Hastings families in the 12th century: Part 2

Note to researchers. 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.

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.

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.

More on what is known and what is not about the early Hastings families.

Hastings arms

Part 1 explained how two Hastings families of the 12th century can be distinguished, and how at the same time some connections can be at least partly explained. The aim has been to define not only which things are proven, but how they are proven, and also, maybe even more important, whether the evidence that has survived can give us convincing explanations.

By the end of the 12th century, one of those Hastings families discussed so far, the lords of the Barony of Little Easton based in Essex, were coming to an end of sorts. A son-in-law with a different surname, Louvain, would take over the Barony. But their associates with the same surname, the dapifers to the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, were still on the way up.

The Hastings family to be focussed on now are ancestral to several important Hastings families who remained politically important beyond the Middle Ages. Hastings Earls of Pembroke and Huntingdon descend from them, and a large section of the Complete Peerage (Volume VI) is dedicated to them. They have many living descendants any place where there are people with English ancestry, most of whom have no idea of the fact.

The aim now is to make a link between a man named William de Hastings who flourished in the 1160s, and already introduced on the first webpage, and his eventual successor named Henry de Hastings who took over the family inheritance in 1226 and married Ada de Huntingdon, an important heiress. This Henry's son, also named Henry, is the first Hastings entry in the Complete Peerage, and was an ally of Simon de Montfort.

1. William de Hastings in the 1160s. How many people was he?

On the first webpage, Katherine Keats-Rohan's two books Domesday People (DP) and Domesday Descendants (DD) helped give a starting point. Her books are a standard reference, aiming to list people named in original documents in this period. They often expose useful questions because of the "fresh approach" they take. Relevant to the discussion now, as already mentioned under pedigree 7 on the first page, Keats-Rohan made an unusual distinction between two men named William de Hastings, who are normally assumed to be one man, but at the same time seemed to confuse both of them with another man named William de Hastings who is generally considered to be a separate person:
This surprising difference between Keats-Rohan's respected and methodical summary, and the standard understanding of most genealogists, draws attention to how little is certain in these generations. Keats-Rohan starts from a limited number of strong sources, which we therefore need to check next in more detail if we want to understand this. As will be shown, one important source in this case is the Red Book of the Exchequer which covers 1166 in one major section (Volume I of the modern edition).

William de Hastings "the dispensator"

The first webpage already addressed one source of confusion. Despite a generally cautious methodology, Keats-Rohan has a speculative theory which plays a role in making her conclusions so distinctive in this case. One reason for not equating the dispensator with the son of Hugh is that she proposed him to be the son of William fitz Robert, lord of Little Easton in Essex (whose son Robert and brother Richard both used the surname de Hastings). So for Keats-Rohan, he could not be the son of a Hugh. But as explained on the first webpage he was not the son of William fitz Robert. Not only was that William's heir named Robert de Hastings, but also no record could be found showing any William in this family after William fitz Robert himself. Surnames seem to follow mysterious rules sometimes in this period, but the two families do seem to have been connected by several marriages in the early 12th century, not only with each other, but also with families using the surnames "de Flamvill" and "de Windsor". (Indeed, as Rosie Bevan has pointed out to me, later in the 12th century the dispensator's sister Amabilia also married a close relative of Robert de Hastings of Little Easton, Ralf de Excestre, which the strict rules of consanguinity would have disallowed if they shared a common ancestor as recently as Keats-Rohan proposes.)

Nevertheless, Keats-Rohan's distinction raises the real question of whether it is really obvious that the dispensator is the son of Hugh, as stated by all the authorities who dealt with this in the past. If it was obvious, then how could Keats-Rohan even propose this hypothesis? It would not be the first time that a careful review of the sources exposes problems in respectably published medieval pedigrees.

Going through the citations allocated to "the dispensator" William de Hastings by Keats-Rohan:
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.

