HASTINGS, Edward (by 1519-72), of Loughborough, Leics. and Stoke Poges, Bucks.
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Family and Education
b. by 1519, 3rd s. of George Hastings, 1st Earl of Huntingdon, by Anne, da. of Henry Stafford, 2nd Duke of Buckingham; bro. of Sir Thomas. m. Joan, da. of John Harington of Bagworth, Leics., wid. of George Villers, s.p.; 1s. illegit. Kntd. 15 Sept. 1547, KG nom. 23 Apr., inst. 25 May 1555; cr. Baron Hastings of Loughborough 19 Jan. 1558.1
Gent. pens. 1540-7 or later, sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 1550-1; commr. relief, Leics. and Mdx. 1550; other commissions 1551-8; receiver, duchy of Lancaster, Leicester honor and town clerk of Leicester 10 Nov. 1553-d., bailiff of Leicester town 1553-4; receiver-gen. ct. augmentations, Essex, Herts., London and Mdx. Dec. 1553-Jan. 1554, Exchequer 1554-?d.; PC 1553-8; master of the horse 1553-7; j.p. Mdx. 1554-58/59, Leics. 1558/59; steward, duchy of Cornw. and warden of the stannaries 4 Apr. 1555-d.; chamberlain of the Household 1557-8; custos rot. Mdx. 1558/59; trier of petitions in the Lords, Parlts. of 1558 and 1571.2
A younger brother of Francis and Thomas Hastings, whose marriages to the daughters of Henry Pole, Lord Montagu, threatened their careers when the Poles were destroyed between 1538 and 1541, Edward Hastings survived that catastrophe without apparent damage. In 1540 he became a member of the new royal bodyguard and it was as a gentleman pensioner that he attended the reception of Anne of Cleves at Blackheath. In the French campaign of 1544 he served among the pensioners, with a retinue of three horsemen and two archers.3
His military experience may well have helped Hastings to enter the Parliament of 1545, among many others who had fought in France. That he did not do so as a knight of the shire suggests that the two Leicestershire seats had been pre-empted—one went to a nominee of the 3rd Marquess of Dorset and the other to Sir Ambrose Cave, also returning from the war—and that the borough of Leicester, which was amenable to magnate pressure, was persuaded to accommodate him. It was to be his only appearance in the Commons as a burgess. With the new reign, and the advent of the Protector Somerset, he was to forge ahead. Knighted for his valour at Pinkie, he was given command of cavalry going to France in 1549, and in the following year, when there was trouble at Calais, he accompanied his brother Francis, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, who had a troop there and remained with him for much of the winter. These missions alternated with the sessions of Edward VI’s first Parliament, in which Hastings sat as senior knight of the shire for Leicestershire, supplanting in this position Sir Ambrose Cave, who now stepped down to the second seat. Of his role in the Commons at this time or in the second Parliament of the reign nothing is known, but his Catholicism is likely to have discomfited him there. At Calais he was to engage in altercation with Edward Underhill, an opponent whose skill reduced Hastings to vituperation in the effort to hold his own and for whom he evidently conceived the violent dislike which Underhill was later to blame for his troublesome time under Mary.4
Unlike his brother the earl, Hastings never wavered in his support of Mary. Ordered by the Duke of Northumberland to raise Buckinghamshire for Queen Jane, he joined Sir Edmund Peckham and other Marians in their march on London. His loyalty was amply rewarded: he became master of the horse, was sworn a Privy Councillor and was given the receivership of the honor of Leicester. He was also granted the site of Leicester abbey and neighbouring property on its escheat from the condemned Marquess of Northampton. With enhanced status, however, came new causes of friction. Hastings was at first strongly opposed to the Spanish marriage and urged the Queen to wed Courtenay. Rallying to her support against Wyatt, with whom he parleyed, Hastings is said to have asked for mercy to be shown to the defeated rebel; he also counselled against the removal of Princess Elizabeth, whom he visited at Ashridge, to the Tower, a stand which was doubtless to be remembered later. He soon became reconciled to the marriage, encouraged no doubt by the promise of a sizeable pension from Spain: in April 1554 he wrote cheerfully to Sir Henry Bedingfield about Philip’s imminent voyage, and was deputed by the Queen to welcome him to England.5
