About Lady Elizabeth Hastings2018-02-02T13:33:05+00:00


Lady Elizabeth Hastings adopted a lifestyle of deep Christianity and enlightened philanthropy and, before her death in 1739, established the charities which have since helped tens of thousands of people.


Lady Elizabeth Hastings was born in 1682, the eldest surviving daughter of the 7th Earl of Huntingdon.

At the age of 23 she inherited a fortune from the estate of her grandfather, Sir John Lewis of Ledston Hall, Yorkshire. Lady Betty, as she became known, took up residence at Ledston and adopted a lifestyle of deep Christianity and enlightened philanthropy. A well known Society figure, she declined all offers of marriage.

She saw education as key to the future, built a boarding school for girls at Ledsham and founded schools at Aberford, Collingham, Thorp Arch, and Ledsham. She was also a major benefactor to religious and other charitable causes.

In 1738 Lady Betty contracted breast cancer, for which she underwent surgery, without the benefit of anaesthetics. Considering her future, on 14th December 1738 she set up a Trust Deed, providing for the establishment of the charities that would bear her name. For this to be effective, she had to live for at least a year from that date; she survived for a year and a week, leaving a legacy that has helped tens of thousands of people through four centuries.