HASTINGS, Sir George (c.1588-1651), of the Prior's House, Christchurch, Hants and Puddletown, Dorset.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Education
b. c.1588, 1st s. of Henry Hastings of Woodlands, Dorset and Dorothy, da. and coh. of Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton, Notts.1 educ. M. Temple 1610.2 m. 27 June 1614 (with £2,500), Alice, da. of Sir Thomas Freke* of Iwerne Courtnay, Dorset, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da.3 kntd. 5 Nov. 1615;4 suc. fa. 1650. d. 25 Oct. 1651.5 sig. G[eorge] Hastings.
Hastings’ father was the second son of Sir George Hastings†, who sat for Derbyshire and Leicestershire before succeeding as 4th earl of Huntingdon. ‘The copy of an ancient nobility’, according to the description by his godson and neighbour, Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper†, Hastings’ father took no interest in politics, devoting all his time to blood sports except ‘what he borrowed to caress his neighbours’ wives and daughters’.13 A domestic tyrant, he maltreated his wife, who had to appeal to his wife’s kinsman, Thomas Arundell, subsequently 1st Lord Arundell of Wardour, to secure her an allowance. He also denied Hastings an independent income after the latter came of age.14 Hastings shared his father’s interest in country sports. Indeed, Izaak Walton described him as ‘an excellent angler’. However, Walton also referred to him as one of the ‘chemical men’, which suggests that Hastings had wider intellectual horizons than his father.15
Hastings was resident in Christchurch by the early 1620s, living on the property of the dissolved priory leased by his father, and was returned by the borough to both the third and fourth Jacobean Parliaments. His election in each case was perhaps surprising as his father, who had formerly owned the hundred and castle of Christchurch, had failed to persuade the borough to accept his nominations in 1601. It is possible that in 1621 Hastings was nominated by his kinsman Arundell, to whom the castle and hundred now belonged. Hastings certainly approached Arundell in 1624, for on 21 Jan. Arundell informed the mayor of Christchurch that Hastings had applied to him for the second seat. However, three days later Arundell announced that he had decided to nominate John Eltonhed instead and had notified Hastings accordingly, ‘which I hope will give him satisfaction’. In the event it was Hastings who was returned, probably as a result of his local connections. On 31 Jan. Hastings wrote to the borough thanking them for his election and promised to serve without payment.16
Although Sir George Hastings was mentioned several times in the records of the 1621 Parliament, it seems likely that all such references actually relate to Hastings’ kinsman and namesake, (Sir) George Hastings, who had been knighted in 1619, and was serving for Leicestershire. In the second sitting ‘Sir George Hastings’ delivered a speech on 26 Nov. in which he advocated war with Spain. Two days later one or other Member proposed that anyone who had not been to church for three months should be considered a recusant for the purpose of the subsidy. It cannot be established which Member spoke on either occasion, or even if it was the same man. However, it seems more likely that it was the Leicestershire Member, as he was the more experienced parliamentarian, had already spoken in the first sitting, and was presumably more familiar to the clerk and the diarists.17 In 1624 Hastings made no recorded speeches but received one committee appointment, on 14 Apr., for a private bill promoted by Robert Wolverston*, concerning property in Lancashire. He attended two of its meetings.18
Hastings does not seem to have sought re-election in the 1620s. By 1627 he was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, as in September of that year the lord chamberlain ordered the apprehension of the under-sheriff of Hampshire who, despite Hastings’ status as a royal servant, had arrested him for outlawry, possibly for debt.19 His removal from the Hampshire bench in the late 1620s suggests that he moved to Dorset around that time, where he was subsequently appointed a deputy lieutenant. On 20 Dec.1639 he wrote to the mayor of Christchurch asking to be returned at the forthcoming election, but his application appears to have been ignored.20 He was commended in 1640 for his ‘more than wonted care and diligence’ as deputy lieutenant of Dorset; but the following year a London merchant was seeking permission to sue him for debt.21 He remained neutral during the Civil War, but his family’s estate was sequestrated because of his father’s royalism, and his efforts to compound were complicated by the claims of his younger brother and nephew, and the alleged fraudulence of his steward. On his father’s death in 1650 he was said to owe £5,000, and shortly afterwards he conveyed the estate to his eldest son, with provision that lands in Christchurch and Little Piddle were to be sold to pay his debt, some of which seem to have been incurred by gambling, or by ‘fraud and deceit’. He died on 25 Oct. 1651, aged 63, and was buried in Horton church, the only member of the Dorset branch of the Hastings family to sit in Parliament. Administration of his estate was granted to a creditor on 6 Oct. 1660.22
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Virginia C.D. Moseley
- 1. Nichols, County of Leicester, iii. 593.
- 2. M. Temple Admiss.
- 3. Nichols, iii. 593; Hutchins, Dorset, iv. 86; SP23/152/693; PROB 11/246, f. 357v; R. Warner, Top. Remarks Relating to South-Western Pts. of Hants (1793), ii. 180.
- 4. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 157.
- 5. Nichols, iii. 593.
- 6. C231/4, f. 36; E163/18/12.
- 7. C193/12/2, f. 51v
- 8. C181/5, f. 115v.
- 9. CSP Dom. 1640, p. 55; HMC 4th Rep. 42.
- 10. Northants. RO, FH133.
- 11. N. Carlisle, Inquiry into Place and Quality of Gentlemen of His Majesty’s most Honourable Privy Chamber (1829), p. 265; LC3/1, unfol.
- 12. T. Rymer, Foedera, ix. pt. 2, p. 182.
- 13. W.D. Christie, Life of Shaftesbury, i. app. 1, p. xv.
- 14. HMC Middleton, 589-92; C6/139/100.
- 15. I. Walton, Compleat Angler (1653), pp. 86, 140, 227.
- 16. VCH Hants, v. 92, 127; Dorset RO, DC/CC, acc. 7998, unfol. (Hastings to Mayor 13 Sept. 1601; Bindon to Mayor, 6 Oct. 1601; Arundell to Mayor, 21 24 Jan. 1624; Hastings to Mayor, 31 Jan. 1624).
- 17. CD 1621, ii. 450, 468.
- 18. CJ, i. 766a; C.R. Kyle, ‘Attendance Lists’, PPE 1604-48 ed. Kyle, 206.
- 19. F. Phillipps, Regale Necessarium (1671), p. 125; T. Hetley, Reps. and Cases taken in the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Years of the Late King Charles (1657), p. 52.
- 20. Dorset RO, DC/CC, acc. 7998, unfol. (Hastings to Mayor, 20 Dec. 1639).
- 21. CSP Dom. 1640, p. 291; HMC 4th Rep. 42.
- 22. A.R. Bayley, Civil War in Dorset, 404; CCC, 2348; C3/446/127; Harl. 4774, f. 9; Nichols, 593; Hants RO, 19M56/134; PROB 11/36, f. 117.