Sir Henry Savile had a problem with his neighbours Thomas, Lord Darcy of Templehurst (Temple Newsam) and Sir Richard Tempest who was related to Lord Darcy. There is a litany of court cases between the two parties.
One ongoing feud was about the vicar of Halifax. A man who owed his position to Lewes Abbey which owned the Manor of Halifax and the incumbency. The man in question was Robert Holdesworth who was an ally of Sir Henry Savile. Because he was Savile’s man, Tempest seems to have worked against the vicar. Tempest had been responsible for ordering the arrest of Holdesworth and when he returned from London he even brought an injunction against Tempest not to burn his house. The modern world seems a long way away in Tudor Halifax. Tempest responded by saying that Holdesworth caused quarrels in the parish and, even worse, had falsified his tax returns (First Fruits and Tenths – the first year’s income from the position and a tenth thereafter). Tempest also suggested that Holdesworth was about to sell his lands and scarper. A petition was drawn up. One hundred or so signature were added and off it was sent to Cromwell. Tempest also accused Holdesworth of saying that if Henry reigned much longer then he would take everything that the Church owned….which smacked somewhat of treason.
Unsurprisingly Tempest had managed to land Holdesworth in rather a lot of bother. It got worse. Holdesworth had to go to York to answer the charges that had been levelled against him. During that time Tempest’s son-in-law John Lacy stole all the poor man’s cattle and anything else he could carry off. It’s ironic really that Holdesworth and Tempest should both, one way or another, have been against what Henry was doing to the church but the enmity between Tempest and Savile was so great that there was no meeting on the same ground for Savile’s supporter.
However, things were about to get even nastier.
Sir Richard, as the King’s steward of Wakefield, sent a message to Lord Darcy at the outbreak of the Pilgrimage of Grace that he would join him in Pontefract Castle but Darcy told him to remain in Wakefield. Initially it seemed that Sir Richard would take the Crown’s part in proceedings but the pilgrims were only ten miles from Wakefield and then Pontefract Castle fell. The Tempests swore to the pilgrim oath. Sir Richard is recorded in York as a pilgrim captain. His commitment to the whole proceeding was described by Cromwell as middling. His younger brother Sir Nicholas was much more involved and he was executed in May 1537 for his involvement with the rebellion. This does seem rather unfair as he was told that unless he signed up to the rebellion his son would be executed on the spot.
Sir Richard was caught in the same net as John Neville, Lord Latimer (Katherine Parr’s husband). Both men were ordered to London. John Neville managed to bribe his way to freedom although many writers note that his health suffered as a consequence. Sir Richard on the other hand found himself confined to the Fleet. He too approached Cromwell. He asked to be released fearing the dirt and disease of the prison. He probably had a point. He died on 25th August 1537 in the Fleet along way from the West Riding.
Almost as a matter of course Sir Henry Savile discovering that the Tempests were for the pilgrimage declared himself for the king and fled to Rotherham. It was an old feud that had been simmering whilst the two men took part in the war against the Scots under the Earl of Surrey as he was then (he turned into the Duke of Norfolk). Even Wolsey had been unable to resolve the situation. A personal disagreement meant that the Pilgrimage of Grace turned into an opportunity for violence between the two sets of neighbours.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Pilgrimage of Grace, Sir Henry Savile was on the up. He became the steward of Pontefract and from there was elected onto the Council of the North.
Dodds Madeline and Dodds Ruth (1916) The Pilgrimage of Grace 1536-1537 and the Exeter Conspiracy
TEMPEST, Sir Richard (c.1480-1537), of Bracewell and Bowling, Yorks. Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982 http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1509-1558/member/tempest-sir-richard-1480-1537
Halifax minster is full of history
It’s a beautiful place not least because of the choir stalls from Kirklees. One of my favourite memories is a candle lit Christingle service held there.