HASTINGS FAMILY, a famous English family. JOHN, BARON HASTINGS (c. 1262-0. 1313), was a son of Sir Henry de Hastings (d. 1268), who was summoned to parliament as a baron by Simon de Montfort in 1264. Having joined Montfort's party Sir Henry led the Londoners at the battle of Lewes and was taken prisoner at Evesham. After his release he continued his opposition to Henry III.; he was among those who resisted the king at Kenilworth, and after the issue of the Dictum de Kenilworlh he commanded the remnants of the baronial party when they made their last stand in the isle of Ely, submitting to Henry in July 1267. His younger son, Edmund, was specially noted for his military services in Scotland during the reign of Edward I. John Hastings married Isabella (d. 1305), daughter of William de Valence, earl of Pembroke, a half-brother of Henry III., and fought in Scotland and in Wales. Through his mother, Joanna de Cantilupe, he inherited the extensive lordship of Abergavenny, hence he is sometimes referred to as lord of Bergavenny, and in 1295 he was summoned to parliament as a baron. Before this date, however, he had come somewhat prominently to the front. His paternal grandmother, Ada, was a younger daughter of David, earl of Huntingdon, and a niece of the Scottish king, William the Lion; and in 1290 when Margaret, the maid of Norway, died, Hastings came forward as a claimant for the vacant throne. Although unsuccessful in the matter he did not swerve from his loyalty to Edward I. He fought constantly either in France or in Scotland; he led the bishop of Durham's men at the celebrated siege of Carlaverock castle in 1300; and with his brother Edmund he signed the letter which in 1301 the English barons sent to Pope Boniface VIII. repudiating papal interference in the affairs of Scotland; on two occasions he represented the king in Aquitaine. Hastings died in 1312 or 1313. His second wife was Isabella, daughter of the elder Hugh le Despenser. Hastings, who was one of the most wealthy and powerful nobles of his time, stood high in the regard of the king and is lauded by the chroniclers.
His eldest son JOHN (d. 1325), who succeeded to the barony, was the father of Laurence Hastings, who was created earl of Pembroke in 1339, the earls of Pembroke retaining the barony of Hastings until 1389. A younger son by a second marriage, Sir Hugh Hastings (c. 1307-1347), saw a good deal of military service in France; his portrait and also that of his wife may still be seen on the east window of Elsing church, which contains a beautiful brass to his memory.
On the death of John, the third and last earl of Pembroke of the Hastings family, in 1389, Sir Hugh's son JOHN had, according to a decision of the House of Lords in 1840, a title to the barony of Hastings, but he did not prosecute his claim and he died without sons in 1393. However his grand-nephew and heir, Hugh (d. 1396), claimed the barony, which was also claimed by Reginald, Lord Grey of Ruthyn. Like the earls of Pembroke, Grey was descended through his grandmother, Elizabeth Hastings, from John, Lord Hastings, by his first wife; Hugh, on the other hand, was descended from John's second wife. After Hugh's death his brother, Sir Edward Hastings (c. 1382- 1438), claimed the barony, and the case as to who should bear the arms of the Hastings family came before the court of chivalry . In 1410 it was decided in favour of Grey, who thereupon assumed the arms. Both disputants still claimed the barony, but the view seems to have prevailed that it had fallen into abeyance in 1389. Sir Edward was imprisoned for refusing to pay his rival's costs, and he was probably still in prison when he died in January 1438. After his death the Hastings family, which became extinct during the 16th century, tacitly abandoned the claim to the barony. Then in 1840 the title was revived in favour of Sir Jacob Astley, Bart. (1797-1859), who derived his claim from a daughter of Sir Hugh Hastings who died in 1540. Sir Jacob's descendant, Albert Edward (b. 1882), became 21st Baron Hastings in 1904.
A distant relative of the same family was William, Baron Hastings (c. 1430-1483), a son of Sir Leonard Hastings (d. 1455). He became attached to Edward IV., whom he served before his accession to the throne, and after this event he became master of the mint, chamberlain of the royal household and one of the king's most trusted advisers. Having been made a baron in 1461, he married Catherine, daughter of Richard Neville, earl of Salisbury, and was frequently sent on diplomatic errands to Burgundy and elsewhere. He was faithful to Edward IV. during the king's exile in the winter of 1470-1471, and after his return he fought for him at Barnet and at Tewkesbury ; he has been accused of taking part in the murder of Henry VI. 's son, prince Edward, after the latter battle. Hastings succeeded his sovereign in the favour of JaneShore. He was made captain of Calais in 1471, and waswith Edward IV. when he met Louis XI. of France at Picquigny in 147 5, on which occasion he received gifts from Louis and from Charles the Bold of Burgundy. After Edward IV. 's death Hastings behaved in a somewhat undecided manner. He disliked the queen, Elizabeth Woodville, but he refused to ally himself with Richard, duke of Gloucester, afterwards King Richard III. Suddenly Richard decided to get rid of him, and during a meeting of the council on the 13th of June 1483 he was seized and at once put to death. This dramatic incident is related by Sir Thomas More in his History of Richard 7//.,and has been worked by Shakespeare into his play Richard HI. Hastings is highly praised by his friend Philippe de Commines, and also by More. He left a son, Edward (d. 1 508) , the father of George, Baron Hastings (c. 1488- 1545), who was created earl of Huntingdon (q.v.) in 1529.
When Francis, loth earl of Huntingdon, died in October 1789, the barony of Hastings passed to his sister Elizabeth (1731-1 808) , wife of John Rawdon, earl of Moira, and from her it came to her son Francis Rawdon-Hastings (see below), who was created marquess of Hastings in 1817.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)