Katheryn Hastings’ will

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Katheryn Nevill

Continuing a spotty theme that seems to be creeping over at least part of the blogsphere, I want to share with you the will of lady Katheryn Hastings. It’s quite long, so I haven’t included it here in its entirety.

Katheryn (b 1442) was the second youngest child of the countess and earl of Salisbury. In 1458 she married William Bonville, lord Harrington. They had one child, Cecily. Bonville lost his life in 1461 at the battle of Wakefield and two years later Katheryn married William Hastings. Hastings was executed without trial by Richard III June 1483, leaving Katheryn once more a widow. She was forty one years old. She never remarried, probably in keeping with the terms of her husband’s will.

Katheryn died in late 1503/early 1504. She was buried, as per her request, at the parish church of St Helen in Ashby, Leicestershire, not with her second husband at Windsor Castle. While in life, Hastings may have expected his wife to join him in his burial place the change of regime and of Katheryn’s fortunes likely closed that option off to her.

As her executors, she lists all her children: “…Ceicill marquiss Dorset, widdow; George earl of Shrewsbury and Anne, his wife, my daughter; Edward, lord Hastings; Richard Hastings and William Hastings, esquires, my sons…”

Her first bequests are to Lincoln cathedral and the church at Asbhy de la Zouche, in the sum of twenty pounds each.

She asked that “a priest be found to sing in the said chappell for my fadyr and my lady modar, my lord my husband’s soules; for my soule, and for all Christian soules, and in special for those soules which I am most bounded to cause to be prayed for, for the space of three years next after my departing”. Just which other souls she was most bound to cause to be prayed for she doesn’t say, but these may include her brothers and sisters who predeceased her, her first husband and her royal York cousins, as well as others who may not be known to history at all. For his troubles, the priest was to receive six pounds a year for the three years.  She named William Englonde (“my priest”) as her preferred choice, should he choose to accept.

Next, she left for the said priest’s use during the three years a suit of vestments of red and green bawdekyn; a gilded chalice, a printed mass-book and a printed portvous. Seven surplices were bequeathed to the church and her mass book, covered by red velvet, to be given to a poor church at the direction of her executors.

She gave the college of Newark all her lands and tenements in and around Burton Overy and Wigston to pay for a perpetual yearly obit for herself, her father, mother and husband.

“Item, where I owe unto Cecilie marquesse Dorset certain sumes of money, which I have borrowed of her at diverse times, as appeareth by bills indented thereof made; I woll that the said Cecilie, in full countenance of all such sumes of money as I owe unto her, have my bed of arres, tillor, testor and counterpane, which she late borrowed of me; and over that I will that she have my tabuler of gold that she now hath in her hands for a pledge, and three curtains of blew sarcionett and a traverse of blew sarcionett and three quishions of counterfeit arres, with imagery of women, a long quishion and two short of blew velvet; also two carpets.”

To her son in law, George earl of Shrewsbury (“myne especial good lord”), she bequeathed “a cope of cloth of gold of white damasce, with torpens cloth of gold and velvet upon velvet … a vestment of purpure velvet, with a crucifix and images of St Peter and St John embroidered upon that oon of them.” To his wife, her daughter: “a cope of cloth of gold with lillyes embroidered, and that oon of the image of the Trinitie, with a frontail for an altar … my Prymar, which is now in the keeping of my lady Fitz Hugh [her sister Alice]; also two cushions of counterfeit arres with imagery of women; a long quishion and two short of blew velvet … a long covering for a quishion of purpure velvet, and oon short; also two carpets.”

To her son Edward lord Hastings, she left various items most, it seems, currently in the possession of others: a suit of vestments (the abbot of Darley); an owche (her son William); an image of Our Lady (her daughter Cecily); a gold salt cellar (her daughter-in-law Mary lady Hungerford); and a “fair Prymar” given to her by the queen. She forgave him a debt of 100 marks “considering the kinde demeanor of my said son at this time in granting of a certain annuity”. He also got “two quishins of counterfeit arres, with imagery of women … two quishions of counterfeit arres with my lord’s armes; alsoe two paire of curtaines of green tartarin … two short quishions of tawney velvet; also a long quishion and short of crimson velvet, also such pieces of bawdekyn, with a frontaile of cloth of blew sattin, as hath been accustomed to be occupied about the sepulchre of our Lord; also a cloth of bawdekyn, with a frontaile of red bawdekyn for the font … an old hanging of counterfiet arres of Knollys, which now hangeth in the hall; and all such hangyngs of old bawdekyn or lynen paynted as now being in the chappell, with the altar-clothes an oon super altare, with oon of the vestiments that now be occupyed in the chappell.  Alsoe all such pieces of hangings as I have, of blew and better blew, with my lord’s armes, with banquyrs and cupboard-clothes of the same sort. Alsoe three barrehides for carriage; two barrehides for clothe sekks. Also the third part of my hey that is at Kerby [Muxloe], and all such tymber as I have there. Also all the bedding that he hath of mine which late was at London, reserved only two fedurbedds and a cowcher that I wol Richard my son have, and also two carpets.”

