Hastings families of the 12th century: what is known and what is not

Summary . This two-part article is written by me, Andrew Lancaster, begun in 2014 with the hope of assisting genealogical and historical research. But to make sure it does not simply add to confusion, fellow researchers are asked to record it as a source if they find something new (including new ways of putting things) that they wish to use, and to include this information when passing on that information to others (as should be done with all sources). Please also note that because it is intended to be improved when possible, the text will change over time, and therefore you should consider recording the date of accessing it in your notes. Keeping in mind the aim of informing, rather than confusing, anyone with constructive feedback and suggestions is also requested to contact me.

To jump to the second webpage, click here. It goes into more detail about the Hastings family of Fillongley, Warwickshire and Ashill, Norfolk, hereditary dapifers of Bury and holders of the royal office of "naperie". But they are already discussed below, in part I also.

I have had helpful correspondence, but one person in particular who should be thanked is Rosie Bevan, whose experience and knowledge helped me improve both webpages.

Aims and methods.

Hastings arms

The noble English-based Hastings families of the 13th to 15th centuries are much studied and discussed, but any survey of genealogical discussions from the first printed books on such matters, right through until today's internet, shows that the question of their origins in the 11th and 12th centuries is a long-term source of confusion and frustration. Progress, though inevitably slow in such matters, has been real in this case, but the very intensity of published discussion (now exponentially increased by the internet) creates its own confusions. Some of the most respected published authorities writing in the modern era disagree about basic points, and students of this family therefore find it hard to ascertain what is known, and what is not. It therefore seemed worthwhile to attempt to make a new summary of the best evidence and arguments available.

Concerning sourcing for this webpage, there are short in-line references to standard works, and to the small number of key works in the bibliography. (Any authors or pages numbers appearing without explanation should be traceable there.) There are also some footnotes where detail would distract. But given the aims described above I have tried to be thorough about most sourcing discussions in the body of the text. Apart from simply trying to explain the latest ideas and what is most likely, which would just add to the clamour of theories all over the internet, I have made it a mission to try to compare and explain the most important publications of modern authorities, so that their contexts can be understood. For example, an attempt is made to explain the different reference numbers used by different authors for the same old documents.

Names were variable in the 12th century, making identification of individuals difficult and discussion confusing because different modern authors have different favourite ways of referring to people with such flexible names. So for easy reference, names in bold are the standardized ones used by Katherine Keats-Rohan for individual entries in her two books Domesday People (DP) and Domesday Descendants (DD). I have also been able to refer to the related COEL database which gives more insight into the reasoning behind those two books, and helps compare that reasoning to a broader literature.

The starting point for work has been to study the Hastings family of Little Easton in Essex, and from there, to move towards their relationship (by marriage it seems) to the Hastings dapifers of Bury. As will be shown, this second family also had connections to Warwickshire and Leicestershire. They are the subject of a more detailed discussion in a second webpage. Not considered are the "Hasteng" family of Hastings Leamington (also in Warwickshire); the "Hastings or Eton" family of Eaton Hastings in Berkshire; nor any Sussex Hastings families including the apparent family found in Sussex and Essex in Domesday (see the second "Willelm de Hastings" in DD), and also the family of "Ingelran de Ou" (DP), probable sheriff of Hastings itself, whom Keats-Rohan says probably had descendents with the Hastings surname mentioned in the cartulary of Ramsey, and possessing land in Huntingdonshire, for example in Gidding and Liddington.

A note for those interested in heraldry. I have placed one of the most simple and famous versions of the Hastings arms here, or a maunch gules (gold background with a red sleeve on it), but it is worth noting what Clark remarked in the 19th century: first, the maunch was apparently not used by the 12th century Hastings barons of Little Easton (their de Louvain heirs seemed unaware of any arms at all for their Hastings forbears in that barony); and second, that they look very similar to the de Flamville arms from Leicestershire, a family which married in the 12th century to the Hastings family of Warwickshire and Leicestershire. One of the ultimate aims of the following discussion is to determine what links if any there were between these two Hastings families.

1. The Barony of Little Easton.

It is useful to begin with the Hastings family around whom the most disagreement and confusion in published authorities has centred in the twentieth century, partly so that we can get past this subject and make sure that other questions are not forgotten, such as those which potentially connect the 12th century to the more easily traceable 13th century. To make it clear, I do fear that interesting subjects are being forgotten, but we must deal with those which capture the attention first.

The Domesday Book generation

This barony evolved from part of the holdings registered in the Domesday book of 1086 as being held by Walter the deacon. It is first referred to in the 12th century (around 1177 according to Clarence Smith p.2) as simply the Barony of Robert de Hastings, but it came to be named after one of its parts, the Barony of Little Easton. This Easton was sometimes then called Eystan ad Turrim because there are many places named something like "Easton" in England, and this one had a tower. This is in the hundred of Dunmow in Essex, and was the part of the barony which became its "caput" (or "head") by the time that such things become tolerably clear. By the 13th century, the Hastings family had been and gone here, replaced by a branch of the de Louvain family (apparently from Louvain in Belgium) one of whom had married the last Hastings heiress in 1299.

Keats-Rohan names Walter's entry in her Domesday People, "Walter Diaconus". We can say very little with any certainty about Walter, including whether he was Norman or Anglo-Saxon. For example one argument for him being a Norman, is simply that he held a lot of land in 1086. (See for example Clark p.121.) As pointed out to me by Rosie Bevan, another reason he is probably Norman is his name. Nevertheless, he clearly had strong connections to some of the local English families, as can be seen by examining what information we have. Many Anglo-Saxon families who managed to continue holding lands also had Church connections, something which Normans and Anglos-Saxons shared a respect for, and as will be seen, this deacon's family (like many Norman and Anglo-Saxon families) had such links.

Around 1086, this Walter was a reasonably well-endowed tenant-in-chief in Essex and Suffolk. He also had under-tenancies in that area, as well as individual manors held "in chief" (directly from the King) in Dorset (Cerne) and Gloucestershire (Sezincote, in Celfledetorn hundred), further away in the west of south England. Both of these remoter holdings had been held in 1066 by a man with the common Anglo-Saxon name of Godwin. Dodwell (p.145) points out that the barony later included both Sezincote and if not Cerne itself, Godmanston, 2.5 miles from Cerne and not distinguished in the Domesday Book. Clarence Smith (p.112) suggests not only that this must have be the same Godwin in both places, but also that the later name Godmanston is derived from his name. His reasoning is that the two places continued to be linked. As late as 19 Edward III, 1345, they were counted together (Clarence Smith p.1).

Some of Walter's lands belonged, or had belonged, to his brother named Theodric (or Tedric), who was probably dead before 1086. This brother may or may not then be the same as the "antecessor" of Walter (either ancestor or predecessor) who was called Theodric, and who was also mentioned in at least one place in the Domesday accounts, "Weledana" in Stowmarket. Walter may in other words simply have come to hold the lands of a dead elder brother. On the other hand Theodric (modern French Thierry, modern English Terry, or Derek as Clarence Smith preferred to call him) may have been the name of younger brother, whose lands Walter held as a guardian. More complex options are also possible. Walter may indeed have had two close relatives named Theodric, one younger, one older, and one being Walter's brother - a father and a brother, or a brother and a nephew for example. So Clark (p.129) proposed for Walter not only a more certain brother named Tedric, but also a less certain father with the same name. And with a different solution Keats-Rohan suggests that Walter's more certain brother ("Theodric [ ]" DP) might be the dead predecessor, who had a less certain son of the same name who was still alive in 1086. She describes him primarily as the Domesday tenant of Peter de Valognes ("Petrus de Valognes" DP, a Norman) in Saxlingham, alive in 1086 (so either the record is an anachromism for the father, or refers to a son). This idea apparently derives from Dodwell, but Dodwell's ideas were also developed by Clarence Smith.

That there was a surviving line from Theoderic seems confirmed by the evidence recited by Dodwell and Clarence Smith. Clarence Smith (p.113), while questioning the wording of his predecessor Dodwell on this matter, nevertheless agrees on a basic point which Keats-Rohan also apparently accepts:
Although it is unfortunately not true to say that "in Domesday Book the lands which Theoderic had held were carefully distinguished from those of his brother," it is true that nothing specifically ascribed to Theoderic or Derek passed to Walter's descendants; and it would be legitimate to guess, even in the absence of all other evidence, that whatever did not pass to Walter's descendants belonged to Derek, Walter being merely in charge during the minority of his heir.

At the resignation of William de Bacton in favour of his maternal uncle Roger de Valoignes, the Bishop enfeoffed the latter to hold these fees "as well as ever did Teodericus or his son Hugh." It is therefore quite clear that Derek had been succeeded by his son Hugh; and since William de Bacton had a brother Hugh de Bacton, a monk, it is possible that William was also a son of Derek, having succeeded on his brother's accepting the tonsure.

