Fastolf, Sir John (făsˈtŏlf) [key], 1378?–1459, English soldier. He won distinction for his long service in the latter part of the Hundred Years War. He was knighted some time prior to 1418 for service at Agincourt (1415) and in other engagements, acted as governor of Anjou and Maine (1423–26), and was made (1426) a Knight of the Garter. While convoying supplies in 1429, Fastolf repelled a French attack by using herring barrels as protection (see Herrings, Battle of the). His conduct at the defeat of the English by Joan of Arc at Patay (1429), where he retreated after a panic of his men, has been variously described as common sense or cowardice. Fastolf continued, however, to exercise responsible commands until his final return to England in 1440. He amassed a considerable fortune by somewhat sharp methods, and he spent his last years on his huge Norfolk estate. A neighbor to John Paston, the principal beneficiary of his will, he features prominently in the Paston Letters.
See J. Gairdner, ed., The Paston Letters (1904); D. W. Duthie, The Case of Sir John Fastolf (1907).