Hastings, William Hastings, 1st Lord

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Hastings, William Hastings, 1st Lord (c.1430–83). Hastings was the lifelong confidant of Edward IV, and, according to contemporary gossip, shared both the adversities and mistresses of his master. The son of a Yorkist retainer, he came into prominence at the beginning of the reign as chamberlain of the household. He recruited on Edward's behalf a well-documented body of indentured retainers in the north midlands. In the last years of the reign he was one of the half-dozen powerful men on whom the king relied. Unquestionably loyal to the dynasty, he gave his total support to the young Edward V in the early summer of 1483. Because of his antipathy towards the Woodvilles, he was prepared initially to support Richard of Gloucester in his bid for power. But he himself became a victim when he was suddenly seized and executed on 13 June. The manner of his death has secured for him a reputation for unimpeachable probity, but he too was a courtier in pursuit of his own ends.

Anthony James Pollard