illiam Lord Hastings took part in the Wars of the Roses and fought on the side of the Yorkists and Edward IV. William was the son of Sir Leonard Hastings and Alice Camois and was born in around 1430. He fought at the battles of Ludford and Mortimer's Cross and after helping Edward win the Battle of Towton was knighted on the battle field. William married Katherine Neville, the sister of Richard Neville, the 'Kingmaker'. William gained many titles including Baron Hastings and Chamberlain and also became a member of the Order of the Garter. When Henry VI was restored to power in 1470 Hastings fled the country with Edward IV. In 1471 Hastings assisted Edward return to power after helping defeat the Lancastrians at the Battle of Tewkesbury and was given the captaincy of Calais in return. He then became an important player in foreign affairs. After the death of Edward IV Hastings tried to protect the old king's son, Edward V, by plotting against Richard, Duke of Gloucester (the future Richard III). Gloucester discovered the plot and Hastings was arrested and quickly executed at the Tower of London. His body was removed and buried at Windsor.
The Earl of Warwick had left Coventry to confront Edward. The armies met at Barnet just north of London in thick fog. The two battle lines overlapped and Warwick's Lancastrian men commanded by the Earl of Oxford were able to get around the Yorkists commanded by Lord Hastings. Hastings' men fled back to London with Oxford's men in hot pursuit. On the other side of the battle the Yorkists, led by Richard, were outflanking the Lancastrians and took the advantage pushing their enemy back. When Oxford's men returned to the battle they were mistakenly fired upon by their fellow Lancastrians and fled. By early evening Lord Montague and the Earl of Warwick were dead. The Lancastrians were defeated.
Lord Hastings had supported Richard against the Woodvilles and had hoped to gain some reward for his loyalty, but the Duke of Buckingham seemed more likely to be rewarded at his expense. Hastings' loyalties swayed towards the Woodvilles and when Richard found out, Hastings was arrested and executed. ¹
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Selection of references used:
1. Anthony Cheetham, Life and times of Richard III, ISBN:0-297-83167-4