To her sons Richard and William she bequeathed “four coverings for quishions with my lord’s armys of counterfeit arres. Also two hangings for an aultar, with the twelve Apostles embrodered with gold, with a crucifix and the Salutation of our Lady. Also all the pieces of hangings of verd that now hang in my chamber and in the parlour; also all my stuffe of napree pertaining to the pantree; also two pair of blankets and two pair of fustians; alsoe four pairs of fine sheets; alsoe my stuffe of kitching, as platters, dishes, sawcers, broaches, potts and pans; also all my hey that is in Lubbeshorp, provided that William have the more part of the hey; alsoe two parts of hey at Kerby; also two vestiments, oon that hath been accustomed to be occupied in my high house, and oon that’s occupyed in the chappell; two Masse-books, two super altars, oon of white to Richard, and oon of jett to William; two corporauxes; alsoe to Richard foure pair of brigaunters; and to William two payre; and to them both thirteen saletts.” Presumably she trusted them to sort this out fairly!

Richard and William also get separate bequests. “… to my son William all such stuffe of bedding as he hath now in his chamber of mine; that is to say; a seller, tester and counterpoint of roosemary, a quilt happing, a white mantell, a white square happing; a square happing, white and black. Alsoe … all such plate as was in the hands of John Holme, with that he pay unto the said John, at the feast of St Andrew next coming, fifteen pounds, in parte payment of a greater sume; and over that to doe such charitable deedes of almes as I have appointed to be done by him.  Alsoe … four fedur beds and couchers.”

Richard gets “two fedur beds that he hath, a coucher that was at London, a coucher that’s here, and a fedur bedde.”

All the silk hangings at Kirby Muxloe (as listed in an inventory) she bequeaths “unto them all”, and William further gets “foure paire of sheets of such sorte as he now occupyeth.”

She does not forget her surviving sisters, Margaret (countess of Oxford) gets “a payre of little salts of silver and parcell gylt”. And for Alice (Fitzhugh) there is “oon of my standing cupps; alsoe a bedd of tymbre; and such pledges as she hath of mine, I woll they be pledged out by William, and he to have them.” This could suggest that she was closer to Alice than to Margaret in their final years. It shouldn’t be forgotten that both Margaret and Kathryn experienced years of difficulty, and in Margaret’s case poverty, though both weathered them and at the time of their deaths were comfortable at the very least. Alice suffered no such setbacks and may have given Katheryn support during her difficult times.

Her grandson, George Hastings, gets “a good feddur bedde, a boulster, a pair of blankets, a paire of fustians and a pair of fine sheets.”

Her daughter Anne “a good fedurbedd, a boulster, a paire of blankets, a paire of fustians and a payre of fine sheets.”

Her nephew William Ferrers (the son of Hastings’ sister Anne) and his wife “a fedur bedde, a boulster, a blanket, a chike happing, an old counterpointe, sillor and testor, which they now occupy in their chamber; alsoe four payre of sheets and oon of my finest gownes.”

Her daughter-in-law Mary “my parte of a crosse, which she hath in her keeping for a pledge … a ring, which William Bamsell hath for a pledge, to be pledged out of my goods.”

Her niece Brokesby (daughter of Hastings’ sister Joan) “three payre of sheets and oon of my best gownes; my gownes to be given among my other gentlewomen.”

There are some minor bequests including gowns, livery cloth, vestments, small sums of money and horses.

She ends her will with the following:

“Item, I woll that such hangings or bedding, as shall be sold for the payment of my debts and performance of my will, be refused of my lady marquisse and of my son Edward lord Hastings before they be any parcell to be sold to any other body, so that the said lady marquiss and lord Hastings woll give as muche for the said as any other will doe, and make as quick payment. The residue of my goods not bequeathed, my debts fully paid, with all my cattall, somes of monie, rents, annuities, debts and arrerages, which it shall heppn to me to have and to be possessed of, or due unto me, by any grant of lawfull meane, at the time of my departing, I woll be equally divided between my sons Richard and William.”

This clause might be seen to be somewhat chiding, but I think it’s there to both remind Cecily and Edward that they shouldn’t try to take advantage of their favoured position; and to reassure the others that the elder two would play fair.

I got a sense from this that Katheryn could trust her children to execute her will, with it’s various complications, without difficulty. There is a six gap between Cecily Bonville and her first surviving child with Hastings (Edward), and an eleven year gap in total from oldest to youngest (Anne). The goods left are not inconsiderable.

bawdekin – rich oriental silk cloth shot through with silver or gold, or brocaded; portvous – may have been a collection of litanies; testor – a bed canopy; owche – a gold or jewelled brooch; tartarin – rich silk oriental fabric; banquyr – chair coverings, usually tapestry; barrehides – hides used to cover packages and clothes; broach – spit; brigaunters – mail coats; sallets – light helmets; corporaus – may be body armour of some kind; .happing – a bed cover; chike (may be ‘thikke’ in the original) – possibly ticking

This version of the will and notes are taken from David Baldwin, The Kingmaker’s Sisters. This book has its flaws, but as a first look at the lives of the six Nevill sisters it’s an extremely good start, well researched and well written.

  1. I really enjoyed reading her will, here in summary and in the Baldwin book.

  2. anevillfeast says:

    Thanks Susan, I thought it was a fascinating document. I wish I could find Alice and Margaret’s.

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