Thomas Savage (Shakespeare's trustee)

Last updated

Thomas Savage
Died 1611
Spouse(s) two wives, one named Alice


Richard Savage
four other children
Father Jeffry or Geoffrey Savage
Mother Jenett or Janet Hesketh

Thomas Savage (c.1552–1611) of Rufford, Lancashire, was a member of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and one of the ten seacoal-meters in London. Together with William Leveson, he was one of two trustees used by the original shareholders of the Globe Theatre in the allocation of their shares in 1599. He was an associate of the actor and editor of the First Folio, John Heminges, and of John Jackson, both of whom were Shakespeare's trustees in the purchase of the Blackfriars Gatehouse. Savage amassed a considerable fortune, at the time of his death owning five houses in London and an inn called the George.

Rufford, Lancashire village in West Lancashire, England

Rufford is a village in West Lancashire, England, where the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, Liverpool, Ormskirk and Preston Railway, the A59 and the River Douglas meet.

Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths is one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London. The company's headquarters are at Goldsmiths' Hall in the City of London.

Coal A combustible sedimentary rock composed primarily of carbon

Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock, formed as rock strata called coal seams. Coal is mostly carbon with variable amounts of other elements; chiefly hydrogen, sulfur, oxygen, and nitrogen. Coal is formed if dead plant matter decays into peat and over millions of years the heat and pressure of deep burial converts the peat into coal.



Thomas Savage, born about 1552 in Rufford, Lancashire, [1] was the son of Jeffry or Geoffrey Savage and Jenett or Janet Hesketh, who according to the parish register were married in the church at Croston on 9 August 1551. [2] Savage may have had a younger brother, Peter Savage, and had at least one sister, [3] as well as a female cousin, the widow of Thomas Hesketh of Rufford. [1]

Croston village and civil parish in Lancashire, England

Croston is a village and civil parish in Lancashire, England between Chorley and Southport and is next to the River Yarrow. St. Michael's and All Angels' Church is at the centre of the village. The population of the civil parish at the 2011 census was 2,917. At the end of Church Street there is a stone cross which was erected in 1953. There is a 15th century cobbled pack horse bridge which crosses the River Yarrow. The village green is used as a venue for the annual May Day Madness, Bastille Day celebrations and Christmas Fair.


At some time Savage moved to London, where he lived from about 1580 until his death in 1611 in the parish of St Albans Wood Street. [1] At an unknown date he gained admission to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. The Company records are missing for the date of his admission; however surviving Company records indicate that he took on nine apprentices from the 1580s until his death, and that his son, Richard, was taken on as an apprentice in 1601. [2] According to Hotson, however, he 'no doubt gained most of his income from his office as one of the ten seacoal-meters of London' [4] officials appointed to measure coal brought into the port of London by sea. [5] According to Hotson, he was a 'man of substance', [1] and Honigmann notes that, 'starting with nothing', he 'amassed a very considerable fortune'. [6] At the time of his death Savage owned at least five houses in the City of London, one of which was occupied by the actor and editor of the First Folio, John Heminges (bap. 1566, d.1630), also one of London's seacoal-meters, [5] from whom Savage had purchased it. [1] Another of the houses owned by Savage was in the parish of St Olave Silver Street; [7] Hotson notes that William Shakespeare lodged for a time in Silver Street at the house of the London tire-maker (head-dress-maker) [8] Christopher Mountjoy. [1] After Savage's death, his son, Richard, sold the latter house to John Heminges. [1] Savage also owned an inn called the George in the parish of St Sepulchre, London. [9]

<i>First Folio</i> 1623 collection of William Shakespeares plays

Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies is the 1623 published collection of William Shakespeare's plays. Modern scholars commonly refer to it as the First Folio. It is considered one of the most influential books ever published in the English language.

John Heminges was an actor in the King's Men, the playing company for which William Shakespeare wrote. Along with Henry Condell, he was an editor of the First Folio, the collected plays of Shakespeare, published in 1623. He was also the financial manager for the King's Men.