Keats-Rohan refers to William of Bacton as "William de Bachetun" (DD), and he was a grandson of "Petrus de Valonges" (DP), through his mother "Muriel de Valognes" (DD) and her first husband, whose name is never mentioned in contemporary documents. This first husband was therefore probably either Theoderic himself, or a son. Apart from Hugh son of Theodric, and William of Bacton, she also lists another apparent descendant as "Willelm filius Theoderici" (DD) who witnessed the foundation charter of Binham. (Rosie Bevan suggests to me that William de Bacton and William son of Theodoric are probably the same person. See her Medieval Genealogy post from 2004.) These holdings of Theoderic, eventually equating to 13 knights fees in Norfolk and Suffolk, became the Honour of Bacton.

The Domesday book records that some of Walter's and Theodric's lands had been held at the conquest in 1066 by a man with the common Anglo-Saxon name of Leuuin (which is the normal Norman representation of Anglo-Saxon Leofwin), who was specifically described as a King's thegn or freeman "of Bacton". Dodwell thinks all Walter's holdings which came from Leuuin were Theoderic's, and although not all are specifically named this way in Domesday, Clarence Smith thinks this a reasonable supposition, partly with an eye upon the fact that they also all descended together not to the Barony of Little Easton, but into the Honour of Bacton, which as explained above became a possession of the de Valognes. As shown above, this was held by William de Bacton under the Bishop of Norwich, though at Domesday they had been held direct from the King. (As Rosie Bevan points out to me, William is known to have owed 80 marks to the Bishop which had 8 fees as pledge. The subsequent transfer to Roger de Valognes of 13 fees would be because Roger paid the Bishop.) Despite the Domesday book implying otherwise, the Bishop claimed to be overlord back to the time of Theoderic and Hugh, so there is some chance that William of Bacton had not inherited from Theoderic and his son Hugh, but it seems very unlikely (Dodwell p.157, Clarence Smith p.114). Clarence Smith (p.114) even speculates it as a possibility that Leuuin was the father of both Walter the deacon and Theoderic (Derek, Tedric) his brother. If so then Theoderic received his father's lands, and they were more valuable. Dodwell (p.147) lists what she considers the lands of Lewin, which came to the honour, as Bacton, Milden, Witnesham, and Brunton in Suffolk, and Purleigh, Colne and probably Bowers Giffard in Essex.

What apparently stayed in Walter's family, his own core lands as opposed to Theodric's, were 7 manors equating to 10 knights fees, which is the future barony of Little Easton (Clarence Smith p.119). The way the manors were counted were four in Essex (Little Easton, Wix, Little Bromley and Little Chesterford), two in Suffolk (Bildeston and Swilland), and one in Dorset (Godmanston). Sezincote in Gloucestershire was not separately counted (Clarence Smith p.1), and there were probably other properties which also did not count as manors. Five of these seven manors had been held by the Anglo-Saxon Queen Edith, widow of King Edward the Confessor. She had been one of the greatest landholders in England but in Wix, in Tendring hundred, it is specified that the old Queen granted this to Walter after the conquest. Later charters of his children mention that he possessed the house and gardens surrounding the church at Wix. Based upon the use of the names Edith and Alexander for children, still very unusual at the time, Clarence Smith wonders (p.112)  if Walter the deacon married an Anglo-Saxon lady, as the name Alexander was then probably associated with St Margaret, queen of Scotland, as she also had children with these names a little earlier, and her court was well connected to the old defeated Anglo-Saxon nobility. According to Clarence Smith, St Margaret was a source of inspiration for people looking for names for their children. And because Walter's son Alexander, though not his eldest son, inherited from his daughter Edith, as we will see below, Clarence Smith suggests that these two and also their brother Walter Maskerel shared this Scotland-watching mother, who must have been a second wife. Query. The logic of Clarence Smith actually seems to imply that Walter Maskerel, as the elder brother in this group, can not have had the same mother, for he did have an heir as will be seen below.

Apart from Godwin, Leuuin, Theodric, and Queen Edith, there was one more known predecessor of Walter's Domesday holdings (at least just sticking to the manors held in chief). Little Easton itself had been held by someone named Dodinc, who Clarence Smith says appears nowhere else in Domesday.

pedigree 1. A tentative pedigree for the 11th century generations

Walter and derek

A controversy

A famous debate exists concerning the next generation after Walter, which possibly attracts more attention today than it deserves. It arises because the next man known to be holding this barony, Robert, is thought by some to have sometimes been described in his own lifetime not with any Hastings surname, like his descendants, but as Robert "of Windsor" (with the many spelling variants of the time such as de Windelshore, or Windresore and so on). Keats-Rohan for example, in her entry for him in Domesday Descendants, uses the name "Robert de Windresor", although she mentions that in family charters relating to his succession he is called Robert fitz Walter (Robert son of Walter). As will be discussed further below, it seems reasonable to doubt that he was ever called Robert of Windsor in any document, but in a much-cited charter of 1128, which exists in two later transcribed forms, King Henry I refers to him in Latin as "Robertus filius Walteri de Wyndesora" This could simply be read as a description "Robert son of Walter, of Windsor", or "Robert, son of Walter of Windsor". In this period there always have to be doubts that words like the "son of Walter" or the "of Windsor" were being used as a heritable surname, or just descriptions, but this is a possibility. The charter said that he had died and that William, son of this Robert, had been rendered his father's lands by the king. (When looking at collections of royal charters from this period and region, such as that of Farrer's itinerary of Henry I, it seems likely that such a specific name was needed because of possible confusion with other men who might have been Robert, and whose father might have been Walter. One such, though a bit too young to be confused with this one, was for example the founder of a famous de Chesney family, "Willelm filius Robert de Caisneto" (DD).)

This charter is found copied in the Calendar of Charter Rolls, Vol.II, p.137. The date of the inspeximus was 2 March 1270, Westminster, and two versions are given, one by Henry I shows Maurice de Windesore as a witness. Landon (p.175, n.3) informs that the original date was 1128 based upon William Farrer's Itinerary of Henry I, p.124, wherein charter 579 is an English translation of this announcement. The second old charter in the inspeximus is according to Clarence Smith (p.106) by Henry II. Farrer also informs that there was another inspeximus of this record 10 April 1336, as shown p.249 of the Calendar of Patent Rolls, for Edward III, Vol.3. Clarence Smith (p.107) explains that the original charter also survives, Harleian manuscript 43, c.22, published in facsimile in Warner and Ellis (1903) as plate 39; Bishop No. 376).

A widespread confusion arises because a Walter "of Windsor" did exist (although he was probably never named this way). John Horace Round, especially in the second part of his 1902 article on the "Origin of the Fitzgeralds," insisted that Robert must be a son of this Walter fitz Other ("Walter filius Other" DP), who held the castle of Windsor for the Norman king, and whose sons and descendents were often understandably referred to as being "of Windsor". (But Clarence Smith, p.107, points out that "even Round does not claim that Walter fitz Other ever called himself de Windsor".) But this raises a question of why Walter the Deacon would make the son of another man his heir when he had, as we shall see, sons of his own. Indeed, Walter fitz Other himself had another heir, "William filius Walteri filii Otheri" (DD). (See for example the first part of Round's Fitzgerald article. The barony of this family is referred to as the barony of Eton, in Sanders (pp.116-7) for example.) The only way to explain it according to Clarence Smith (p.105) would be forfeiture whereby, as a "gesture of reconciliation", the king effectively demoted Walter and his male line, putting in a new man above him, who as an "act of reconcilation" married a daughter of Walter. (In this case Clarence Smith finds it difficult to accept that this Robert de Windsor, not known from other records, would be so highly favoured with his marriage. For example a highly favoured man, Maurice de Windsor, married a younger sister.)

Round's thinking on this matter was apparently strongly connected to a well-known article, which he published that same year, on "Castle Guard". Round showed how the barony of Little Easton owed castle guard to Windsor. So although the Little Easton Hastings family held directly of the king, in another way they were answerable to the Windsor castellan family, giving the barony of Little Easton an association with that castle. The Red Book of the Exchequer, Vol. II pp.716-7, is one of the only clear records remaining of the make-up of a castle guard barony from this period. It shows that Matthew de Louvain, the heir to the Hastings barons of Little Easton in the 13th century, was one of the major castle ward tenants of Windsor, holding 10 knights fees. 10 knights fees is the same as the barony reported in the Cartae Baronem in the mid 12th century for his Hastings forbears. If I understand correctly, in the time of Robert castle duty would still have involved real duties and a physical presence at the castle in the early period. That would seem to give a possible explanation for the use of this second name in this specific Essex barony (Clarence Smith p.107), because the men of the Little Easton family had to work and fight for the men of the Windsor family. But designations such "de Windresore" can not be assumed to be inheritable family names in the early 12th century, and certainly not in the family we are discussing. Nevertheless, Round was scathing and dismissive of the 1869 attempt of G. T. C. Clark to argue (as had Eyton before him) that Robert was the son of the Deacon, and authors in following generations such as Landon, Moriarty, Sanders, and Dodwell seem very reluctant to disagree with the great Round, even though especially Landon and Moriarty pointed readers to doubts about the arguments presented by Round.

