he refused to have the ceremony put off on his account. His illness, however, suddenly took an alarming turn, and he was told that he had not many hours to live. He received the information in a tranquil manner; and when it was proposed to send an express to summon his son, Halifax, good-natured to the last, refused to disturb the felicity of the day, and he died with the serenity of a philosopher and a Christian, while the wedding feast was progressing.1

Two manuscript copies of his memoirs were amongst his papers, both of which were destroyed—one by the Earl of Nottingham, and the other by his granddaughter, Lady Burlington. The witty Lord Chesterfield was his daughter's son.2 Halifax also left a natural son, Henry Carey, whose dramas, at the time of their production, drew crowded houses, and one at least of whose lively, clever songs is still popular all over the English-speaking world. Henry Carey's son, George Savile Carey, claimed that his father was also the author (though this has been disputed) of " God save the King," which was published anonymously in 1742, and first became popular in 1745, two years after Carey's death. From Henry Carey descended the great tragedian, Edmund Kean.

William Savile, second Marquis of Halifax, was born in 1665. From 1689 to 1695 he sat in Parliament for Newark, where he vigorously defended his father from attacks made upon his conduct. He died in 1700, and leaving no male issue, the title became extinct. The Savile baronetcy reverted to the descendants of Sir George, the first Baronet.

Sir George Savile, born in 1726, the eighth Baronet, and only son of Sir George Savile, F.R.S., of Rufford, was a politician who sat in the House of Commons for Yorkshire in the first Parliament of George the Second. He succeeded to his father's titles in 1743. On the occasion of the rebellion in 1745, he raised a company of fifty volunteers in three or four days, and was himself appointed captain. He was invited to take part in the Rockingham administration, but declined. In January, 1775, Savile asked permission of the House of Commons that Franklin might be heard at the bar in support of an address from the American Colonists, but the House refused even to receive the petition, by a majority of one hundred and fifty. On Burke bringing in a bill for composing the troubles in America in November, 1775, Savile gave him his active support. In 1778 he was the author of an Act for the relief of Roman Catholics from certain obsolete penalties, which passed without a division.

He made himself obnoxious to the Gordon rioters by promoting the Roman Catholic Relief Act, and as a consequence his house in Leicester Fields was burnt and plundered by the rioters. Burke records that for four nights he kept watch at Lord Rockingham's, or Sir George Savile's, whose houses were garrisoned by a strong body of soldiers.

He resigned his seat in November, 1783, on account of illness, and died in January, 1784, aged 57.

As a politician Savile was greatly respected; his character was unimpeachable, and he was a man of large fortune. He won the respect of all by his unbending integrity, and his unostentatious benevolence. Lord Rockingham relied greatly upon his judgment for guidance in political matters. He was refined, and distinguished even to excess; and illuminated with a most unbounded, peculiar, and original cast of imagination. Horace Walpole says: "Though his reason was sharp, his soul was candid, having none of the acrimony or vengeance of party."' A marble statue of Savile was erected in York Minster at a cost of £1,026. His bust in marble is also in the Mausoleum erected to the memory of the Marquis of (Rockingham, at Wentworth.

William Pitt writes to the Marquis of Rockingham in 1763: "A matter has opened which must make me very impatient to be able to learn your lordship's sentiments. ... I will in this critical situation venture to request you to be so good as to come immediately to town. May I add that I shall esteem it a great favour if your lordship could engage Sir George Savile to take the same journey, to whom I would write if I knew my letter would be sure to find him. Be assured, I shall think any plan highly defective in which a person of such honour and ability does not take a share. . . ."

In 1778 the Marquis of Rockingham writes to Sir George Savile:—

" Mr. Burke called upon me this morning and wished me to apply to you on behalf of his son, young Mr. Burke, who is now of Christ Church College, and of sufficiently long standing to be a candidate for a fellowship at Merton. I understand there are three vacancies, and possibly there may be four by August two years, which is the time of election. I remember having applied to you heretofore, and I think it secured the success of the candidate. Who the voters are I don't know, nor do I know that Mr. Burke knows at present, but be they who they may, the opinion is that Sir George Savile has great weight with many of them.

