The family legend of James Scott Savory
My Grandpa told me that James Scott Savory became a circuit Judge in southern India and ‘Company records’ state that by 1806 at the unbelievably young age of 27 James had become the Judge and Magistrate of Dharapooran, Coimbatore.
In the seven years, between the years of 1803 and 1810, James and his ‘native’ wife had four children. Their first three children were girls whose names were Jane (born1803), Sarah (born 1804) and Mary who we have no birth date for. The couple’s last child was a boy and he was born in 1810, they named him Thomas.
It was during the baptism of the three children Sarah, Mary, and Thomas in Black town, Madras on 7th Nov 1824 that Thomas’s name was changed; we assume his name was changed by mistake. He became Thomas Savory Scott. His surname was swapped with his middle name by the registrar and the name of Scott has stuck with the family for the next century or so.
Our family have no records of where James Scott Savory and his wife and four children lived for much of their life but what we do know is that some thing must have happened in the year 1817.
On the 28th Jan 1817 it is recorded that a senior merchant James Scott Savory departed India from Madras on board the ‘Atlas’ bound for England leaving his four children behind in India. We can only assume that he left the Children with their mother but why would he leave?
Our family are also are aware of a boy who was born in 1817 in the Mount road area of Madras. This boy was named James Scott Savory Richardson. Coincidently it is the Mount Road area of Madras where the Scott family lived in an enormous residence called Erindale build by the HEIC architect and superintendent of Government buildings James Stringer I (born 6th Jan 1731 Lea-Marston Warwickshire). Was this mystery boy anything to do with James and his sudden departure from India? Did James ‘have’ to leave India?
After James’s departure in India we have found records of his children being brought up by the Reverend James Ridsdale in Madras, but the Reverend James Ridsdale did not arrive in India until 1820, we can only assume that their mother must have lived with them until her death when they were left in the care of the church.
What is not disputed is that there is a record of James Scott Savory’s marrage that is listed in ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ and the ‘Asiatic Journal, just six months after James Scott Savory left India. He married Theodosia Yerworth on the 4th June 1817 in Southwark Surrey.
Not only does that make him a fast worker, but if he was married in India to a princess, does that make him a bigamist?
Just for the record, James had two children with Theodosia Yerworth but she died in childbirth in 1820. One year later at the age of 42, James married once more to Mary Anne Dark, a widow who was 16 years younger than he was. He then had 7 children with her. It’s not surprising that James never returned to India.
By Jason Scott Tilley and Sue Trosser.