In the 21st century one of our most well-known contemporary authorities for these generations, Katherine Keats-Rohan, has taken a strong position in favour of the Deacon as father of Robert, in disagreement with Round. Unfortunately, for a large part of the genealogically-inclined public, the reasons for accepting such a position seem not to be well understood. In fact, the most complete statement for this position, which took into account all the previous authors, had been published by Clarence Smith, but this is not available on the internet, and apparently not widely known. Some of the details of Keats-Rohan's position can be gleaned by comparing entries in her Domesday Descendants, especially for the second names "de Windesore", "de Wikes", "Mascerel" and "de Hastings", but she also gave some specific (but short) explanations in both the forward of Domesday Descendants (which includes a Hastings pedigree), and a Prosopon newsletter about early baronies where she disagrees with the standard work of Sanders. It behooves us nevertheless to explain how strong the case is that Round is wrong and Keats-Rohan is right, because:
  1. The well-known printed reference works of Keats-Rohan are in a specific format, containing short statements about individuals who can be identified from a certain set of documents in a certain period.
  2. The two books also do not present exhaustive sourcing or arguments, which are however somewhat more traceable in the COEL CD-ROM. 
  3. Keats-Rohan's own printed statements on this issue have for better or worse tended to focus on one particular aspect of evidence which is open to debate. The following quotation is presented as the core argument:
The relationship is established by the fact that Henry II’s charter giving the stewardship of Bury to William his dispencer is very specific in its description of the relationships between William and his predecessors in the office. William’s immediate predecessor was his paternal uncle (patruus) Ralph I of Hastings, a son of Robert fitz Walter; Ralph of Hastings had inherited the office from his maternal uncle (avunculus) Maurice of Windsor (his mother’s brother who had probably derived his right through his wife Edith).

The charter being referred to is for example reproduced as Bury charter 89 (Douglas ed.).

Henricus rex Anglorum et dux Normannorum et Aquietanorum et comes Andegauorum archiepiscopis. episcopis. comitibus. baronibus. iustic'. uicecomitibus. et ministris et omnibus hominibus suis francis et anglis salutem. Sciatis me concessisse et carta mea confirmasse Willelmo de Hastyngs dispensatori meo dapiferatum sancti Edmundi. Quare uolo quod idem Willelmus et heredes eius habeant et teneant dapiferatum illum bene et integre et in pace cum omnibus pertinenciis eius in liberacionibus et feodis et innominatim cum Legata et Bluneham et aliis locis et rebus eidem dapiferatui pertinentibus sicut Radulfus patruus eius eum melius habuit et tenuit uel Mauricius auunculus suus eiusdem Radulfi. Testibus. Willelmo Malet dapifero. lose [sic] de Baillol. Alano de Nouilla. Willelmo de Lanuolei. Hugone de Loncamp'. Hugone de Gondeuilla. Hugone de Piris. Waltero de Donstanuilla. Roberto filio Bernardi. Per manum Stephani capellani et cantoris mei. Apud Porcestram.

It seems that letting the published explanations rely on this later royal charter has left doubts amongst well-informed readers concerning the link between Walter the Deacon and Robert. Is this evidence strong enough to disagree with someone as famous as Round? The doubts seem easy to explain:

1. This is a philological explanation which relies on the use in this charter of two distinct words for uncle, one paternal and one maternal. However, the word avunculus was not always used to strictly refer to maternal uncles, but could also mean "uncle" more generally, like the modern English word. A very relevant example is that Robert's own son William referred to Walter Mascerel and Alexander of Wix as avunculi (Landon p. 175, citing charter A.5275; also Clark p.124). Whereas Round would say they were maternal uncles, in this case Keats-Rohan would say that they were actually paternal uncles. Undoubtedly we must consider that in the document Keats-Rohan relies upon, the two words, patruus and avunculus, are together in one document made for Henry II. So the words appear to be used in a precise and considered way. A weak counter argument still exists however, because it appears possible that the word choices of this charter might have partly been decided by looking at older charters about the descent of this stewardship. We can compare charter 87 in Douglas' edition of Bury charters, granting to Ralph of Hastings that which had been held by "Mauricii de Windelsore auunculi sui". The later royal charter, focussed upon by Keats-Rohan (charter 89), could be read as repeating the old one when it says that Maurice had been avunculus to Ralph de Hastings. In any case, can we be sure that the composer of this wording felt certain they were using exact terminology, as opposed to simply an old authority?

Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to be believe the word selection in this charter was intended to mean something, at least concerning the relationships between the people mentioned in it. And indeed the relevance of this charter's two types of uncles was apparently first noted by Eyton, and in this he was followed by Clark and Moriarty, and this is the basis of pedigree 6 below. But is it relevant to the question of Robert and Walter? And is it strong enough to be certain that Round was wrong?

2. The second and more important problem with this way of presenting the argument for Robert fitz Walter being the son of the deacon is that this charter only gives indirect evidence on that point. The charters about the dapifership of Bury do not mention Robert, or his father Walter, or anything directly related to the Barony of Little Easton, and so everything seems to hang upon the assertion of Keats-Rohan that the person she calls "Ralph II of Hastings" (DD), who we shall discuss below, was a son of Robert fitz Walter (DD "Robert de Windresor"). In short, in order to use this charter to define the relationship between Robert and Walter, we need to know how these dapifers of Bury themselves related to Robert and Walter, but there is at least some room for doubt concerning the relationship between the Hastings families of the lords of Little Easton (pedigrees 2-5 below), and the stewards of Bury (see pedigrees 6-8 below). Indeed, as I will explain, Keats-Rohan's understanding of this relationship is unique, and hard to justify.

Other evidence is however available, which can allow us to first try to establish the descent of the Barony of Little Easton, before returning to the subject of the above-mentioned dapifers, William, Ralf and Maurice. The evidence was presented in the 19th century Hastings articles of Clark, which were so vigorously (but not rigorously) attacked by Round. Pedigrees 2 and 3, define what is relatively uncontroversial about the relations of Walter and Robert respectively, using charter evidence which Clark started to gather in the 19th century, but which (less well-known amongst genealogists) has been substantially improved upon in the late 20th century by Landon, Dodwell and Clarence Smith. After defining these as starting points, we can try to close the case concerning the father of Robert fitz Walter, by adding pedigree 4 which allows to link the first two, giving us pedigree 5. The evidence from legal records presented in pedigree 4 was already given by Clark. Remaining doubts, including those explained by Barbara Dodwell in 1960 (see Bibliography), will be noted where relevant. However, Clarence Smith's more recent articles (1966 and 1967) contained replies to those concerns which supports the following summary.

Keats-Rohan cites Dodwell, who she apparently disagrees with on this point, but possibly she was not be aware of Clark's and especially Clarence Smith's articles, which do agree with her.

pedigree 2. Walter the Deacon and the children named as such in charters (none of whom took over his lordship)

Note: The lords of the barony in each generation will be distinguished by being in shaded boxes.


Notes for this pedigree.

1. The fact that Walter the Deacon had three known children has been treated as certain by authors since the time of Philip Morant, but in the 20th century, Dodwell found reason to doubt he was their father. Various charters summarised by Clark, Landon, Dodwell, Clarence Smith and others uncontroversially confirm that Walter Maskerel, Alexander de Waham (or "Valham", or of Wix) and a sister named Edith were siblings and benefactors to the nuns at Wix. Especially useful are a series of them concerning a house and lands surrounding the church at Wix, which had belonged to their father, but the oldest of these documents do not name the father. Discussion is required to consider the evidence for the father's name:
In general, both Brooks and Dodwell acceept that the "forgeries" were probably simply copies commissioned by the nuns because of extensive damage to their important deeds. What was forged were the seals and other evidence of the documents being original. But specifically in the case of Walter the deacon they propose that something might have been added, and in particular one of those things is the name of Walter the deacon, who is, they note, actually referred to here as Walter the dean (decanus), not the deacon (diaconus) as in the Domesday book. Brooks (p.53) even argues that the name might simply "have been invented in the 1190s" and the basis of this position is that it "gives a very inflated list of privileges and exemptions". In other words, in this one case he thinks the nuns really inserted new information fraudulently, and Dodwell (p.150) apparently accepted this. Clarence Smith finds this logic defective, saying that such an insertion could have served no purpose in the 1190s, and that "it is surely an exagerration to say that 'it gives a very inflated list of privileges and exemptions' " (p.104). Concerning the insertion of Walter's name, he proposes that an example of a simple explanation would be that Alexander, "alive in 1157 but an old man", took advantage of the fact that Henry II was writing a new confirmation, of which the original is now lost (and which "does not purport to follow the exact words of its predecessors"), in order to "rescue his father from the oblivion of anonymity".

