Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hastings, Henry (d.1667)

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HASTINGS, HENRY, Baron Loughborough (d. 1667), second son of Henry, fifth earl of Huntingdon, and Elizabeth, daughter of Ferdinando Stanley, earl of Derby, was born about 1609, or possibly a year or two later (Collins, Peerage, vi. 659). He distinguished himself in the civil wars by his services in the royalist cause. On 16 June 1642 he published the king's commission of array at Leicester, was sent for by parliament as a delinquent, and finally impeached (Lords' Journals, v. 145, 148, 191). On the king's visit to Leicester in the following July, Hastings was appointed sheriff of the county (Clarendon, Rebellion, v. 417). He raised a good troop of horse, fought at its head at Edgehill, and then, with his single troop only and a few officers, came back to Leicestershire with a commission as colonel-general of that county, and established himself at his father's house at Ashby-de-la-Zouch (ib. vi. 275). The influence of his family, and still more his own personal popularity, enabled him to raise a permanent force, and not only to maintain himself at Ashby until the end of the war, but to attack the parliamentarians in all the neighbouring counties. His zeal was further fired by the feud between his own family and that of Lord Grey, the parliamentary commander, ‘between whom the county was divided passionately enough without any other quarrel. And now the sons fought the public quarrel with their private spirit and indignation’ (ib.) Hastings repulsed a combined attack on Ashby in January 1643, took part in the battle of Hopton Heath in March, and in the recapture of Lichfield in April, safely conducted an important convoy of ammunition to Oxford in May, and relieved Stafford Castle in June (Mercurius Aulicus, 1643, pp. 33, 147, 261, 296). The situation of Ashby enabled Hastings to obstruct the communications between London and the north and north-west of England. The parliamentary newspapers nicknamed him ‘Rob-carrier,’ from the frequency with which he intercepted the northern carriers and robbed them of their packs. On 23 Oct. 1643 the king rewarded Hastings by creating him Lord Loughborough (Black, Oxford Docquets, p. 95). In the spring of 1644 Hastings attacked Nottingham, and distinguished himself in Rupert's relief of Newark (Hutchinson, Memoirs, ed. 1885, i. 300, 385; Rushworth, v. 308). In May 1645 he joined the king's army before Leicester, and was made governor of that place after its capture (Diary of Richard Symonds, pp. 181, 184). On 18 June, four days after the battle of Naseby, Hastings surrendered Leicester to Fairfax, obtaining leave for the garrison to march away without their arms (Sprigge Anglia Rediviva, ed. 1854, p. 54). Hastings held out in Ashby until 28 Feb. 1645–6. By the capitulation he was to be at liberty to join the royalist garrison of Worcester or Bridgnorth, or to go to France or Holland, and on 18 May 1646 he, in company with Sir Aston Cokayne, obtained the parliament's pass to go abroad (Bell, Memoirs of the House of Hastings, p. 123; Journals of the House of Commons, iv. 548). In the second civil war Hastings joined the insurgents in Essex, and took part in the defence of Colchester (Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, ed. 1779, p. 479). During the siege his special province was the supervision of the commisariat and the distribution of provisions to the besieged. Matthew Carter warmly praises his unwearied activity (A True Relation of the Expedition of Kent, Essex, and Colchester, p. 159, 2nd edit.). After the surrender of Colchester the House of Commons voted Hastings one of the seven great delinquents to be banished for their share in the second civil war (10 Nov. 1648). The independents, however, revoked this vote (13 Dec. 1648) as ‘destructive to the peace and quiet, and derogatory to the justice of the kingdom’ (Old Parliamentary History, xviii. 145, 472). Hastings would no doubt have been tried by the high court of justice, had he not succeeded in escaping from his imprisonment at Windsor. He joined Charles II in Holland in March 1649 (Heath, Chronicle, ed. 1663, p. 420). In the winter of 1650–1 a royalist insurrection was projected, and Hastings was destined to command the cavaliers of the midland counties (Milton State Papers, pp. 47, 50, 77). He was also engaged in the royalist conspiracy of 1654, but took no part in the actual rising of March 1655 (Cal. Clarendon Papers, ii. 392, 440). On the Restoration Hastings was appointed lord-lieutenant of Leicestershire (5 Jan. 1661), and obtained a grant of the farm of the duties on the export of cattle to Ireland from Chester and other parts, a grant which he afterwards commuted for a pension of 500l. per annum (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1663–4, p. 289).

In 1664 Hastings, who was then living at Loughborough House, in the parish of Lambeth, obtained an act of parliament ‘to make the river or sewer navigable from or near Brixton Causeway to the River Thames. He died at London, unmarried, in January 1666–7, and was buried in the chapel of St. George in Windsor Castle (Bell, p. 128).

[Authorities quoted; Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges; H. N. Bell's Memoirs of the House of Hastings, 1820; Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion, ed. Macray. Letters of Hastings may be found in the Pythouse Papers, ed. W. A. Day, and Warburton's Life of Prince Rupert.]

C. H. F.