"Burke is as eager about it as if it was a much greater matter of emolument or honour for his son. In regard to the latter, I believe he thinks that your interesting yourself in his son's favour would secure that point, even though the attempt was unsuccessful." 3

In a letter from the Marquis to Sir George Savile, written about the same time as the last from Wentworth, something may be learnt of the habits of the aristocracy in the eighteenth century:—

"... I have not suffered in health by the fatigues of body or of mind. I have had a good quantity of Madeira. On Monday last I was very tolerably drunk by 5 o'clock, and though I went through a variety of ceremonies such as attending the assembly, supping and drinking with many companies. I walked home about four o'clock in the morning, after having kept myself in fact continually drunk or elevated for eleven hours. I had a very good night's rest, and was not at all the worse for it next day."4

Savile never married. The baronetcy became extinct at his death. He devised the Brierly estate in Yorkshire, and the whole of the Irish estates, to his niece Mrs. Foljambe, daughter and heir of his elder sister Arabella, who died in 1767. The bulk of his property in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire (including Rufford and Thornhill), he left to the Hon. Richard Lumley, a younger son of his sister Barbara, wife of Richard Lumley Saunderson, fourth Earl of Scarbrough who thereupon assumed the additional surname of Savile, and on his succeeding his elder brother as sixth Earl of Scarbrough in 1807, and in accordance with the shifting clause in the will, to the next brother, the Rev. Hon. John Lumley Savile, who became the seventh Earl in 1832, from whom Rufford has passed into the hands of the present owner.

In the village of Eakring, near Rufford, there lived for twenty-nine years the Rev. William Mompesson, who was vicar of Eyam in 1665-6 when the plague almost depopulated that place, and whose name is still held in veneration in Derbyshire. It was through his exhortation to the people, and his devotion to them, that the disease was confined to Eyam. On resigning his vicarage at Eyam in 1669, Mompesson was presented by his friend Sir George Savile (Marquis of Halifax) with the living of Eakring. Although three years had elapsed since the visitation of the plague at Eyam, the inhabitants of Eakring were so fearful of infection that Mompesson was refused admission to the village. A small house or hut was erected for him in the park at Rufford, where he lived until their fears were allayed. A certain place in the fields adjoining the village is still shown where for some time he was accustomed to preach under an ash-tree called the Pulpit Ash; and the tree having been blown down, the late Lord Savile erected a cross to mark the spot, also planting an ash-tree there about twenty years ago. Mompesson died in 1708, and was buried in the chancel of Eakring Church, where here is a tablet of brass to his memory.

It is stated in Harrod's History of Mansfield that Bilsthorpe Church, a short distance from Rufford, is the burial place of Dr. William Chappell, Bishop of Cork and Ross, in Ireland, He was a native of Mansfield, and received his early education in that town. He is said to have been a clever reasoner, and very notable disputant. He got the name of killing his respondent by this accident: " At the public opening commemoration ceremony at Cambridge, solemnised in the presence of King James the First, Dr. Chappell opposed the respondent so closely and subtilly that he, not being able to solve or answer his argument, fell into a swoon; so that the King to hold up the commencement undertook to maintain the thesis, which Dr. Chappell pressed so home, that the King thanked God the opponent was his subject, and not another's, lest he should lose his throne as well as the chair."

In the beginning of the rebellion of the seventeenth century the bishop came to reside in England. He died at Derby in 1649.

1 Macaulay's History of England ; Dictionary of National Biography.
2 By the marriage of Philip, third Earl of Chesterfield, with Savile's daughter by his second wife, Lady Gertrude Pierrepont, they had issue Philip Dormer, afterwards fourth Earl of Chesterfield, one of the most clever men of his generation. His early years were passed under the care of his maternal grandmother, probably at Rufford.
3 Osberton MSS.
4 Historical Manuscripts Commission: Letters in collection of F. J. Savile Foljambe, Esq.