2. The husbands of Edith are important to the overall story, and also require detailed explanation. Two proposals made in the 20th century have now received apparent acceptance, but the evidence is not apparently well-known. The apparent identity of "Edith soror Alexandri de Wikes" (DD) (the one who plead to Alexander that he mentions in Bacton Charter 10) and the Edith (or Egidia) who married "Maurice de Windresor" (DD) seems to have been first noted by Landon, and for example G. A. Moriarty adapted his conclusions after reading Landon, publishing a second Hastings article in the New England Historical Genealogical Register. Dodwell, Clarence Smith and Keats-Rohan also accept this suggestion. Apart from the coincidence of name (which apparently appears in very varied forms in the original documents), the coincidence of an interest in Wix is not conclusive because other people "of Windsor" were also benefactors in the 12th century (see Clark, and also Dugdale's Monasticon IV p.513), and also being called "of Windsor" was not necessarily a family name. The evidence really has to be sought in charters again. That Edith had first married Maurice's predecessor as dapifer of Bury, known simply as Ralph the dapifer12., was apparently first proposed by Dodwell, and is accepted by Clarence Smith and Keats-Rohan. That one of them was probably related to Ralph had been noted at least since Eyton.
So it seems Edith did not have Purleigh because it belonged to Walter the deacon (as part of his brother Theodric's lands), but rather because it was granted to her and her first husband. To show that Alexander of Waham was also the brother of this Edith we need to look at charters about these lands after Maurice and Edith's time.
As it seems Edith and Maurice had no children themselves, and as it also seems that Alexander de Waham had a sister Edith, the solution proposed by Landon, and accepted since then, is that Alexander is the brother and heir of Edith the wife of Maurice. As Clarence Smith remarks, this implies that Alexander and Edith, who had at least one older brother, must have shared a different mother.

Note: So far I have summarised the descent of two sets of property, (1) being the gardens and house around the church in Wix, and (2) being related to Purleigh, specifically concerning its tithes and the Isle (apparently) of Northey, which apparently ended up in the hands of another Hastings family. The family charters and their various confirmations also mention (3) 20 acres in Wix which had once been held by a priest named Algar (A.5273, A.13897). This was apparently first a grant of Alexander de Wikes, which later passed to Ralph de Hastings of Wix (who is not the same Ralph as the older man who was heir to Maurice as dapifer, as shall be shown). Another donation (4), which we can track is 10 shillings worth of land in Fratinges (AS.316, A.13897). These were originally possibly granted by Walter, Alexander and Edith together, but later they also came to Ralph de Hastings of Wix, who called his predecessor Alexander de Wicha (Clarence Smith pages 10-11). (5) Is a third of the manor of Wix, which Clarence Smith interprets as a third of a half fee, or a 6th of a knight's fee. Clarence Smith (p.10, p.101) understands the manor as a whole to have been held in two moieties by Walter de Maskerel and Alexander de Waham, but that after the death of the second Walter, Wix became a manor of half a fee. Alexander granted a third of his part to his wife as her dowry. Later it seems the two parts, now valued at half a fee, descended to Ralf de Hastings of Wix, and from him to his heirs. (6) Are the lands Alexander acquired himself, outside the barony (Clarence Smith pages 12-13). These also passed to Ralph, and can be traced to his heirs.

3. Further notes for the above pedigree.
Many charters remark that Walter and Alexander were uncles (avunculi) to William fitz Robert, lord of Little Easton in the mid 12th century. But we delay discussion of that link until we can give evidence about whether they were paternal or maternal uncles.

pedigree 3. The lords of the Barony of Little Easton, after Walter the Deacon

No charter evidence says which Walter was the father of Robert fitz Walter, and so to begin with we examine the charter evidence for his family in isolation.

little Easton

Notes for this pedigree.

1. Robert in the first generation.

There are very few near-contemporary documents mentioning Robert directly. I have mentioned above that I have doubts that he was ever referred to by the name Keats-Rohan uses in her entry for him in Domesday Descendants"Robert de Windresor". But (as already discussed) in a much-cited charter of 1128, which exists in two later transcribed forms, King Henry I refers to him in Latin as "Robertus filius Walteri de Wyndesora". Clarence Smith (p.107) says that the only other clear mention of him is in the Curia Regis rolls, some generations later, wherein he is once called "de Estanes" and once "de Hastings". There are several cases of Robert de Windsors as witnesses in charters in the 12th century for this family, but most of them are too late for this Robert, and clearly represent a younger man of that name. See for example Bury charter 138 (estimated 1148-1156). While Keats-Rohan speculates that this Robert, who she calls "Robert de Windresor II" (DD), might represent a branch of the deacon's family who kept using the name Windsor, he is in any case likely to be another kinsman to Maurice, and/or probably also related to the Windsor family who were tenants under the barony of Little Easton in Swilland, as shown in the Red Book of the Exchequer for 1166 (p.358). (Clarence Smith believed the Swilland de Windsors to have a confirmable connection to the family of the castellans.)

Keats-Rohan only cites two Bury charters 108 and 109 (both estimated 1114-1119), as documents where a Robert de Windsor is a witness who she thinks might be this one. They are versions of the granting of Maurice de Windsor of the Bury dapifership. They also have a Reinald de Windsor as witness. Another from a similar time we can add is A.8923, which was the grant of this same Maurice and his wife Edith to Wix of lands and tithes from her inheritance (discussed above). But because all these grants involved Maurice de Windsor it is hard to feel confident that this is not simply a member of Maurice's family, about which we know more-or-less nothing. Clarence Smith (p.111) says that concerning the first and apparently the earliest of these, the "natural assumption would be that Reinald and Robert were brothers of Maurice". (However if they were brothers, then the descent of the dapifership to a sister's son was not by inheritance, but rather by fresh grant, decided by the see of Norfolk. This is possible. And indeed Edith seems to have had some special status in this inheritance as she is consistently mentioned in grants by both her husbands.) As to whether this Reinald is a member of the castellan's family, as suggested by Round and accepted by Keats-Rohan, Clarence Smith seems correct to say that there is "no evidence whatever" for this "except Round's Harleian Roll" (made in 1582, see Clarence Smith p.3), and "Round, who so castigated the unfortunate Clark for uniting all the Hastings families into one, has committed the same sin with his Windsors". It is a seperate matter that Round and Keats-Rohan also believe that this Reinald may have been a steward of Queen Adeliza (Round, Keats-Rohan DD "Rainald de Windresor", Clarence Smith p.111, n. 192), because this in itself would not make Rainald a member of the castellan's family. Maurice himself clearly was in favour at court (Clarence Smith p.105), whoever he was.

2. William fitz Robert in the second generation.

Landon (p.176) notes one charter (A.13893) where William the son of Robert, as he was apparently usually called, was more specifically named as "William fitz Robert de Hastings". As Clarence-Smith points out, this charter is a copy of A.13883 with differences. His children used the Hastings name more consistently, but not always, with Robert his son often being referred to as Robert de Aistan or Aiston (Landon p.177). Keats-Rohan's selection of the name "Willelm de Hastings" (DD) to refer to William the son of Robert, is therefore once again a choice of name which does not seem to represent contemporary records well. Keats-Rohan (COEL) cites examples of this name but all could be her "Willelm de Hastings Dispensator" (DD), the eventual heir to the dapifership once held by Maurice de Windsor. That William had inherited the dapifership by 1162 (Clarence Smith p.110 n.186), but he was already of age and serving the king before then. Keats-Rohan admits (in the latter entry) difficulty in defining distinct records that must be William fitz Robert referred to as "de Hastings". If we follow Clarence Smith and Landon's interpretation that is because there are very few if any. Here are the sightings mentioned by Keats-Rohan, where this William may have used the name "de Hastings":
A.5266, originally Cartae Antiquae L.2.31.6 (wrongly cited by Clark p.124 as L.2.31.7 according to Clarence Smith), is a doubtful case where a William de Hastinkes appears as a witness, but apparently after William fitz Robert died. If it is not the dispensator of the King, I wonder if it could be Alexander's son William, who evidently died young, but whose story seems unclear. According to Clarence Smith this can not be the son of Alexander, because as a living heir these grants to Ralph should not have been possible. We can add that there is no evidence his father or anyone in his ancestry used the surname Hastings. So perhaps more likely it is the dapifer of Bury and dispensator to the king, who was heir to the heir of Maurice de Windsor, husband of Edith, who was Alexander's sister. As discussed above, his family had an interest in other inheritances that Alexander held, but which did not go to Ralph de Hastings of Wix. And he was apparently consistently referred to as William de Hastings. Clarence Smith (p.13) thinks it could be the lord William fitz Robert, despite the document being made "after the death of the Lord William". He speculates that the Lord William might be the King Henry I's son and heir, who died 1156 aged 4. (Less likely possibilities include "Willelm filius Walteri Decani" (DD) mentioned under pedigree 2, but as he probably died without heir. And Jocelin of Brokeland, in his Chronicle, also mentioned a "Willelmus de Hastinga" who was one of the brothers in Bury at the time of the election of Abbot Samson, in 1182.)

