HASTINGS, Sir Edmund (d.1448), of Roxby, Yorks. and Edlingham, Northumb.
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Family and Education
m. (1) by 1401, Elizabeth (b.c.1381), da. of Sir John Felton* by his 1st w., half-sis. and h. of John Felton (d.s.p. 1 Feb. 1403) of Edlingham, 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (2) by Nov. 1415, Agnes (d. 24 Nov. 1436), 3rd da. and coh. of Thomas, 3rd Ld. Sutton of Holderness (d.c.1384), by Agnes (d. Mar. 1395), da. of Sir John Hothom of Scorborough, Yorks.; wid. of Sir Ralph Bulmer (1366-1406) of Walton castle and Bulmer, Yorks. Kntd. by Mar. 1403.1
Commr. to make arrests, Yorks. (N. Riding) Jan. 1404, May 1421; of oyer and terminer Feb. 1404 (cattle thefts); inquiry, Northumb. June 1406 (concealments), Yorks. Nov. 1407 (crime in general); to raise a royal loan, Northumb. June 1406, Yorks. (N. Riding) Nov. 1419; of array July 1410, (E. Riding) May 1415, (N. Riding) Oct.1417, Apr. 1418, Mar. 1427, Jan. 1436; to enforce the statute of weirs Aug. 1428.
Escheator, Cumb. and Westmld. 2 Nov. 1407-9 Dec. 1408.
Sheriff, Yorks. 4 Nov. 1409-29 Nov. 1410, 30 Nov. 1416-10 Nov. 1417, Northumb. 10 Nov. 1414-1 Dec. 1415, 4 Nov. 1418-23 Nov 1419.
J.p. Yorks. (N. Riding) 16 July 1419-20, 12 Feb. 1422-Jan. 1432.
Collector of royal loans, Yorks. (N. Riding) Jan. 1420.
The branch of the Hastings family to which Sir Edmund belonged had settled at Roxby during the 13th century, later acquiring the manor of Kingsthorpe through marriage. No positive evidence survives of his immediate ancestry, although he may perhaps have been the son of one Edmund Hastings of Roxby, a nephew and legatee of the rich and influential landowner, Sir Ralph Hastings of Slingsby. The latter died of wounds sustained at the battle of Neville’s Cross in 1346, leaving a son and namesake who went on to represent both Yorkshire and Lancashire in Parliament. Sir Ralph Hastings† the younger was, moreover, a notable supporter of the house of Lancaster, and it may well have been through him that the young Edmund first came to the attention of Henry of Bolingbroke. At all events, he joined the expedition which Bolingbroke led to Prussia, in 1390, in support of a crusade mounted by the Teutonic Knights against the Lithuanians. Being then still an esquire, he was assigned wages of 1s. per day, which were paid to him throughout the late summer and autumn. By January 1391 he was back in Yorkshire, where he witnessed a conveyance of the manor of Wold Newton for two of his many kinsmen.2 Not much is known of his activities over the next ten years, save that during this period he made an extremely advantageous marriage, which raised him from the ranks of the lesser gentry to a position of considerable power in the north. His first wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Sir John Felton, a wealthy landowner who died in 1396, leaving all his estates to his only son, John. The boy’s inheritance comprised the Northumberland manors of Edlingham, South Buteland, West Mafen and Nafferton, together with substantial holdings in the surrounding villages of Newton, Lemington, Otterburn, Roughley, Bolton and Thurston. To the south, in the palatinate of Durham, lay his two manors of Hamsterley and Medomsley, so even after the widowed Lady Felton had received her third of the property as dower, John stood heir to a handsome patrimony. His early death, while still a minor, in February 1403, placed Elizabeth next in line of succession; and, by the end of May, she and Hastings had obtained seisin from the Crown of her late half-brother’s possessions in Northumberland. The recognizance which Hastings offered to Walter Skirlaw, bishop of Durham, at about this time almost certainly marks his entry into the rest of the above-mentioned estates in the palatinate. Although another share of dower had to be found for John’s young widow, enough land remained to provide Elizabeth and Edmund with an income considerably greater than that upon which they had hitherto been obliged to rely. Furthermore, as a result of his marriage, Sir Edmund (who received a knighthood at the beginning of 1403, no doubt in recognition of his improved status), was now well placed to extend his influence northwards, which he did systematically over the next few years. The Feltons also owned the manor of Hinton and other farmland worth about £20 p.a. in Northamptonshire, although an entail made in favour of Elizabeth’s cousin, John Fauconberg, left her with only a reversionary interest. By 1412, however, Sir Edmund had gained control of these estates, too, so his hold over the inheritance was (save for the two dowers) by then virtually complete.3
