William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings

William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings KG (c. 1431 – June 1483) was an English nobleman. A loyal follower of the House of York during the Wars of the Roses, he became a close friend and one of the most important courtiers of King Edward IV, whom he served as Lord Chamberlain. At the time of Edward's death he was one of the most powerful and richest men in England. He was executed following accusations of treason by Edward's brother and ultimate successor, Richard III. The date of his death is disputed; early histories argued for a hasty execution on 13 June, while Clements R. Markham argues that he was executed one week after his arrest on 20 June 1483, and after a trial.[2]

The Right Honourable
The Lord Hastings
Coat of Arms of Sir William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, KG
Arms of William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, KG
Died13 June 1483 (date disputed)[1]
Tower of London
Noble familyHastings
Spouse(s)Katherine Neville
Edward Hastings, 2nd Baron Hastings
Sir William Hastings
Sir Richard Hastings
George Hastings
Anne Hastings, Countess of Shrewsbury
Elizabeth Hastings
FatherSir Leonard Hastings
MotherAlice Camoys
William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings.jpeg
Manticore badge of William, Lord Hastings, c.1470.


Signature Lord Wm Hastings
Signature of William Lord Hastings

William Hastings, born about 1431, was the eldest son of Sir Leonard Hastings (c. 1396 – 20 October 1455), and his wife Alice Camoys, daughter of Thomas de Camoys, 1st Baron Camoys.[3][4][a] Hastings succeeded his father in service to the House of York and through this service became close to his distant cousin the future Edward IV, whom he was to serve loyally all his life. He was High Sheriff of Warwickshire and High Sheriff of Leicestershire in 1455.

He fought alongside Edward at the Battle of Mortimer's Cross and was present at the proclamation of Edward as king in London on 4 March 1461 and then when the new king secured his crown at the Battle of Towton shortly thereafter. He was knighted on the field of battle. With the establishment of the Yorkist regime, Hastings became one of the key figures in the realm, most importantly as Master of the Mint and Lord Chamberlain, an office he held for the duration of the reign and which made him one of the most important means of access to the king. He was also created Baron Hastings, a title reinforced by grants of land and office, primarily in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. In 1462 he was invested as a Knight of the Garter.

In 1474, he was awarded royal licence to crenellate at three of his landholdings in Leicestershire; at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Kirby Muxloe, and at Bagworth. He built extensively at Ashby, mostly making additions to the pre-existing manor house built by the de la Zouch family in the thirteenth century. His greatest achievement at Ashby was the Hastings Tower. At Kirby Muxloe Castle he began an intricate fortified house of red brick, one of the first of its kind in the county. Thanks to English Heritage, the castles at Ashby and Kirby can still be seen, but nothing survives to indicate any construction at Bagworth.

His importance in these years is recorded in a number of sources and was recognised by the greatest peer in the realm, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. In 1462, Warwick arranged for Hastings to marry his widowed sister, Katherine Neville. (Katherine's first husband, Lord Bonville, had been killed at St Albans in 1461 and their infant daughter, Cecily, succeeded to the Bonville titles and estates.)[14][15][16]

Despite this matrimonial relationship with the Nevilles, when Warwick drove Edward IV into exile in 1470, Hastings went with Edward and accompanied the king back the following spring. Hastings raised troops for Edward in the English Midlands and served as one of the leading captains of the Yorkist forces at both Barnet and Tewkesbury.

His service, loyalty and ability, along with the fall of his Neville in-laws, made Hastings even more important during the second half of Edward IV's reign. He continued to serve as Chamberlain and was awarded the position of Chamberlain of the Exchequer in 1471, which he held until 1483. He was also appointed Lieutenant of Calais, which made him an important player in foreign affairs, and given authority over an increasingly large section of the English Midlands. At court, he was involved in two lengthy feuds with members of Queen Elizabeth Woodville's family, most notably with her son Thomas Grey, first Marquess of Dorset.


After the death of Edward IV on 9 April 1483, the Dowager Queen appointed family members to key positions and rushed to expedite the coronation of her young son Edward V as king, circumventing Richard, Duke of Gloucester, whom the late king had appointed Lord Protector. Hastings, who had long been friendly with Richard and hostile to the Woodvilles, was a key figure in checking these manoeuvres. While keeping the Woodvilles in check in London, Hastings informed Richard of their proceedings and asked him to hasten to London. Richard intercepted the young king, who was on his way to London, with his Woodville relatives. Hastings then supported Richard's formal installation as Lord Protector and collaborated with him in the royal council.