3. Helewise de Guerres.

The name of the wife of William fitz Robert, Helewise de Guerres, seems to have been first proposed by Landon, and this was accepted by Clarence Smith and Keats-Rohan. Her first name is recorded in several charters from Williams own lifetime (AS.301 = Bacton Charter 9, A.13984, A.13883, A.13893). But for her surname it was necessary to look at several documents after the death of William and her re-marriages.
4. Maud de Flamville.

Concerning Maud de Flamville being wife to Robert de Hastings, Landon (p.177, n.6) cites Monasticon vi, p.972, and p.1190 and Rotulus de Oblatis, p.537. Clark was aware of one of these records (p.244), but wrongly believed, based on comments of the early Essex historian Philip Morant, that Robert in the pedigree above was married to a Windsor heiress (p.131). It is already mentioned above that in 1219 she was along with her mother-in-law holding Bildeston under Godefrey de Louvain, but in Early Yorkshire Families pp.30-31 we also find that "in 1233-40, in her widowhood, she gave to St. Peter's York and the prebend in Dunnington the homage and service of Sir Godefrey de Louvain for land in Marton". (The source given is York Minster Fasti, i, 71 no.25.) Marton was the home ground of this Flamville family, and evidently the barony of Little Easton had some interest in it after this point. It is also remarked that in 1251 there was a dispute between the de Flamvilles and de Louvains about a free tenement in Norton. In 1231 Matilda de Flamvill and Matthew de Louvain, contested the advowson of Bildeston.

5. Richard de Hastings, his brother Alexander, and Ralph de Hastings in the generation of William fitz Robert.

Although Keats-Rohan only says that "Ricardus de Hastings" was "perhaps" a brother of William fitz Robert de Hastings, Landon and Clarence Smith inform us that a Richard is clearly named as such in the ancient deed A.13881. Richard was requesting that his brother William should grant land in Wix to Walter Maskerel son of their uncle Walter Maskerel. Furthermore there is a witness named Richard de Hastings who must be this same person. That makes him one of the first in the family to be found using the name de Hastings, and possibly the first. The Hastings surname will be discussed below.

The brother of a Richard de Hastings named Alexander is mentioned in a charter A.13760, discussed by Clarence Smith (p.102). This Richard de Hastings granted 20 acres in Bildeston to Wix, for "the salvation of the souls of my father and my mother and my own soul and the soul of my brother Alexander". No other mention is known of this Alexander, who Clarence Smith interprets as a brother of William fitz Robert. The charter also has a Ralph de Hastings, not described as a brother despite the nature of the grant, but appearing in a position before Alexander de Wikes. Ralph may be the same one who had one and a half knight's fees under William fitz Robert in 1159 (Red Book p.730), which Clarence Smith reasons to be in Bildeston. A Ralph and a Richard appear as witnesses in that order in Henry II's confirmation charter to Wix, A.13947. And Richard alone appears as witness to Henry II's further confirmations to various grants in A.5268. Clarence Smith inserts Ralph as a brother of William fitz Robert and his brother Richard. But he clearly had at least some doubts about this. Queries. Could it be relevant that Landon proposes that Robert fitz Walter's widow, who may have been the source of the Hastings surname, possibly settled in Bildeston?

This charter A.5268 (Clark p.123 and p.126 calls it Cartae Antiquae L.2.31.16, Clarence Smith also refers to it as Bishop No. 448) is one of the charters mentioned above concerning the grant to Wix of "Sydriches Hey". It seems therefore relevant that Brooke's charter 1, (E42/356 i) is a similar document which includes Richardo de Hastinges milite (soldier) as a witness, implying he was a knight. A difficulty arises (Clarence Smith p.103) because during the 12th century there was a Richard de Hastings who was Master of the Templars in England 1154-1180 and an important agent of church and government, and as such he could be expected to appear on some types of charters. Indeed it seems he was linked to a Ralph de Hastings, who granted the Templars Hurst in Yorkshire. It is not known which Hastings family Richard belonged to, but it is known that the Warwickshire Hastings also had a Richard (Dugdale thought him rector of Barwell in Leicestershire). Below it will be noted that a Richard associated with the Little Easton family is once apparently referred to as a Magister, which would normally mean a high level cleric in this context.

Concerning the templar, who could presumably be called both a knight and a master (magister), Charter 10, Gervers (1996), Cartulary of the Knights of St John, II. mentions him involved in a land grant to the Templars which came from a William de Hastings. Keats-Rohan associates this record with William de Hastings "the dispensator", but as Rosie Bevan points out to me, the templar was also involved with not only a Ralph de Hastings in Yorkshire (a name found in several Hastings families) but also a Robert de Hastings in Waterbeach Cambridgeshire, who is named specifically as a kinsman. The name Robert seems more typical of the Little Easton family in this period, and we can see how the Richard in this family, if he was the templar, had an important nephew named Robert.

6. Alice, Agnes and Emma, potential heiresses.

Keats-Rohan, proposes two sisters to William fitz Robert, Alice and Emma, apparently based on the lead of Landon (p.176) who mentions them as witnesses to A.13883 and A.13893, which Clarence Smith describes as copies with differences (p.10). These were confirmations by William fitz Robert, his wife Helewise, and their son and heir Robert, of the grant of Alexander de Waham of his wife's share of Wix to the nuns there. Clarence Smith (p.103) adds A.13780 as another charter relevant to these confirmations, and another, A.5266 where they witness a further grant from Alexander to Ralph "at Eistan after the death of William the lord".

With the extra evidence, Clarence Smith adds an extra lady, making it three: "Alice, wife of George; Agnes wife of Silvester; and Emma, wife of Walter de Exeter" (appearing in that order of seniority). The implication of their needing to witness this charter is that they had a potential claim on the properties being discussed, once Alexander de Waham (the grantor) died. Instead of being sisters, based on timing considerations, at least concerning the youngest one Emma, Clarence Smith thought it more likely that these ladies were actually daughters of William fitz Robert from a first sonless marriage (p.103). Dodwell, p.156, in her careful style, points out that Emma could even be a relative of Maurice de Windsor's heir, "Ralph II de Hastings" (DD discussed in pedigrees 6-8 below) again raising the question of whether Maurice had, in effect, several heirs. I wonder if it is really impossible that these three ladies might be daughters of Alexander who had been paid off to accept this sale (although then presumably the wording of the charter might have made this more clear). I also wonder, taking on board Clarence Smith's proposal that Alexander did not have the same mother as Robert fitz Walter, if they might not be nieces of Alexander who were more closely related to him than William fitz Robert (descended from his mother and father and not just from his father). On the other hand we have no evidence of the surname Hastings in Alexander's branch of the family, though it is used by Alice and Emma at least, and no evidence that Alexander had any closer relatives.

Concerning Emma, A.13859 is a grant by the son of an Emma de Hastings named Ranulf, also mentioning his sister Amabel. This Emma's seal says "(E)MMA ASTINGE" (Clarence Smith p.103). Landon, Clarence Smith and Keats-Rohan think this is the same Emma who was married to Walter de Excestre. Concerning this couple, Brook, p.56 says that Dodwell believed them to be parents of Ralph de Exon, one of the claimants to Wix found in Curia Regis cases versus Ralph de Hastings (see pedigree 4), and Clarence Smith agrees (p.7). (So Emma not only had a potential claim on Ralph's land in Wix, but her son apparently made a claim.) Dodwell (p.156 n.4) says that their heir took the name Alexander de Hastings, while their other children used versions of the father's name. Clarence Smith apparently read the evidence differently, saying their original heir was named Alexander de Exeter, citing A.13696, A.13697, and A.13698.