We know that the lands (5 knights' fees in total) inherited with the dapifership included not only Lidgate in Suffolk, and Blunham in Bedfordshire ("Legata et Bluneham" mentioned in this grant), but also Herling, Tibbenham and Gissing in Norfolk. Maurice de Windsor, the dapifer before Ralf, whose wife was a member of the Little Easton Hastings family, 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. (See Douglas Bury Charters 108 and 109. Jocelin of Brakelond's description of these lands shows that they continued to be treated differently as one bundle of inheritance, distinct from Lidgate and Blunham, which were worth 3 fees.)
More questionably:

"Willelm filius Hugonis de Hastings"

This William is associated with lands in Warwickshire and Leicestershire by Keats-Rohan, because of his parents. (Several of the properties were held by a man called Robert the Dispensator at the Domesday survey in 1086. In the 12th century the Hastings were not his main-line heirs, and they were not overlords of these manors, but it is tempting to think that there is a link.)More questionably:

2. The successors in the 13th century

For William de Hastings, the dapifer and steward, Keats-Rohan shows these references to represent later generations, continuing the inheritance:

10/52 (26 December 1225)
26 Dec. Winchester. Concerning taking lands into the king’s hand. Order to the sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire to take into the king’s hand all lands that William of Hastings held in chief of the king and the lands that he held of others in his bailiwick, and to keep them safely until the king orders otherwise.
10/83 (28 January 1226)
28 Jan. Marlborough. For Henry of Hastings . To the sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire . Henry of Hastings has made fine with the king by 50 m. for having seisin of all the land that William of Hastings, his father, whose heir he is, held of the king in chief, and that falls to Henry by hereditary right, and the king has taken his homage. Order that, having accepted security from Henry for rendering the aforesaid 50 m. to the king for his relief at these terms, namely 12½ m. at Easter in the tenth year, 12½ m. at Michaelmas, 12½ m. at Easter in the eleventh year, and 12½ m. at Michaelmas in the same year, he is to cause him to have full seisin without delay of all the land that the aforesaid William, his father, held of the king in chief in his bailiwick which were taken into the king’s hand by his order . He is, moreover, to cause the executors of the testament of the same William to have the chattels found in the same lands formerly of the same William, saving to the king his debt if he owed him anything. The king has ordered the sheriffs of Shropshire, Bedfordshire and Norfolk and Suffolk that, having received his letters testifying that he has received security, they are to cause Henry to have full seisin without delay of all that William, his father, held of the king in chief in his bailiwick, and that was taken into the king’s hand by his order. Before the justiciar and the bishops of Bath and Salisbury.
10/84 (28 January 1226)

For Henry of Hastings . It is written in the same manner to the sheriffs of Shropshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, excepting security and with the addition, ‘having received the letters of the sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicestershire testifying that he had received security for rendering the aforesaid 50 m. to the king at the terms that the king has given him, they are to cause him to have full seisin etc. as above’. Before the same.
More questionably, Keats-Rohan notes that in 1242 William de Hastings held one fee in Eaton in Berkshire (Fees Vol.II, 844), and associates this man with the dispensator. 

For William de Hastings, the son of Hugh, all the suggestions about future generations raise interesting questions:
This brings us to an important point because this Henry in 1242 is certainly the same Henry who Keats-Rohan suggests also as a descendant of the supposedly different William de Hastings, the "dispensator". As seen, he inherited in 1226 after the death of his father who was named William. This was in all the counties where "both" the Williams mentioned by Keats-Rohan were most certainly identified. Henry, and presumably his father William, were successors to "both" the Williams thriving in 1166.

Interestingly, the new William's contemporary in the Hastings Eaton honour in Berkshire, had the same name, William de Hastings, and died at about the same time. But his heir was under-age unlike Henry, and the two families are quite easy to distinguish from that point on. They held lands in different counties. Again we can refer to the Fine Rolls.