The marriage of Elizabeth’s kinswoman, Constance Felton, to Thomas, Lord Fauconberg, brought Hastings into contact with this rather sorry figure who for many years had been kept prisoner on a charge of conspiring treason with the king of France. From 1391 onwards Fauconberg had enjoyed a measure of freedom in the custody of the earl of Northumberland, although his increasing bouts of insanity made it impossible for him to resume control of his affairs. In 1401, therefore, the earl and a distinguished panel of trustees, including Hastings, were given custody of his estates in the north. Two years later Constance, Lady Fauconberg, drew up a will in which she named both Sir Edmund and his wife as executors, thus revealing how dependent she had come to feel upon her young relatives. But Sir Edmund did not only have the Feltons to thank for his success. His early connexion with Bolingbroke stood him in good stead after the Lancastrian coup d’état of 1399, and he was soon singled out for preferment. In January 1404 he served on the first of many royal commissions, and just over a year later King Henry assigned him an annuity of £20 payable for life from the manor of Pickering. He was also at this time granted a fishery in the river Derwent nearby and the wardenship of land at ‘Edusmersque’ on the Yorkshire estates of the duchy of Lancaster, although his title was contested by Sir David Roucliffe*, to whom a similar award had already been made. Notwithstanding his previous association with the earl of Northumberland, he remained loyal to the Crown throughout the political upheavals of the early 15th century, moving closer to Northumberland’s bitter rival, Ralph Neville, earl of Westmorland. He did, however, agree to join with Peter, 5th Lord Mauley, and Sir Thomas Rokeby* in standing surety, in August 1405, for Sir John Hothom, one of the rebels who had risen against King Henry. An administrative blunder, whereby the three bailsmen were charged twice over for the money, was soon rectified, and Sir John duly obtained his charter of pardon.4 Hastings and Rokeby also acted together as trustees of the Lincolnshire property of the young Gilbert Umfraville (b.1390), a son-in-law and former ward of the earl of Westmorland. But Sir Edmund’s strongest link with the Nevilles at this time was through Westmorland’s half-brother, John, Lord Latimer, who, over the period July 1406 to June 1407, made a series of enfeoffments upon him and others of all his estates in four English counties. Latimer initially intended to settle a jointure upon his wife, Maud Clifford, but the pair were divorced, and for some unknown reason the trustees refused to relinquish their title when later required to do so. Latimer eventually began a suit against Sir Edmund and his two colleagues in the court of Chancery, as a result of which the latter were bound over, in February 1414, under pain of £5,000, to make no further conveyances of the property in their care. Latimer evidently won his case, for in the summer of 1418 the three defendants released their title to the earl of Westmorland and a more tractable panel of trustees. Yet the breach did not seriously upset Sir Edmund’s relationship with the rest of the Neville family (who may, indeed, have sided with him in the affair). Earl Ralph was certainly prepared to retain him as a feoffee-to-uses of the estates which he had made over to his son and heir apparent, John, Lord Neville (d.1420), and his wife, Elizabeth, while the latter was no less anxious to engage Sir Edmund’s services in this respect.5
Meanwhile, Sir Edmund first entered Parliament in 1407 as representative for both Northumberland and Yorkshire. His expenses were, however, to be met initially by the sheriff of Northumberland alone, which county had elected him first, on 29 Sept., some four days before his return for Yorkshire. The news of his earlier success may not have reached York in time to prevent his election there, but it is quite likely that the electors hoped to save on expenses by returning a man who was already assured of a seat elsewhere. During the course of the session Hastings was made escheator of Cumberland and Westmorland, an appointment followed two years later by his promotion as sheriff of Yorkshire. (All told he was to serve four terms as sheriff, twice in Yorkshire and twice in Northumberland.) Sir Edmund again took his seat in the Lower House for the first Parliament of Henry V’s reign, in May 1413, this time for only one constituency; and from now onwards he only ever represented Yorkshire, partly because his ties with the county had been consolidated when he remarried. His second wife, Agnes, the youngest