It seems remarkable that Ralph de Exon had a mill in Purleigh, the tithe and mulcture of which he granted to Wix priory (Brooke Charter 3, Dodwell p.156, n.3). Query. Could Ralph de Exeter be the same one who married Amabilis de Hastings? According to sources such as Douglas Richardson's Magna Carta Ancestors, a charter from Fowler Cartulary of the Abbey of Old Wardon, dated around 1200-1210, says that she had a mill in free marriage in Blunham. Blunham was one of the lands associated with Hastings family who were dapifers of Bury. Rosie Bevan believes this is the same Ralph, and that this marriage can be helpful in excluding some options - because it implies that Ralph and Emma can not have had the same recent direct ancestors due to the strictness of consanguinity rules at this time.

7. The children of William fitz Robert.
Robert de Hastings. Genealogists using old sources should keep in mind that Robert de Hastings' position in this tree is another area where, despite previous authors like Clark getting it right, the harsh judgement of Round concerning Clark kept people confused at least until Landon, and in fact the confusion continues. Round and other authors of the past (going back past Morant at least to a Tudor pedigree in 1582 which Round cited) were in the habit of claiming Robert married into this family (though ironically his wife's name was not known) bringing the Hastings surname with him. Both Sanders and the Complete Peerage followed Round without citing him. Landon (p.176) points to charters A.S.301, A.13883, A.13893, and A.13984 as examples where the son and heir of William fitz Robert and his wife Helewisa is named Robert de Hastings, and Landon points out (p.178) that this disagrees with Round. Clarence Smith (pages 4-5) takes a different approach to making this point, focussing on the evidence from the period where Robert de Hastings' mother had re-married, and he was still being referred to in ways that make it clear that this inheritance had come to him from his father.

Ralf de Hastings of Wix will be discussed further in the next pedigree, because he is an important character in the last phases of this 12th century family, and discussion of him can be usefully connected to the Curia Regis evidence. As an heir of his father's uncle Alexander de Waham he has also been discussed above.

Landon cites "Ancient Deed" A.13894 as a specific charter naming Ralf and John as brothers of Robert de Hastings, whereas another brother Alexander is according to Landon identified in A.13694. It is A.13694 which is cited by Keats-Rohan (DD "Robert de Hastings") for the names of these three brothers, plus also she adds another brother, William. Clarence Smith's detailed description of the contents of this charter (p.102) makes it clear that it can not have mentioned any William, especially if we consider that his article attempted to be comprehensive in going through the ancient deeds to fill in gaps. (And Clarence Smith would surely have mentioned such a William on p.13 when trying to explain a witness named William de Hastinkes.) Clarence Smith (p.102) describes A.13694 as a grant by an Alexander de Hastings, "with the consent of 'Robert my brother' of 20 acres in Purley to 'Ranulf my brother', which Ranulf had formerly held of 'my father' ". On this charter Richard Hastings "Magister" is a witness, and named as an avunculus, and "Ralph my brother" is the last witness. Query. Given that Purleigh is involved, might Ralf de Hastings heir of Maurice de Windsor somehow be involved with this family? How can Robert de Hastings be lord over these 20 acres?

So I have not included William de Hastings as a son of William fitz Robert above, although Keats-Rohan (and only Keats-Rohan) suggests it. She also suggests that Amabilis de Hastings who married Richard fitz Robert Foliot and Richard de Exeter was a daughter and I have also not included her. Amabilis had a mill in Blunham, Bedfordshire, which was one of the possessions held by the dapifers of Bury. Such difficulties in the Keats-Rohan Hastings pedigree are discussed below in pedigree 7. And the Hastings dapifers of Bury, the heirs of Maurice de Windsor who possessed Blunham etc are discussed further at length in the second section of the article.

Concerning Beatrice, Robert's sister, Landon cited A.13769, A.13770, and A.13771. (Keats-Rohan, mistakenly cites Monasticon vi, p.972, and p.1190 and Rotulus de Oblatis, p.537 concerning Beatrice, in the entry for her father"Willelm de Hastings" (DD). All three of these citations are in fact concerning Mathilde or Maud de Flamville, the wife of Robert de Hastings. The two sets of citations appear in nearby footnotes in Landon, and Keats-Rohan apparently inserted the wrong ones.) Clarence Smith (p.104) describes A.13770 as mentioning that Beatrice had a share in some land of her brother Robert in Westfirth, and he relates this to a Final Concord from Essex in 1198 or 1199: 10th year of Richard I (Essex No.45), Essex Feet of Fines I, p.14 and Pipe Rolls Society 24, No. 6, saying that this land "must have been the 12 acres between the land there of Ralph de Cornhill and Ralph de Hastings which she granted to the nuns of Wix, and which her son William Carbonel confirmed". Clarence Smith also makes it clear that her two husbands are mentioned in the other two charters mentioned by Landon, A.13769 and A.13771.

Concerning the first marriage of Robert's heiress Alicia, to Ralph de Cornhill, Landon (p.177) mentions the Calender of Charter Rolls Vol.2, p.138, Fines PRS Vol.17, A.D. 1191, and the Curia Regis Rolls, Vol.1, p.61, A.D. 1198; p.318, A.D. 1199. Concerning her second marriage to Godfrey de Louvain, Landon and Clark both cite Rot Obl., p.24; Clark also cites Hist. of Exch. I.515. Concerning Alicia's counter offer not to be married Landon cites Rot Obl., p.37, but apparently the marriage went ahead and a note quoted by Landon suggests that she got her money back. As usual, Clarence Smith gives much more detailed citations (pages 1 and 2).

pedigree 4. The lords of the Barony of Little Easton, including Wix, as described in the Curia Regis rolls (approximately 1199-1200)

From the charter evidence for pedigree 2 (for example A.5275, Clark's L2,31,10), it is known that William fitz Robert in pedigree 3 called Walter Mascherel and Alexander of Wix in the first pedigree his uncles (avunculi), and so it was long known that the first two pedigrees must connect. However, Clark showed in detail that a legal case reported in various entries of the Curia Regis rolls in the time of King Richard and King John allows us to have confidence that Robert was brother to Alexander Wix, as argued by Keats-Rohan. While Keats-Rohan does not mention this source, she is aware of the legal claims of Sewallis de Oseville through other sources such as Dodwell, as shown in her entry for "Alexander de Wikes" (DD), and his sister "Edith soror Alexandri de Wikes" (DD). As with the charter evidence, concerning these legal cases Clarence Smith delved into more detailed than his predecessors.

Curia Regis pedigree

Notes for this pedigree.

pedigree 5. Connecting the main parts of a pedigree for the Hastings family of the Barony of Little Easton.

The first two pedigrees can now be combined in a convincing and logical manner using the third one.
Deacon plus Easton

Notes for this pedigree.

Continuation of this family?

It is not clear that this particular Hastings family had any descendants who would have used the Hastings surname.

Concerning connections between this family and the later baronial line of Hastings families, see the next section.

2. The Hastings hereditary dapifers of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds.

Apart from the shared surname (the origins of which are unknown in both cases) Maurice de Windsor is the one known link between the Little Easton Hastings family discussed above, and the two most well-known Hastings families after the 12th century, Earls of Pembroke, and Earls of Huntingdon. He was related by marriage somehow. Whatever else they possessed, they were his heirs in his dapifership of Bury St Edmunds, and one of them called him an avunculus. Although there are various proposals concerning how else to connect the two Hastings families, none seem to have yet created a consensus. So we need to start with Maurice de Windsor and his heirs.

"Maurice de Windresor" (DD) was dapifer from about 1114-1119 until about 1155. He has been discussed already above as husband of Edith in pedigree 2. He is frequently assumed to be a son of Walter fitz Other, the castellan of Windsor castle, to whom the barons of Little Easton owed 10 knights fees of castle guard.11.  Maurice received Lidgate and Blunham, as part of his dapifership inheritance granted by Abbot Abbold between 1115 and 1119, and confirmed by King Stephen. In his grant, the abbot also added the 2 knights fees of lands that had belonged to Ivo de Gissing. Ralph de Hastings, heir to Maurice, still held the dapifership for 5 knights fees in 1166, and these 5 fees passed on to later Hastings, always linked to the dapifership.13.  These 5 knights fees under Bury were clearly not the only lands of Maurice. It is hard to track such things in his period, but Eyton (p. 136) pointed out that in 1130 he must have held lands in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Dorsetshire, Berkshire, and Middlesex, because he was excused from Danegeld in these counties in Pipe Rolls 31 Henry I (1130/31). Later, the charter confirming his inheritance going to Ralph de Hastings was addressed to the King's lieges in all those counties except the last three. From his dapifer lands we only know he had land in Norfolk, Suffolk and Bedfordshire.

