Hungerford, Sir Walter
- (d. 1516)A member of a Lancastrian family, Walter Hungerford loyally served EDWARD IV in the 1470s but abandoned RICHARD III and the house of YORK after 1483.The son of Robert HUNGERFORD, Lord Hungerford, who was beheaded by the Yorkists after the Battle of HEXHAM in 1464, and the brother of Sir Thomas HUNGERFORD, who was executed by Edward IV for supposedly plotting with Lancastrian agents in 1469, Walter Hungerford took no sides during the 1469–1471 phase of the WARS OF THE ROSES. In the 1470s, he entered the service of Edward IV, becoming lieutenant of Dover Castle and sheriff of Wiltshire in 1478–1479. He also became one of the king’s esquires of the body (i.e., a personal royal servant), accompanied the king on the French expedition of 1475, and recovered a portion of his family’s influence in the West Country, serving as M.P. (i.e., Member of PARLIAMENT) for Wiltshire in 1478 and 1483.However, after Richard III usurped the throne of his nephew, EDWARD V, in 1483 (see Usurpation of 1483), Hungerford, although courted with gifts by the new king, maintained his allegiance to the sons of Edward IV and joined Lionel WOODVILLE, Giles Daubeney, and others in leading the southwestern phase of BUCKINGHAM’S REBELLION. Hungerford was pardoned after the failure of the uprising, but his West Country estates were granted to some of Richard’s loyal northern supporters (see Richard III, Northern Affinity of).In 1485, Hungerford and Sir Thomas Bourchier were summoned to join the royal army at Nottingham, where Richard awaited the invasion of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond. Suspicious of their loyalty, Richard supposedly ordered Sir Robert BRACKENBURY to escort both men to his camp. Somewhere along the way, Hungerford and Bourchier escaped from Brackenbury and joined Richmond, with whom they fought at the Battle of BOSWORTH FIELD on 22 August. Knighted on the field by HENRY VII, Hungerford was restored to his family estates and admitted to the royal COUNCIL. He served the new king on several diplomatic and military missions and assisted in the defeat of the Yorkist pretender, Perkin WARBECK, in 1497. Hungerford died in 1516, after years of loyal service to the house of TUDOR.Further Reading: Gill, Louise, Richard III and Buckingham’s Rebellion (Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 1999); Hicks, Michael, “Piety and Lineage in the Wars of the Roses: The Hungerford Experience,” in Ralph A. Griffiths and James Sherborne, eds., Kings and Nobles in the Later Middle Ages (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986), pp. 90–108; Ross, Charles, Richard III (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981).
Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. John A.Wagner. 2001.
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