daughter and co-heiress of Thomas, Lord Sutton, proved to be an even more valuable prize than Elizabeth Felton, for on the death without issue of her kinsman, Peter, 5th Lord Mauley, in 1415, she succeeded to one third of her father’s extensive and extremely profitable estates in Holderness. Although, while Mauley lived, her prospects as an heiress remained somewhat uncertain, she had, from 1406 onwards, been able to rely on a sizeable income from the dower properties settled upon her by her first husband, Sir Ralph Bulmer. These included the manors of Wilton and Bulmer in Yorkshire and farmland in the Northamptonshire villages of Harlestone, Heyford, Great Brington and Collingtree, all of which passed into Sir Edmund’s hands. In March 1415 he likewise took custody of her inheritance, which comprised a third share of the manors of Atwick, Bransholme, Sutton and Southcotes, together with numerous appurtenances in the East Riding, and also of the manor of Barrow-on-Humber in Lincolnshire. Some of this property was then occupied by tenants for life, and a few years later Agnes conveyed the reversionary interest to George Bulmer, who was probably her younger son. The rest of the Sutton estates were then entailed upon Ralph Bulmer, her grandson and heir, although Sir Edmund continued to enjoy the revenues until he died, even richer and more powerful than before.6
In late May 1421, just after he had sat in his third Parliament, Sir Edmund was obliged to abandon litigation against a local man for debts totalling 18 marks. Yet he himself went on to employ the same evasive tactic of failing to appear in court when being sued by the executors of Sir Thomas Brownflete for a slightly larger sum. Throughout this period Sir Edmund continued to involve himself as a j.p. and a royal commissioner in the local government of the north, gradually retiring from public life in the early 1430s, when he must have been well over 60 years old. His two sons, John and William, were by then themselves influential figures in the local community, for John, the elder, had not only succeeded directly, in 1421, to the dower properties of his grandfather’s widow, but had also received from his father the manor of West Mafen in Northumberland, which he settled upon his own trustees. In 1428 Sir Edmund stood surety for William Hastings on his appointment as alnager of Northumberland; and six years later both men appeared on the list of Yorkshire gentry who were to take the general oath that they would not support anyone disturbing the peace. Sir Edmund outlived his younger kinsman, Sir Richard Hastings† of Slingsby, who died in 1436 while they were both involved in supervising the execution of the will of John, Lord Greystoke. His elder son, too, predeceased him by some years, leaving his own son, Edmund, as heir apparent to the Hastings and Felton estates. The boy was about 14, when, in January 1445, Sir Edmund settled almost all this property upon a body of feoffees headed by William Hastings, thus hoping to keep the inheritance out of the hands of the Crown should he die before Edmund came of age. This did, in fact, prove to be the case, for although he lived on until 9 Dec. 1448, his grandson was still a minor.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. C137/36/31; C139/82/45; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 249-50; Hist. Northumb. vii. 120, 122, 127-8; R. Surtees, Durham, ii. 284-5; CP, ii. 416-17; v. 276-9; xii (1), 575; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), ii. 109.
- 2. VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), ii. 438; Test. Ebor. i. 20; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. xci. 131-3; Derby’s Expeds. (Cam. Soc. n.s. lii), 132; Feudal Aids, vi. 311; CCR, 1396-9, p. 196.
- 3. C137/36/31; Hist. Northumb. vii. 120, 122, 127-8; xii. 372; Surtees, ii. 284-5; CCR, 1402-5, p. 262; Test. Ebor. i. 293; CFR, xii. 213; Feudal Aids, vi. 493; DKR, xxxiii. 66.
- 4. CPR, 1401-5, p. 24; CP, v. 276-9; DL28/27/3; DL29/738/12100; DL42/16 (3), ff. IV. 15v, 31; E404/22/188; CCR, 1402-5, pp. 524-5.
- 5. Feudal Aids, vi. 482; CP, vii. 476-7; CPR, 1405-8, pp. 212, 337-8, 340; CCR, 1409-13, p. 110; 1413-19, p. 119; C1/6/330; CP25(1)280/154/2, 3, 291/64/71; PPC, iii. 20.
- 6. C139/82/45; CP25(1)280/155/14, 291/65/2; CP, ii. 416-17; xii(1), 575; VCH Yorks. (N. Riding), ii. 109; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 249-50; CFR, xvi. 323-4; Feudal Aids, vi. 293, 305, 309, 315.
- 7. CPR, 1416-22, p. 346; 1429-36, pp. 239, 378; 1436-41, p. 494; CFR, xv. 191; DKR, xliv. 409; xlv. 170; Surtees Soc. ii. 86; C139/134/24; Surtees, ii. 284-5; Hist. Northumb. vii. 127-8.