"Ralph II de Hastings" (DD) was not included in the pedigree of the Hastings baronial line by Dugdale, and Eyton (followed by Clark and Moriarty) felt it worth remarking this point, because Ralph was clearly an important person who appears in many records. Presumably the reason is that none of those records directly mentions his father, mother, wife, siblings, nor any children. Dodwell appears to be the first to identify Ralph's wife as "Lescelina de Trailly" (DD), and Clarence Smith and Keats-Rohan accept this identification. Bacton charter 8 is a charter by Ralph where Lescelina de Trayli "my wife" is first witness. This charter is intriguing because in this case Ralph is granting the isle of "Sydritheseye" and appurtenances in "Purleie" to the nuns of Wix. This is clearly a reconfirmation of the grants made by Maurice and his wife Edith. Keats-Rohan dates the charter between 1154 and 1163.14.  We know that during the chaotic reign of King Stephen, in 1152, a Ralph de Hastings, along with an apparent close relative named William, granted his manor of Hurst in Yorkshire to the templars, such that it came to be known as Templehurst. Because this is very consistent with a Ralph who had an heir named William, this Ralph and William look very much the ones who were dapifers of Bury. It is often assumed that Ralph was also related to Richard de Hastings then, who was Master of the Templars. (But this does not help clarify which Hastings family Richard was in, because Ralph was clearly related to the Little Easton family given that he was heir to Maurice.) On the internet it is clear that there is a common belief that Ralf was responsible for fortifying his manor of Lidgate during the anarchy. When Ralph was granted the dapifership of Bury, he already had a job as kind of dapifer to Queen Eleanor, which earned him of corrody in several counties in 1155-1158, as shown in the Pipe Rolls.

"Hugo de Hastings" (DD) or Hugh de Hastings appears in contemporary records because of his marriage with Erneburga de Flamville ("Nepte Roberti de Flamville" DD). About 1129/30, Hugh and Erneburga inherited from Erneburga's uncle Robert, what he had been enfeoffed with by Bishop Robert de Limesi of Coventry, in Burbage, Leicestershire, and Birdingbury, Warwickshire. They also inherited other lands, it seems, including Ashton-Flamville in Leicestershire. Keats-Rohan cites him appearing in the 1130/31 Pipe Rolls of King Henry I, two entries in Leicestershire, one in Buckinghamshire, one in Warwickshire, and one in Middlesex, which (referring to Eyton) apparently included exemptions from Danegeld in those places. In the p.87 entry for Leicestershire, Eyton (p.136) also says Hugh "accounted for 90 merks and 2 destriers, being the whole or the balance of a Fine which he had given to the King 'for having the land and the neice of Robert de Flamenvill'." In the Middlesex entry Hugh is listed next to Maurice de Windesor. Clark (p.243) reports that Robert de Flamvill had been a Norman knight attached to Grantmaisnel. Moriarty says that Robert de Lemesi was bishop 1100-1117. Clark cites Dugdale's Warwickshire to the effect that Erneburga granted Birdingbury and the church of Barwell to Polesworth, to whom the earlier Walter de Hastings had also been patron. Dugdale directs us to a Patent Roll inspeximus of Richard II concerning the Barwell grant. The Patent Rolls Calendar tells us that Erneburga made these grants as the mother of William de Hastings, and with the assent of Richard his son. Dugdale makes this Richard the son of Hugo, not William, and refers to him as the rector of Barwell. Query. Might the Calendar be in error?

pedigree 6. Ancestors of the baronial Hastings families, and their connection to the dapifers of Bury.

Note: The dapifers of Bury St Edmunds are in red.


This pedigree is based on a straightforward interpretation of the small number of sources which seem most clear. It is consistent with many published pedigrees (notably the respected Eyton and Carthew), but not all; and most not notably it disagrees with that of Keats-Rohan (pedigree 7 below), because it makes Ralf the queen's steward the son of a William, and not of Robert fitz Walter, and it makes his nephew William the son of Hugh, not of William fitz Robert.

Notes for this pedigree.
We must be careful to note that the Flamvills may be a coincidence. Flamvill heiresses married both Robert de Hastings of the Little Easton Hastings, and Hugh de Hastings of Leicestershire and Warwickshire. Furthermore Flamvilles make frequent appearances in the family business of the dapifer Hastings of Bury. But in Clay's Early Yorkshire Families, which looks primarily at the Yorkshire Flamvilles that married into the Little Easton Hastings, the authors do not see any connection between these and the Leicestershire Flamville lines. Interesting, the book does speculate that there must be a connection between Henry de Hastings of this family and Robert de Hastings of Little Easton, noting an 1188 document where Henry is together with two Hugh de Flamvilles, one "of Fryton", and one a son of an Alan, concerning a loan. These two Flamvills are of the Yorkshire Flamvill family which married the Little Easton Hastings family. (Clarence Smith also notes this p.6.)

So there may well be a link between the two Flamvill families, but for now it is as mysterious as the link between the two Hastings families, and does not provide us with more solid ground.

pedigree 7. Keats-Rohan's proposed linking of the Hastings of Bury, to the Hastings of Little Easton, (but splitting the Bury Hastings from the Hastings family of Hugh and Erneburga)


Notes for this pedigree.

Keats-Rohan links Little Easton and the Bury dapifers, without making it clear how these then link, if at all, to the later "baronial line" of Hastings. To do this, she makes three surprising innovations, which have apparently drawn much less attention than her handling of the question concerning Walter the deacon being the father of Robert fitz Walter.
  1. "Ralph II of Hastings" (DD), the dapifer who was heir to Maurice de Windsor, becomes a brother of William and Richard in the Little Easton family. I have mentioned above in the Little Easton discussion that I can find no source to justify this. (Careful readers may note that there was certainly at least one Ralph in the Little Easton family, a son of William fitz Robert, not a brother. Clarence Smith even suggests there might have been a brother also. But p.110 n.187 he specifically says that such a Ralph can not be the one who was heir to Maurice de Windsor, because his successors held different lands, held by a different family of Hastings.) Also note that the charter evidence cited by Dugdale names Ralph the queen's steward's nephew, William, as having a grandfather named William and a father named Hugh, which is not compatible with this proposal.
  2. Keats-Rohan also disconnects these dapifers from the barons in the midlands by distinguishing two contemporaries who are normally considered to be one person: "Willelm filius Hugonis de Hastings" and "Willelm de Hastings dispensator" (DD both p.507). 
  3. "Willelm de Hastings dispensator", the dapifer of Bury and dispenser to the King, is made to be a son of William fitz Robert. As discussed in the Little Easton section above, the source Keats-Rohan cites is ancient deed A.13694 (E40/13694), which is cited specifically by Landon and Clarence Smith to name some sons of William fitz Robert. But they do not report any son named William being mentioned in this charter.
Apart from the lack of evidence to support them, all three of these innovations are in conflict with the charter described by Dugdale, at least as it has always been interpreted, and Keats-Rohan does not mention it. Keats-Rohan also does not attempt to explain the fact that the heirs of the "two" Williams appear to be the same (at least by the time of Henry de Hastings, generally considered a grandson of William the dapifer, who paid to take up the inheritance of his father William de Hastings in 1226).

This will be discussed more on the second webpage.

pedigree 8. Clark's proposal to link the Hastings of Bury, Little Easton and Fillongley in one grand scheme.


Clark, criticised much later by Round, claimed that there was a link between the male lines of these two different Hastings families through Walter Maskerel. Clark equates him to a Walter de Hastings who was living in Warwickshire, mentioned by Dugdale in his history of Warwickshire: a Walter de Hastings of Fillongley granted a manor called Mancetre to a Walkeline already by the time of King Stephen (p.774), and was benefactor to the Nuns of Polesworth in the time of Henry I, granting them Oldbury (p.741, p.778). The date of the surviving charter must be in the period of 1129-1135 according to Clark (p.237). Dugdale did not claim certainty about the relationship of Walter to later Hugh, but he did feel certain that Fillongley was the early seat of the Hastings family. The Hastings dapifers were later possessors of Fillongley, overlords in Mancetre, and Oldbury (see for example the inquisitions post mortem for John "senior" and John of Abergavenny), and were benefactors to Polesworth. Clark noted that between Antiquities of Warwickshire (1656), and Baronage (1675-6), Dugdale had replaced Walter with William as father of Hugh. Dugdale clearly had not seen the critical charter(s) from the Glover collection before 1656 because concerning several of the possessions mentioned in it he mentions having seen no evidence for this period.

Clark stretched the evidence in order to make Walter (of Antiquities of Warwickshire) the father of William (of Baronage). It seems from the posthumous edition of Warwickshire, based on Dugdale's own notes, that he thought they might be brothers. Moriarty even proposes the opposite of Clark, that Walter was a son of William.

