SAVAGE, Richard, Visct. Colchester (c.1654-1712), of Wardley, Lancs. and Ealing Grove, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1690 - 14 Sept. 1694

Family and Education

b. c.1654, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Thomas, 3rd Earl Rivers, by 1st w. Lady Elizabeth Scrope, illegit. da. and coh. of Emmanuel, 1st Earl of Sunderland. m. (1) 21 Aug. 1679, Penelope, da. and h. of Roger Downes of Wardley, 1da.; (2) lic. 28 Jan. 1688, aged 34, Margaret, da. and coh. of Sir Richard Stydolph, 1st Bt., of Norbury, Mickleham, Surr., wid. of Thomas Tryon of Bulwick, Northants., s.p.; 1s. 2da. illegit. suc. fa. as 4th Earl Rivers 14 Sept. 1694.

Offices Held

Capt. R. English Regt. [I] 1672, Duke of Buckingham’s Ft. 1673; lt.-col. 4 Horse Gds. 1686-Nov. 1688; col. 3 Dgn. Gds. Dec. 1688-92, 3 Horse Gds. 1692-1703, R. Horse Gds. 1712-d.; maj.-gen. 1693; lt.-gen. 1697; constable of the Tower 1710-d.; gen. 1712.1

Col. of militia ft. Cheshire 1680-?1701; j.p. Lancs. 1687-Apr. 1688, 1689-d.; commr. for assessment, Cheshire and Lancs. 1689-90; 1689 dep. lt. Cheshire 1689-95, custos rot. 1695-1704; ld. lt. Cheshire 1695-1704, Lancs. 1701-2, Essex 1705-d.; constable, Liverpool Castle 1701-d.; v.-adm. Lancs. 1702-d., Essex 1705-d.2

PC 25 Nov. 1708; envoy to Hanover 1710-11; master-gen. of the ordnance 1712-d.


Savage’s ancestors were established in Cheshire early in the 14th century, first representing the county in 1586, and acquiring a peerage in 1621. The second Earl Rivers, a royalist colonel, was imprisoned for debt during the Interregnum. The third earl, a court peer during the Cavalier Parliament, went over to the Opposition, and voted for exclusion in 1680. Savage was ‘one of the greatest rakes in England in his younger days, but always a lover of his country’. As a younger son, he sought a career in the army, and was twice obliged to seek pardon for violent affrays during the third Dutch war. On his elder brother’s death about 1680 he assumed the courtesy title of Viscount Colchester, and was returned for Wigan in 1681, doubtless on the interest of the Earl of Derby, who also appointed him colonel of the Cheshire militia. He left no trace on the records of the Oxford Parliament, but he was clearly a Whig, accompanying the Duke of Monmouth during his progresses in the northwest and entertaining him at Wardley. In 1685 he gave his interest at Wigan to Derby’s nephew, the Tory Lord Charles Murray, no doubt in exchange for a pledge of support at Preston, which Derby’s local henchmen refused to honour.3

Colchester volunteered for service against Monmouth’s rising in the summer. His temporary reconciliation with the Court was completed by his father’s second marriage to the daughter of the Earl of Lindsey (Robert Bertie I) in the following year. He was given a commission as second-in-command of a guards regiment, and appointed a Lancashire j.p. But he presided over the Rose Tavern club of disaffected officers, and was among the earliest to go over to William of Orange, reaching Exeter in the company of Henry Wharton and Charles Godfrey. Although he opposed the withdrawal of James II’s writs, he was duly returned to the Convention for Liverpool. He was appointed to the committee of elections and privileges, and on 28 Jan. moved for an immediate report from grand committee that the throne was vacant. He was among those ordered to bring in a list of the essentials for securing religion, law and liberty. On 12 Feb. 1689 he carried to the Lords the amended proclamation of the new reign. During the summer he was on service with his regiment at the siege of Edinburgh Castle. On 19 July he was sent to the Lords to desire a conference on the declaration of rights. After the recess he was added to the committee for the mutiny bill and helped to consider the bill for restoring corporations. He supported the disabling clause, for which he twice acted as teller. In all, he was named to eight committees.4

Colchester continued to sit for Liverpool as a court Whig until he succeeded to the peerage. William refused him a place in his bedchamber, but he had a distinguished military career in Flanders and the Peninsula. He died at Ealing on 18 Aug. 1712 and was buried with his ancestors at Macclesfield. He ‘left legacies to about twenty paltry old whores by name’, but the estate was inherited by a second cousin, a Roman Catholic priest, ‘whom he used in his life like a footman’.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Irene Cassidy


  • 1. CSP Dom. 1672-3, p. 9; 1673, p. 146; 1673-5, p. 184; 1686-7, p. 140; 1691-2, p. 108; 1703-4, p. 271.
  • 2. HMC Le Fleming, 202; CSP Dom. 1694-5, p. 417; 1700-2, p. 451; 1702-3, pp. 31-32, 434; Ind. 24557; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 276.
  • 3. HMC Var. ii. 119; HMC 10th Rep. IV, 372; CSP Dom. 1670, p. 626; 1673-5, pp. 457, 481; 1680-1, p. 488; 1682, p. 383; Jan.-June 1683, p. 367; Cal. Treas. Bks. iv. 650; Bulstrode Pprs. 267; HMC 7th Rep. 533; Rylands Lib., Colchester to Legh, 14 Feb. 1685; HMC Kenyon, 179.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1685, p. 437; HMC 7th Rep. 226; J. R. Jones, Revolution of 1688, 230; Clarendon Corresp. ii. 221; HMC Popham, 268-9; Hardwick SP, i. 411; CJ, x. 323, 329.
  • 5. Foxcroft, Halifax, ii. 237.