Affairs changed dramatically on 13 June 1483 during a council meeting at the Tower of London: Richard, supported by the Duke of Buckingham, accused Hastings and two other council members of having committed treason by conspiring against his life with the Woodvilles, with Hastings's mistress Jane Shore (formerly also mistress to Edward IV and possibly Dorset), acting as a go-between. While the other alleged conspirators were imprisoned, Hastings was beheaded. The timing of his execution is disputed.

The summary execution of the popular Hastings was controversial among contemporaries and has been interpreted differently by historians and other authors. The traditional account, harking back to authors of the Tudor period, including William Shakespeare, considered the conspiracy charge invented and merely a convenient excuse to remove Hastings, who was known for his loyalty to the dead king and his heirs, as while he remained alive he would have been too formidable an obstacle to Richard's own plans to seize the throne.[17] Others have been more open to the possibility of such a conspiracy and that Richard merely reacted to secure his position.[18]

Despite the accusations of treason, Richard did not issue an attainder against Hastings and his family. Hence, his wife and sons were allowed to inherit his lands and properties. Hastings was buried in the north aisle of St George's Chapel, Windsor, next to Edward IV.[19]

In literature

He is portrayed in two of Shakespeare's plays: Henry VI, Part 3 and Richard III.


Hastings married, before 6 February 1462,[19] Katherine Neville, sister of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, known as "Warwick the Kingmaker," and widow of William Bonville, 6th Baron Harington, slain at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460, by whom he had had four sons and two daughters:[14][15][16]


  1. ^ Sir Leonard Hastings (c.1396 – 20 October 1455) was a member of the English gentry who moved his seat to Leicestershire from Yorkshire where the family had long been established. His wife was Alice Camoys, daughter of Thomas de Camoys, 1st Baron Camoys, and his first wife, Elizabeth Louches, the daughter and heiress of William Louches.[3][4] Sir Leonard Hastings had three other sons and three daughters:[4][5][6]
  1. '^ By Clements R. Markham, Richard III, p. 214 to 216.
  2. '^ Clements R. Markham Richard III, pp. 214-216.
  3. ^ a b Richardson I 2011, pp. 398–9.
  4. ^ a b c Richardson II 2011, pp. 369–71.
  5. ^ Richardson IV 2011, pp. 306–7.
  6. ^ Acheson 1992, p. 234.
  7. ^ a b c d Richardson II 2011, p. 369.
  8. ^ Richardson IV 2011, pp. 307–8.
  9. ^ Burke 1831, p. 562.
  10. ^ Cokayne 1959, p. 447.
  11. ^ Cokayne 1959, p. 668.
  12. ^ Nicolas 1836, p. 421.
  13. ^ Richardson II 2011, p. 370.
  14. ^ a b Horrox 2004.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Richardson II 2011, p. 371.
  16. ^ a b Nicolas 1826, pp. 368–75.
  17. ^ For instance, Alison Weir, The Princes in the Tower, London: Random House, 1992.
  18. ^ For instance, Paul Murray Kendall, Richard III.
  19. ^ a b Cokayne 1926, p. 373.
  20. ^ Richardson II 2011, pp. 371–2.
  21. ^ Cokayne 1926, p. 374.
  22. ^ Nicolas 1826, p. 373.


  • Acheson, Eric (1992). A Gentry Community; Leicestershire in the Fifteenth Century, c.1422-c.1485. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  • Burke, John (1831). A General and Heraldic Dictionary of the Peerages of England, Ireland and Scotland, Extinct, Dormant and in Abeyance. London: Henry Colburn. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1926). The Complete Peerage, edited by Vicary Gibbs. VI. London: St. Catherine Press.
  • Cokayne, George Edward (1959). The Complete Peerage, edited by Geoffrey H. White. XII, Part II. London: St. Catherine Press.
  • Horrox, Rosemary (2004). "Hastings, William, first Baron Hastings (c.1430–1483)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12588. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  • Nicolas, Nicholas Harris (1826). Testamenta Vetusta. I. London: Nicholas and Son. pp. 368–75. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  • Nicolas, Nicholas Harris (1836). Testamenta Vetusta. II. London: Nicholas and Son. p. 421. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. I (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1-4499-6637-3.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. II (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1-4499-6638-1.
  • Richardson, Douglas (2011). Everingham, Kimball G., ed. Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families. IV (2nd ed.). Salt Lake City. ISBN 1-4609-9270-9.