Round seems to be quite right when he wrote later in life, in 1911, that the "origin of the later baronial house is still a matter of speculation". In his footnote he says that Clark's proposals "do not inspire conviction. Indeed I have torn his theory to pieces", citing his second Fitzgerald article. Whether or not he truly tore it to pieces, it seems correct that this theory about the early Warwickshire Hastings never created any consensus. Clarence Smith, who defends Clark several times from Round in his two-part article, considers this specific proposal to be one that deserved some criticism (p.3 n.29). Walter Maskerel is the link in this story, but in fact there appears to be no source which ever describes him with the name "de Hastings" rather than Maskerel, and there seems no good reason to equate him to anyone of that name. The evidence he found in the Midlands, furthermore, was for a Walter de Hastings who seems too late to be the first Walter Mascherel and too young to be the grandfather of Hugh de Hastings. And there are signs that there were more Hastings in the Midlands region in the 12th century:

In the continuation I attempt to explain the generations that come after William de Hastings, who was, as we have seen, not only the son of Hugh but also the dapifer of Bury and Steward of the King. Between him and Henry de Hastings, who took over his family offices in 1226, not everything is simple.

To jump to the second webpage, click here.


11. This appears to have been first asserted by Round in his second article on the Fitzgeralds, and is accepted by Landon and Keats-Rohan. However, the main evidence appears to be the surname, and the connection to the Little Easton barony which served castle guard to Windsor. But we have shown above that Keats-Rohan is correct, and Round was wrong: the name "de Windsor" was not necessarily an inheritable surname. So Maurice's exact relationship to the castellan is apparently not certain, although it is quite likely that he has one, and being a son is quite possible. It seems even more likely that Maurice is closely related to Rainald and Robert de Windsor who witnessed the grant of his dapifership in Bury (charters 108 and 109, also published as RRAN Vol.3 charter 764). (Rainald, according to one proposal, accepted by both Round and Keats-Rohan, might have been steward to Queen Adeliza, and another son of Walter fitz Other. Dodwell, p.152 n.4, notes that in one charter Queen Adeliza is witnessed by Maurice de Windsor and Reginald his brother. Robert, in this case, might simply be the son of Walter the Deacon.) He is also very likely closely related to the Windsors who were tenants of the Barony of Little Easton in Swilland.

12. "Radulph dapifer Sancti Edmundi" (DD) was dapifer for Bury until about 1114-19. The Bury charters edited by Douglas include some charters mentioning this Ralph. Douglas refers to the evidence about him as "shadowy". Keats-Rohan cites the following mentions of Ralph in primary documents: Bacton Charters (Dodwell ed.) 5 and 6; Bury Charters (Douglas ed.) 17, 105 (dated 1087-1098 by Douglas), 108, 109 (these last to being the charter confirming his heir Maurice's inheritance, and dated 1114-19 by Douglas), and 87 (the charter confirming the inheritance of Maurice's heir Ralph de Hasting, dated 1155 by Eyton); Douglas Social Structure of Medieval East Anglia no. 40. In charter 17, in Ralph's own lifetime, King William made a charter ordering restoration of Lidgate and Blunham to Ralf. (Eyton p.134 thinks it was King William II, who ruled 1087-1100, not William I of 1066-1087; Douglas narrows it to 1087-1098.) These lands were part of what came to his heir Maurice de Windsor with the dapifership.
Keats-Rohan (DD p.260) speculates that this Ralph might be the same person as Ralph, the steward of (and probably also a relation of) "Radulf filius Godrici" (DD), a Norfolk land holder, whose father "Godric Dapifer" (DD) was himself steward to the Earl of Norfolk, Ralph de Gael, who also may have been a relative. This Godric is discussed by Douglas.

13. Maurice only inherited 3 knights fees, Lidgate, Blunham, and (according to Clark) Herling, but from the estate of Ivo de Gissing came, according to Clark, Tibbenham and Gissing. This way of splitting up the two sets of fees is perhaps based on the presentation Jocelin of Brakeland uses. Gissing remained long with Hastings families, chief lordship going to the Earls of Pembroke, and a manor under them being held by their relatives who would become Earls of Huntingdon.

14. The charter is clearly too early to be Ralph the son of William fitz Robert who later held Wix, because the Ralph who married Lescelina was dead by 1163, as shown in the Pipe Rolls concerning Fordham in Cambridgeshire. According to Clark, Ralph was enfeoffed by the King himself of 20 librates in Fordham in Cambridgeshire and 10 librates in Whitham in Somersetshire. (Clark cited Foedera I.41; Eyton cited the Pipe Rolls of Henry II. William Farrer in his Feudal Cambridgeshire p.137 cites The Red Book of the Exchequer p.668.) As pointed out by Clarence Smith these citations do not seem to prove the point, at least concerning Witham, which may have involved another Ralph. But the Pipe Rolls do indicate that Ralph was replaced by Lescelina in 1162, while in Witham he was replaced by a William de Hastings only some years later. (Clarence Smith thinks this might be the Hastings of Eaton Hastings in Berkshire, who also used the names Ralph and William in the 12th century. William and Lescellina continued to hold Witham and Fordham respectively in the 13th year of Henry II (1166), and in the 14th (1167). In the 15th 16th 17th and 18th (1172) Fordham is still registered as Lescelina's. Witham seems to no longer be associated with the Hastings after the 14th year.

Key Sources.

Brooke, C. N. L. (1960) "Episcopal Charters for Wix Priory", A Medieval Miscellany for Doris Mary Stenton.
Clarence Smith J. A., (1966), "Hastings of Little Easton (part 1)", Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society. Vol. 2, Part 1.
Clarence Smith, J. A. (1968), "Hastings of Little Easton (concluded)", Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society. Vol. 2, Part 2.
Clark, G. T. C. (1869), "The Rise and Race of Hastings" (in 3 parts), Archaeological Journal, Vol. 26. [archive.org link]
Davis, R. H. C. (1954), The Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds and Related Documents.
Dodwell, B. (1960) "Some Charters Relating to the Honour of Bacton", A Medieval Miscellany for Doris Mary Stenton.
Douglas, D. C. (1932), Feudal documents from the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. [Hathitrust link]
Dugdale, W. (1656), Antiquities of Warwickshire. [archive.org links for p.741p.774, and p.778]
Dugdale, W. (1675-6), The baronage of England, [link for Bigod and Hastings; there is also a separate account for the Hastings line of Gissing and Allerston]
Dugdale, W. (1730), Antiquities of Warwickshire ("corrected" version made posthumously based on Dugdale's own corrections). [vol II on google books, see p.1024ff.]
Eyton, R. W. (1857), Antiquities of Shropshire, Vol. 5. [google books link]
Eyton, R. W. (1878), Court, household and itinerary of King Henry II. [archive.org link]
Green, A. (1966), "The Stewardship of the Liberty of the Eight and a Half of the Hundreds", Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, Vol.30, Part 3. [Suffolk Institute link]
Keats-Rohan, K. S. B. (1999), Domesday People: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents, 1066-1166. Volume I: Domesday Book.
Keats-Rohan, K. S. B. (2000), "Additions and Corrections to Sanders’s Baronies", Prosopon Newsletter. [own link]
Keats-Rohan, K. S. B. (2001), Domesday Descendants: A Prosopography of Persons Occurring in English Documents, 1066-1166. Volume II: Pipe Rolls to Cartae Baronum.
Landon, L. (1928), "The Barony of Little Easton and the Family of Hastings", Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society. New Series, Vol. 19, Part 3.
Moriarty, G. A. (1942), "The origin of the Hastings",  New England Historical Genealogical Register, Vol.96.
Moriarty, G. A. (1947), "Hastings, barons of Little Eston, C. Essex, England",  New England Historical Genealogical Register, Vol.101.
Redstone L. J. (1914), "The Liberty of St. Edmund", Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, Vol.15, Part 2. [Suffolk Institute link]
Rokewood, J. G. (1840), Chronica Jocelini de Brakelonda, Camden (Latin edition). [google books link; example of an English edition online at archive.org here]
Round, J. H. (1902), "Castle Guard", Archaeological Journal, Vol. 59, 2nd series, Vol. 9. [archive.org link]
Round, J. H. (1902), "The Origin of the Fitzgeralds I", The Ancestor, Number 1. [archive.org link]
Round, J. H. (1902), "The Origin of the Fitzgeralds II", The Ancestor, Number 2. [archive.org link]
Round, J. H. (1903), "The Origin of the Carews", The Ancestor, Number 5. [archive.org link]
Round, J. H. (1903), "The Manor of Colne Engaine", Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society. New Series, Vol. 8. [archive.org link]
Round, J. H. (1911), The King's Serjeants & Officers of State with their Coronation Services. [archive.org link]
Sanders, I. J. (1960), English Baronies: A Study of Their Origin and Descent, 1086-1327.
Wood, H. J. T. (1903), "The Value of Welsh Pedigrees", The Ancestor, Number 3. [archive.org link]