8/79 (29 February 1224)
29 Feb. Marlborough. The fine of Osbert Gifford. Osbert Gifford has made fine with the king by 200 m. for having custody of the land and heir of William of Hastings , with the marriage of the heir of the same William. Order to the sheriffs of Berkshire , Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire to cause him to have full seisin of all lands formerly of William in their bailiwicks.
11/197 (18 April 1227)
For Osbert Gifford. The king has granted to Osbert Gifford that he may render the £20 which he ought to have paid at Easter in the eleventh year of the fine that he made with him for having the custody of the land and heir of William of Hastings at St. John the Baptist in the same year. Order to the sheriff of Berkshire to permit him to have respite until that term.
13/276 (02 September 1229)
2 Sept. Windsor. Concerning the debt that Osbert Gifford owed to the king. The king has granted to H. bishop of Rochester, Henry of Walpole , Isabella de Friville and Matilda Gifford, sister of Osbert Gifford , executors of the testament of the same Osbert, that, of the £50 and half a mark which still remains of the fine that Osbert made with the king for having the custody of the land and heir of William of Hastings , with the marriage of the same heir, they may render £20 per annum to the king for Osbert at the same terms at the Exchequer at which he was bound to pay them to the king. Order to the barons of the Exchequer to cause this to be done and enrolled thus.

To quote the Victoria County History for Eaton Hastings, "The heir in question was apparently the William de Hastings, who was tenant in about 1240. He died in 1278, leaving a daughter and heir Joan, then the wife of Sir Benedict de Blakenham". (William, although he died a similar time to the father of Henry, appears to have been significantly younger than his contemporary. Until 1212, there was a John de Hastings associated with these lands.)

To show which manors were inherited together and which were not, we can also refer again to the second volume of the Book of Fees ("Testa de Neville"), focusing only upon those mentioned by Keats-Rohan as evidence. This was in 1242, long after the Fine Rolls inheritances described above:

Gloucestershire, which Keats-Rohan allocates to the son of Hugh:
Oxfordshire, which Keats-Rohan allocates to the dispensator:Berkshire, also allocated by Keats-Rohan to the dispensator:East Anglia and Bedfordshire, where William the dapifer had definitely been, we find Henry in the same places: Warwickshire and Leicestershire, where William the son of Hugh had definitely been, we also find Henry in the same places:Shropshire, although Keats-Rohan does not mention it, is also in mentioned in the Fine Rolls above as connected to the inheritance of Henry, which went together with Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. It came from the inheritance of the Banastre family there.
This Shropshire inheritance was actually held by his father's mother until a few years before Henry inherited. Again from the Fine Rolls:

6/194 (17 June 1222)
17 June. Westminster. Shropshire. To the sheriff of Shropshire . William of Hastings has made fine with the king by 10 m. for his relief of two hides of land with appurtenances in Aston, which Matilda Banaster, mother of the aforesaid William, held of the king in chief and which fall to William by inheritance, and the king has taken his homage for this. Order that, having accepted security from him for rendering a moiety of the aforesaid fine to the king at Michaelmas in the sixth year and the other moiety at Easter next following in the seventh year, he is to cause him to have full seisin without delay. Witness H. etc. By the same and the king’s council.

In Compton, Surry in the Honour of Windsor, the Hastings family that lived there seems to have disappeared by 1242.

3. Jocelin of Brakelond

One of the Keats-Rohan sources mentioned for William the dapifer and steward is the precious contemporary account of Jocelin, who was in the Abbey of Bury itself. Apart from mentioning the 5 fees, Jocelin also supplies Hastings genealogists with a remarkable eye-witness account of something which could not have been known from other records. It explains the irregular way in which the dapifership was inherited in the generation after the William who held this office in 1166, but it does not say what happened between him dieing, which as we have seen might have been before 1170, and that moment in 1182. See page 106 of the recent Oxford paperback edition for one version of these events.

