9 Februry 1460 (aged 77)
- "My name is William Hartford, and I am the Grand Master of the Templar Order, and soon-to-be Lord of the United Kingdom."
- ―Hartford introducing himself to Salvatore Verducci.
William Hartford (1383 - 1460) was an English general, nobleman, and politician who notably served in the court of Kings Henry VI, Henry V, and Henry VI. He was also secretly a member of the Templar Order, serving as Grand Master from 1409 to 1443.
Hartford is recognized as one of the most influential Grand Masters that the Templars have ever had, as he nearly succeeded in bringing all of Europe under control of the Templars. Hartford was responsible for destroying the English sect of the Assassin Order (thus making him semi-responsible for the creation of the Knights of the Silver Cross) and managed to gain control of both the Church of England and the Bank of England. He also successfully manipulated Richard Plantangenet into becoming Protector of the Realm during one of Henry VI's periods of madness. Hartford, while on a trip to Spain, would also befriend Alonso de Borja, the future Pope Callixtus III and uncle of Rodrigo Borgia, an event that would lead to Rodrigo's joining the Templars.
In 1441, Hartford's apprentice, an Italian businessman and banker named Salvatore Verducci, discovered several of the missing pages of the Codex written by legendary Assassin Altaïr Ibn La'Ahad, in a sealed strongbox located at an abandoned Assassin hideout in Rome. In it was a note from Domenico Auditore indicated that the rest of the pages were hidden throughout Italy. Hartford would establish a sizable Templar guild in Italy, based out of Rome, and would lead the Templars' activities in Italy until he stepped down from his role as Grand Master in 1443, passing the title to his apprentice, Salvatore Verducci. This effectively began the Templars' campaign to unite Italy under the Templar banner.
Though Hartford had stepped down as Grand Master of the Order, he continued to be an active member of the Templars, focusing primarily on his efforts to overthrow King Henry VI. Though he did come very close, he ultimately failed due to the efforts of the Knights of the Silver Cross. The Knights tracked him down to his compound outside Herefordshire and killed him during a raid in 1460.
Afterwards, Hartford's treachery was exposed when the Knights raided the Templar Archive he built in Ireland and presented incriminating documents to King Henry. Henry had Hartford and his brothers (who were also Templars) erased from the history books.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early life
- 1.2 Joining the Templar Order
- 1.3 Military Governor of Herefordshire
- 1.4 Gaining a foothold in England
- 1.5 Hunting the English Assassins
- 1.6 Meeting Richard Plantangenet
- 1.7 Becoming Grand Master
- 1.8 Meeting Salvatore Verducci
- 1.9 Establishing the Order in Italy
- 1.10 Stepping down as Grand Master
- 1.11 Campaigns in England
- 1.12 Final years and Death
- 2 Legacy
- 3 Personality
Joining the Templar Order
Military Governor of Herefordshire
Gaining a foothold in England
Hunting the English Assassins
Meeting Richard Plantangenet
Becoming Grand Master
Meeting Salvatore Verducci
Establishing the Order in Italy
Stepping down as Grand Master
Campaigns in England
Final years and Death
Hartford was, above all, an imperialist and a megalomaniac.