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The first Hastings of note was Walter de Hastings, the great grandson of Miles of Normandy[1]. He aquired Gissing and Fillongley through marriage and was Steward to Henry I. He had two sons, Ralf and Hugh. The latter married Erneberga de Flamville, aquiring Barawell and Gressing through marriage and who originated the Hastings Coat-of-Arms[2]. His elder brother Ralph received the Hasting estates, but having no children upon his death they reverted to Hugh’s son William.

William de Hastings was Steward to Henry II and the ancestor to the Earls of Pembroke and Lords Hastings through his first wife Maud, daughter of Thurston Bannaster. His second wife was Ida le D'eu, daughter of Henry, Earl le D'eu. Her ancestral lines can be traced back through Norman Dukes and Holy Roman Emporers, one of whom was Charlemagne.

Emma de Hastings, six generations later following the union of William and Ida, married Gilbert de Querton and began the Wharton line of descent. In the meantime, the grandson of William and Ida de Hastings, Hugh de Hastings, aquired Alveston, Crosby Ravensworth, Croglin, Nateby, and Tebay through marriage to Helena de Alverston. And, Nicholas de Hastings, father of Emma de Hastings, would become ancestor to the revived Earldom of Huntingdon.

The Battle to be Called Lord Hastings

The great-grandson of the union between William de Hastings and his first wife, Maud, was Henry de Hastings, who was the Governor of Scarborough and Wincester Castles. He had two sisters, Margery and Hillaria, who lived in a nunnery. His son, also called Henry, aquired Bergavenny through marriage and became the first Baron Hastings.

Henry’s son, John of Bergavenny (b.1262 d.1313) became the 1st Lord Hastings, 2nd Baron Hastings, and 1st Baron Bergavenny. He was one of the competitors for the crown of Scotland in 1290 through his great-grandmother Ada. The 4th Lord Hastings, also called John, married Margaret Plantagenet In 1359, who was the 4th daughter of King Edward III. However, she died childless and John married a second time in 1363 to Anne (d.1384), Baroness Manny who gave him a son also called John. Both father and son would die by violent means[3], and following the untimely death of the younger John who had not yet married, members of other branches of the Hastings line fought for the right to be called Lord Hastings.

John, the 1st Lord Hastings had married Isabel (d.1305), dau. of William (Earl of Pembroke) in 1275 through which the first five Lords descended. But it was his second marriage to Isabel (d.1334), dau. of Hugh Despenser (Earl of Wincester), who’s progeny would vie for the right to be called Hastings four generations later when the 5th Lord Hastings died childless. John’s son, the 2nd Lord Hastings (d.1325), was also called John (there were four of them: 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Lord Hastings), who had first married Julian and second Elizabeth. The progeny of Elizabeth would win eventually win the judgement to be called Hastings after the 5th Lord Hastings death[4].
1The progenitor of the Hastings line was Miles, hereditary Mareschal of Normandy and an offical in the Ducal Court. His son Ralf and grandson Robert came to England with William the Conquerer and both are listed in the Doomsday book of 1086. They took their surname from the city of Hastings which was a Cinque port in Sussex.

2The Hastings coat of arms was one of the first created. Its romantic origin centers on an ancestor of Emma de Hastings -- Hugh de Hastings of Barawell. He received Barawell upon marriage to Erneburga de Flamville. Shortly after 1130 A.D., Hugh was in a jousting tournament. He carried a plain gold shield without any markings. Hugh noticed other knights displayed favors from their wives or sweethearts. He approached his wife in the stands and asked for a favor that would bring him luck. Having nothing suitable on hand, Lady Erneburga is said to have torn off the sleeve of her gown and draped it over the shield of her husband. Shortly after that, the Hastings Sleeve had became the Hastings coat of arms. It is not known if the sleeve brought Hugh de Hastings luck in the tournament.

3The elder John, 4th Lord Hastings, was captured at Rochel and upon making his way back to England, he died mysteriously -- possibly poisoned by his Spanish captors before being realeased. He was survived by his son from his second marriage, also called John (d.1391), 5th Lord Hastings. Young John died at 17 while tilting at Sir John St. John. After an unlucky slip of St. John’s lance, John was wounded so severly in the abdomen that he died almost instantly.

4Please see "ancient ancestors" under the family trees to gain a better understanding of the complexities of these English-Norman lines of descent.

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