Thursday, 15 January 2009

Inciting Incident? 15.01.09

I've been doing some reading for my next book. Santa brought me 'Lord Hastings' Indentured Retainers' by William Huse Dunham and very interesting it is too.
William Hastings was the Duke of York's 'faithful servant' before he was Edward's; on St George's Day 1458 the duke granted him a £10 annuity 'in consideration of his good and faithful services done and to be done to the said duke'.

In 1459 Henry Pierpoint complained that William Hastings and his brother Thomas and Henry Ferrers were responsible for the slaying of his brother Robert Pierpoint. The Duke of York arbitrated the case and perhaps, Dunham suggests, William experienced the benefits of being a great lord's retainer? To appease the 'variances' between them the parties 'were put in the rule, ordinance and judgement' of the duke. After hearing both sides the Duke of York made an 'award' dated 17th October 1459. This required both sides to 'keep the king's peace to prevent great inconveniences which else were like to grow between them'. Further the Pierpoints were to release, by writing 'all manner of appeals' for Robert's death and all 'actions of trespass'. In return the Hastings brothers were to forgo 'all manner of actions' against the Pierpoints and to pay them in 5 instalments between Christmas1459 and Michelmas 1462 a total of £40. Henry Pierpoint was to find a priest to sing 'divine service' for 2 years for Robert's soul. Thus the Hastings brothers were never tried under common law for Robert's death. However this, Dunham speculates, was also probably a better outcome for the Pierpoints than they would have got under the law. "They probably found private mediation cheaper, speedier and more rewarding than the king's justice might have been". Nothing was ever 'proven' against William and his brother. What this shows is just how tough you have to be to be a 15th century nobleman; it really is the survivial of the fittest, and it wasn't only the Percys and the Nevilles whose differences ended in blood.
William Hastings is the sexy guy in the pink dubblet and tight grey hose at the front left of this picture of Edward's court. Mmmm nice legs!

3 comments:

E Challinor said...

I'll start again shall I...

I have to worry about you and your obsession with tight pants! But I like the murder as a possible inciting incident.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Interesting! I keep meaning to get a copy of this book.

Lady D. said...

You're so right about the 'survival of the fittest' thing in the Middle Ages. My favourite saying is that it was 'dog eat dog' (although I hate that imagery as I love dogs lol).

Men (and women too) did things that today we would consider terrible - but back then, if they didn't do it, then someone else would possibly have done it to them first. You really couldn't be a doormat back then!