Hastings

Borough

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

No names known for 1510

Elections

DateCandidate
1512ROBERT HALL I 1
 HENRY BENEVER 2
1515(not known)
1523EDMUND JACKLIN alias BOCHER3
 EDMUND FRANKE 4
 (aft. May 1523 not known)
1529RICHARD CALVELEY 5
 THOMAS SHOYSWELL
by 1534JOHN DURRANT 6
 JOHN TAYLOR I 7
1536?JOHN DURRANT
 ?JOHN TAYLOR I
1539(not known)
1542JOHN FRANKE
 RICHARD BISHOP
1545(not known)
1547SIR WILLIAM STAFFORD 8
 JOHN ISTED 9
1553 (Mar.)JOHN ISTED 10
 (not known)
1553 (Oct.)THOMAS RODES 11
 JOHN PEYTON 12
1554 (Apr.)JOHN FRANKE
 JOHN ISTED
1554 (Nov.)THOMAS RODES 13
 JOHN PEYTON
1555THOMAS RODES
 ROGER MANWOOD II
1558THOMAS BRETT
 HENRY TENNANT

Main Article

Until its incorporation later in the 16th century as the mayor, jurats and community, Hastings was governed by a bailiff and 12 jurats chosen by him. As in other ports, the bailiff was the representative of the crown but only at Hastings was he also the elected head of the town government: in the 15th century the crown’s appointment of Thomas Stoughton was successfully challenged by the elected bailiff John Tamworth. The elections were held annually by the freemen or barons, meeting at the ‘hundred place’ on the second or third Sunday after Easter, but by an ordinance of the Brotherhood of the Cinque Ports in force from 1526 to 1550 the right of election was limited to 37 of the freemen. The Hastings family, from 1529 earls of Huntingdon, owned the castle and rape of Hastings for most of the 16th century but had no discernible influence on town government.14

The barons who chose the bailiff, and from whom he nominated the jurats, were of right the eldest sons of freemen, if born after their fathers’ grants of freedom, but the bailiff and jurats could add to the number of freemen for life. Hastings also maintained a legal counsel, two chamberlains and eight auditors, all subject to annual election or re-election. Since no election indentures and almost no town records have survived for the period, it is impossible to say exactly how parliamentary elections were carried out, but they were normally held at a general assembly of the bailiff, jurats and barons in the ‘hundred place’. Despite being greatly decayed as a port, Hastings was still able to pay its Members and at least one of its ‘limbs’, Pevensey, agreed in 1541 to pay 20s. towards parliamentary expenses in each session. The rate of payment in the period is unknown but it was probably, as later in the century, the statutory 2s. a day.15

Until the reign of Edward VI Hastings, like other ports, seemingly complied with the ordinance of the Brotherhood making service as a mayor, bailiff or jurat a necessary qualification for election to Parliament. All the ten known Members of Henry VIII’s Parliaments were jurats before their election, with the possible exception of Robert Hall, and all served as bailiff before, during or shortly after their Membership. After the death of Richard Calveley Cromwell’s list of vacancies, dating from 1532 or 1533, has ‘nota for the warden of the ports’ beside Hastings, but the two men who eventually replaced Calveley and his partner Thomas Shoyswell were townsmen and the election of 1547 marks the first obvious intervention of the lord warden, then Sir Thomas Cheyne. On that occasion Hastings elected only one Member, the jurat and ex-bailiff John Isted, and left the other name, that of the courtier and soldier Sir William Stafford, to be inserted by Cheyne. The same procedure may have been followed early in 1553 when Isted was re-elected but the name of his partner is unknown. John Peyton, a Kentish gentleman, was presumably Cheyne’s nominee in the autumn of 1553 as he was a year later when his name was inserted in a ‘blank’. On Roger Manwood was elected for Sandwich, where he was recorder, but on the lord warden’s return of 15 Oct. his name appears against Hastings, with that of Cheyne’s son-in-law Sir John Perrot replacing him at Sandwich, a transposition which, if not a clerical error, can almost certainly be attributed to Cheyne. Henry Tennant was Cheyne’s secretary. The other Marian Members were townsmen.16

Author: N. M. Fuidge

Notes

  • 1. Add. 34150, f. 136.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.; Cinque Ports White and Black Bks. (Kent Arch. Soc. recs. br. xix), 185, 187.
  • 5. Christian name from Add. 34150, f. 137.
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Ibid.
  • 8. Hatfield 207.
  • 9. CJ, i. 24.
  • 10. Ibid.
  • 11. Bodl. e Museo 17.
  • 12. Ibid.