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St Olave, Silver Street was a church on the south side of Silver Street, off Wood Street in the Aldersgate ward of the City of London. It was dedicated to St Olaf, a Norwegian Christian ally of the English king Ethelred II. The church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and not rebuilt.

In 1599 Savage, together with William Leveson, was one of two trustees used by William Kempe, Thomas Pope (d.1603), Augustine Phillips (d.1605), John Heminges and William Shakespeare to allocate shareholdings in the Globe Theatre.

William Leveson was a member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers and of the Company of Merchant Adventurers. Together with Thomas Savage, he was one of the trustees used by the original shareholders of the Globe Theatre in the allocation of their shares in 1599. Later, Leveson was involved in the suppression of the Essex rebellion on 8 February 1601. In 1613 he was sued by the Virginia Company.

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William Kempe, commonly referred to as Will Kemp, was an English actor and dancer specialising in comic roles and best known for having been one of the original players in early dramas by William Shakespeare. Roles associated with his name may include the great comic creation, Falstaff, and his contemporaries considered him the successor to the great clown of the previous generation, Richard Tarlton.

Thomas Pope English politician and founder of Trinity College, Oxford

Sir Thomas Pope, was a prominent public servant in mid-16th-century England, a Member of Parliament, a wealthy landowner, and the founder of Trinity College, Oxford.

Savage was a friend of John Jackson (c.1574–1625) gentleman, of Kingston upon Hull and London, whom Heminges had taken as his deputy in the office of seacoal-meter soon after December 1608. [10] [11] Both Jackson and Heminges were later Shakespeare's trustees in the purchase of the Blackfriars Gatehouse in March 1613. [12] In his will Savage appointed his 'very loving friend, John Jackson', as overseer. [13]

Kingston upon Hull City and Unitary authority in England

Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea, with a population of 260,700 (mid-2017 est.). Hull is 154 miles (248 km) north of London, 50 miles (80 km) east of Leeds, 34 miles (55 km) east southeast of York and 67 miles (108 km) northeast of Sheffield.

William Shakespeare English playwright and poet

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Savage made his last will on 3 October 1611, [1] leaving, among other bequests, £10 to his mother, Janet, [9] a silver spout pot and £8 for a dinner to his fellow members of the Goldsmiths' Company, and forty shillings to the poor of his birthplace, Rufford, in the parish of Croston. [4] According to Honigmann, the opening lines of Savage's will suggest that he held strong religious convictions, and his bequests to the parson and churchwardens of his parish of St Albans, Wood Street were 'unusually generous'. [9] The will was proved 26 October 1611. [14]

Marriages and issue

Savage married two wives and had five children. [15] One of his wives, Alice, had four children by her own two previous marriages, as revealed in a bill of complaint dated 10 September 1605. [9] According to Honigmann, the maiden name of one of Savage's wives may have been Wotton, as in his will he mentions 'my mother-in-law, Mrs Wootton' as well as a 'Mr John Wotton, gentleman', now resident in one of his houses in London. [9]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Hotson 1949 , p. 127.
  2. 1 2 Honigmann 1998 , p. 85.
  3. Honigmann 1998 , pp. 85–6.
  4. 1 2 Hotson 1949 , pp. 126–7.
  5. 1 2 Corrigan 2004 , p. 71.
  6. Honigmann 1998 , p. 87.
  7. Edmond 2004.
  8. Oxford English Dictionary Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Honigmann 1998 , p. 86.
  10. Kathman 2004 , p. 7.
  11. Heminges was admitted as one of London's ten seacoal-meters on 13 December 1608; Kathman 2004 , p. 7.
  12. Hotson 1949 , pp. 126, 132–4; Kathman 2004 , p. 7.
  13. Hotson 1949 , p. 134.
  14. Will of Thomas Savage, goldsmith of London, proved 26 October 1611, National Archives Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  15. Honigmann 1998 , pp. 86–7.

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