Further reading

  • Carpenter, Christine. The Wars of the Roses (Cambridge, 1997)
  • Dunham, William Huse. Lord Hastings' indentured retainers, 1461–1483 (New Haven, 1955)
  • Hancock, Peter A. – Richard III and the Murder in the Tower (2009)
  • Horrox, Rosemary. Richard III : a study of service (Cambridge, 1989)
  • Kendall, Paul Murray, Richard III, London, Allen & Unwin (1955)
  • Ross, Charles. Edward IV (Berkeley, 1974)
  • Ross, Charles. Richard III (1981)
  • Seward, Desmond. A Brief History of the Wars of the Roses (Robinson, 1995)
  • Wolffe, B.P. (1974-10-01). "When and why did Hastings lose his head?". The English Historical Review. 89 (353): 835–844. doi:10.1093/ehr/LXXXIX.CCCLIII.835. JSTOR 566401.
Peerage of England
New title Baron Hastings
Succeeded by
Edward Hastings
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Salisbury
Lord Chamberlain
Vacant Lord Chamberlain
Succeeded by
The Viscount Lovell

Year 1431 (MCDXXXI) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

1480s in England

Events from the 1480s in England. This decade marks the beginning of the Tudor period.


Year 1483 (MCDLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar).

Anne Hastings, Countess of Shrewsbury

Anne Hastings, Countess of Shrewsbury (c. 1471–1520) was an English noblewoman who served as a lady-in-waiting to Queen consort Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII of England. Anne was the first wife of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, by whom she had 11 children. Her uterine half-sister was Cecily Bonville, Baroness Harington and Bonville, the wealthiest heiress in late 15th-century England.

Anne was also the Baroness Furnivall, as her husband held the title of 9th Baron Furnivall.

Baron Botreaux

Baron Botreaux (pronounced "But'ry") is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created by writ of summons in 1368 by Edward III for William de Botreaux, 1st Baron Botreaux.

In 1462, Margaret de Botreaux, 4th Baroness Botreaux, the 3rd Baron's daughter, inherited the title. She outlived both her son and grandson, so the title passed on her death to her great-granddaughter Mary Hungerford, as 5th Baroness Botreaux. Mary Hungerford married William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings in about 1478, and their son George was created Earl of Huntingdon in 1529.

From the death of the 5th Baroness in around 1532, the title remained with the Earls of Huntingdon for 214 years. In 1746 the 9th Earl of Huntingdon died and it passed to his daughter, Elizabeth Rawdon as 16th Baroness Botreaux. Elizabeth Rawdon married John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira, and their son Francis was created Marquess of Hastings in 1817.

From the death of the 16th Baroness in 1808, the title remained with the Marquesses of Hastings until 1844, when it became abeyant on the death of the 4th Marquess. The abeyance was then terminated in favour of the 4th Marquess's sister Edith (who had already gained the title of 10th Countess of Loudoun through her father's death). On her death in 1874, the title passed to Edith's son, the 11th Earl of Loudoun and, as he was childless, it then passed to his niece Edith, the 12th Countess. On the 12th Countess's death in 1960, the title fell into abeyance between her daughters.

Edward Hastings, 2nd Baron Hastings

Edward Hastings, 2nd Baron Hastings, KB PC (26 November 1466 – 8 November 1506) was an English peer.

Elizabeth Trussell, Countess of Oxford

Elizabeth de Vere (née Trussell), Countess of Oxford (1496 – before July 1527) was an English noblewoman. As a young child she became a royal ward. She married John de Vere, 15th Earl of Oxford, and by him was mother of the 16th Earl and grandmother of Sir Francis and Sir Horace Vere, the 'fighting Veres'.

Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury

Sir Francis Talbot, 5th Earl of Shrewsbury, 5th Earl of Waterford, 11th Baron Talbot, KG (1500 – 25 September 1560) was the son of George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury, and Anne Hastings. He also held the subsidiary titles of 14th Baron Strange of Blackmere and 10th Baron Furnivall.

Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland

Henry Clifford, 1st Earl of Cumberland KG (1493 – 22 April 1542) was a member of the Clifford family which was seated at Skipton Castle, Yorkshire from 1310 to 1676. He was a close friend of King Henry VIII.

Jane Shore

Elizabeth "Jane" Shore (née Lambert) (c.1445 – c.1527) was one of the many mistresses of King Edward IV of England, one of three whom he described as "the merriest, the wiliest, and the holiest harlots" in his realm. She also became a concubine to other noblemen, including Edward's stepson, Thomas Grey, 1st Marquess of Dorset, and William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, his close friend and adviser.

Katherine Neville, Baroness Hastings

Katherine Neville, Baroness Hastings (1442 – between January and 25 March 1504), was a noblewoman and a member of the powerful Neville family of northern England. She was one of the six daughters of Richard Neville, 5th Earl of Salisbury, and the sister of military commander Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, known to history as Warwick the Kingmaker.

She was married twice. By her first husband William Bonville, 6th Baron Harington of Aldingham, she was the mother of Cecily Bonville, who became the wealthiest heiress in England following the deaths in the Battle of Wakefield of Katherine's husband, her father-in-law; and less than two months later, of William Bonville's grandfather, William Bonville, 1st Baron Bonville who was executed following the Yorkist defeat at the Second Battle of St Albans. Katherine's second husband was William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings, a powerful noble who was beheaded in 1483 on the order of King Richard III, who placed Katherine directly under his protection.

Mary Hungerford

Mary Hungerford (c.1468 – before 10 July 1533) was the daughter of Sir Thomas Hungerford and Anne, daughter of Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland.

Ralph Hastings (died 1495)

Sir Ralph Hastings (died 1495), third son of Sir Leonard Hastings, was a supporter of the House of York during the Wars of the Roses. He fought at the Battle of Barnet, and was knighted at the Battle of Tewkesbury. He held numerous offices during the reign of Edward IV, including Keeper of the Lions and Leopards in the Tower of London, and Lieutenant of Guisnes and Captain of Calais.

Richard Hastings, Baron Welles

Sir Richard Hastings, Baron Welles (died 1503), was the son of Sir Leonard Hastings and a younger brother of William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings. He was a favourite of Edward IV, who granted him the lands of the baronies of Willoughby and Welles after he had married the heiress, Joan Welles. He fought at Tewkesbury. He died in 1503, and was buried at the Greyfriars, London.

Treaty of Picquigny

The Treaty of Picquigny was a peace treaty negotiated on 29 August 1475 between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France. It followed from an invasion of France by Edward IV of England in alliance with Burgundy and Brittany. It left Louis XI of France free to deal with the threat posed by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.

William Bonville, 6th Baron Harington

William Bonville, 6th Baron Harington (1442 – 30 December 1460) was an English nobleman who was a loyal adherent of the House of York during the dynastic conflict in England in the 15th century known as the Wars of the Roses. He was slain and left dead on the field during the Yorkist defeat at the Battle of Wakefield, leaving his baby daughter, Cecily Bonville heiress to his barony.

William Dacre, 3rd Baron Dacre

William Dacre, 7th Baron Greystock, later 3rd Baron Dacre of Gilsland (ca. 1493 – 18 November 1563) was an English peer, a Cumberland landowner, and the holder of important offices under the Crown, including many years' service as Warden of the West Marches.

William Hastings

William or Bill Hastings may refer to:

William Hastings, 1st Baron Hastings (ca. 1431–1483), English nobleman, close friend and Lord Chamberlain to King Edward IV1461-1483

William Soden Hastings (1798–1842), U.S. politician from Massachusetts (Whig)

William Wirt Hastings (1866–1938), U.S. politician from Oklahoma (Democrat)

William Granville Hastings (1868–1902), American sculptor born in England

William Hastings-Bass, 17th Earl of Huntingdon (born 1948), English peer and racehorse trainer

Bill Hastings (footballer) (1888–?), English football player

Bill Hastings (censor) (born 1957), Canadian-born jurist who served as New Zealand's chief censor (1999–2010), now District Court Judge

Key figures
See also

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