Diligently served his flock
When following the footpath that meanders through St Margaret`s churchyard, pause for a while in this peaceful place, and at a point immediately south of the church, you will discover the tombstone of William Savage, Vicar of Rottingdean 1569 -1619. He was a well known Puritan minister, a man of peace and the poor people’s friend. He was a faithful servant of the church who for many years, and in times of great unrest, diligently served his flock in Rottingdean. Savage was held in high esteem by the Bishop of Chichester who bestowed upon him one other benefice; he was instituted as Rector of Ovingdean.
Prayed for deliverance
Savage was still Vicar of Rottingdean when in 1588 Phillip II of Spain, a devout Roman Catholic, made an audacious attempt to invade England to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and her Protestant regime. Local lore suggests that as Phillip`s Armada sailed up the English Channel, a thin sea mist eerily descended on Rottingdean. At that time the good Vicar conducted his flock to the cliff edge and there prayed that the peril to England’s shores might be averted. As history shows, Spain`s attempt to invade England badly miscarried; I am sure the good folk of Rottingdean rejoiced in having their prayers answered.
Died September 1619
The Revd William Savage died on Saturday 14th of September 1619 aged 69 years. In his will he gave to the poorest people of Rottingdean the sum of ten shillings. His tomb inscription reads:
GREAT AARONS ONE OF YE LEVITS TRAINE LIES HERE
WITH COMFORT FOR TO RISE AGAINE
A MAN OF PEACE
THE POORER PEOPLES FRIENDE.
A FAITHFUL ABRAHAM
LIVD AND MADE AN ENDE
SEP 14 ANNO 1619
VICAR OF THIS PLACE
PARSON OF OVINGDEN