Hastings was by now numbered among the supporters of Lord Paget, who although he had helped to engineer the marriage was no longer in high favour. In November 1554 he went with Paget to the Emperor’s court, ostensibly to escort home the returning Cardinal Pole, Hastings’s kinsman, but also to recount the difficulties facing the Queen and to solicit help: in this they had little success, Charles V proving sympathetic but evasive. By 1555 Hastings was again enjoying the Queen’s full confidence: at the time of the Dudley conspiracy he was one of the Councillors entrusted with the examination of the prisoners. With the outbreak of war he came into his own again as a soldier and took part under Admiral Clinton in the St. Quentin campaign. In 1557 he was appointed chamberlain of the Household, on 19 Jan. 1558 was created Baron Hastings of Loughborough and in her will the Queen named him as an executor.6
With offices and honours went lands to support them. The income from his substantial acquisitions of land, together with that from his various offices, may well have yielded him the £100 a year which (Sir) Thomas Smith I declared to be the minimum qualification for being created a baron. He was a knight of the shire in every Marian Parliament until the last, when he was summoned to the Lords. It was presumably by arrangement that, in the first three of them, his brother Thomas replaced him for Leicestershire. He himself became senior knight for Middlesex, for which county he qualified through his ownership of Hillingdon and other property there. Of his role in the Commons we have only a few glimpses. He was the bearer of two bills to the Lords on 16 Nov. 1553 and it was to him that the unsuccessful bill to revive the heresy Acts was committed on 13 Apr. 1554. As a leading spokesman for the bill to penalize the crown’s opponents who had gone abroad Hastings nearly came to blows in the Chamber with Sir George Howard late in 1555: Hastings’s impetuous advocacy of such measures may indeed help to account for the vigour with which they were opposed. Less contentious was the Act (4 and 5 Phil. and Mary, no.14) which he obtained in the Parliament of 1558 for the foundation of a hospital at Stoke Poges. His invoking of privilege in November 1553 on behalf of his servant Reynold Carter perhaps had religious overtones, for Carter’s arrest was at the suit of Thomas Norton, probably the father of the later Protestant Member of that name. After taking his place in the Lords he set an example by his attendance, but he probably displeased the Queen by voting against the measures assuring her of the manor of Rayleigh in Essex. As steward of the duchy of Cornwall and warden of the stannaries Hastings might have been expected to have wielded some influence on the elections in Cornwall to the Parliaments of 1555 and 1558, but no such influence has been traced.7
Elizabeth was at first gracious to Hastings: he was appointed to attend her on her first coming to London and at the reception of the Swedish embassy. By 1561 he was in trouble for hearing mass: he was for a short time imprisoned in the Tower but was released after being examined and taking the oath of supremacy. In 1562 he was suspected of intriguing against the Queen in favour of his young nephew Arthur Pole, who had a claim to the throne. Yet he was allowed to retain the stewardship of the duchy of Cornwall and wardenship of the stannaries until his death, and he continued to be regular in his attendance at the House of Lords, although absent on 18 Mar. 1559 when the supremacy bill was read for the third time and passed, with 12 dissentients; he frequently had bills committed to him. He seems to have passed his closing years largely at Stoke Poges, where he died on 5 Mar. 1572. His deteriorating finances compelled him to mortgage his Leicestershire manor of Bosworth to his nephew the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon and in the last year of his life to sell Leicester abbey to the Queen. Hastings died owing Elizabeth nearly £1,800 which his nephew and heir undertook to pay off in yearly instalments of £200. Loughborough, and some of his other property, had been granted to him in tail male and reverted to the crown on his death without legitimate heir. By a will dated 10 May 1556 he had left, besides bequests to the Observant Franciscans at Greenwich, to the poor and to scholars, money to build a chapel and bedehouses at Stoke Poges, which was done in his lifetime; Bosworth and the bulk of his estates were to go to his nephew Henry, who ultimately received them, and the manor of Creech St. Michael in Somerset to his illegitimate son Edward, then under 18. This will, however, was not admitted to probate, for on 10 Mar. 1572 his brother the earl was granted administration. Hastings was buried, as he had wished to be, in his chapel at Stoke Poges, and was commemorated by a portrait in a window of the parish church.