As soon as Abbot Samson was elected and confirmed as the new abbot in early 1182, various people turned up with affairs needing attention from this important lord. The one which Jocelin seems to have found most arresting was a young man named Henry de Hastings. (Clark interprets it as 1 April and somehow extracts an exact age of 14 for Henry; Rokewood, who edited a respected edition, gives 31 March.) He was not yet a knight, and Abbot Samson considered him under-age and not yet qualified. Jocelin does not give the name of Henry's father, but he does say that representing him to Samson was his uncle, named Thomas de Hastings. In another place, Jocelin had also mentioned in passing that the role of dapifer had recently been performed by Robert de Flamvill. Apparently Thomas himself was not only a knight, but he came with a large number of knights, in a show of strength which Jocelin and the abbot found a bit over-the-top. The most obvious assumption then, is that Thomas was the brother of Henry's father. (He was probably the man who accounted for some payments in the Pipe Rolls in 1175/6 and 1176/7, not only in East Anglia, but also in Hereford "in Wales".)

Charter 150 in the Kalendar of Samson, corresponds to Samson's first chapter meeting, and unsurprisingly has both Thomas de Hastings and Robert de Flamvill as first mentioned witnesses. A Gilbert de Hastings then appears in charters from 1182 until later in the 1180s, when he appears to have been replaced again by Robert de Flamvill. Jocelin also mentions Gilbert. He says that Gilbert was accepted as a stand in while Henry was too young.

This record gives a starting point and helps geneaologists feel comfortable about the progession of this inheritance after this young Henry. According to Clark, Pipe Roll records show that Henry received taxation exemptions for going overseas, year 3 of Richard I, 1191/2 (so he was a knight by then). He must have died soon after. (Moriarty believed this meant he died either participating in the Third Crusade or soon after.) In 1194 a William de Hastings, the "new William" mentioned above, paid 100 marks as relief for the land and serjeantry of his brother Henry, and another 100 to avoid going to Normandy. Pipe Rolls 6 Richard I is cited by Eyton, Clark and Moriarty, all apparently following Dugdale. Eyton adds that there is an accounting for one of these fines the following year. He cites Madox p. 216, but it should be Vol.1, p.316. (That record states explicitly it is for the lands and serjeantry - serjeantry being a less usual form of possession, so there is little room for misunderstanding who this is. It names the brother Henry whose inheritance it is. It states that this was in Norfolk or Suffolk. "Willelmus de Haſtinges r c de C marcis, pro Relevio terrę a Serjanteria Henrici fratris sui. Mag. Rot. 7. R. 1. Rot. 6. b. Norf. & Sudf.")

As we approach the year 1200, a steady stream of records begins to appear showing this new William, the brother of Henry, until we get to 1226 and his son, also named Henry, inherited.

But how do we prove the name of the father of this new William, with the brother and son named Henry? (At least we can suggest his mother's name, Maud de Banastre, as explained above, looking at Fine Roll evidence.)

And how do we prove that this William inherited everything from only one William. Could Keats-Rohan have been right to question this?
It is not unusual for a family to have several lines with important men with the same name, and it is not unusual for the inheritance of several lines to be united later in one heir.

4. Summary so far, and the importance of Dugdale's Glover collection citation

The above exercise, which can be cross-checked using more Pipe Rolls and other records, seems to bear out the common genealogical understanding that William de Hastings in Eaton in Berkshire was a distinct person, while the son of Hugh in the Midlands, and the steward in East Anglia were the same person.

But being cautious perhaps it is more correct to say that based on the above primary records, these two Williams in the 1100s had the same successors in the 1200s: Henry and his brother William. Unless we can explain the exact route of that succession before 1182 (when Samson was elected) there is some small room for doubt.

Investigation of secondary sources shows that there is a source, already quoted on the first webpage, which explicitly equates the "two" Williams and explains the line of succession in a simple way. The problem is that this source is a 17th century secondary source, William Dugdale's Baronage, and although he describes information coming from original charters which are now apparently lost, it is not clear anymore what exactly was in those missing charters, and which information is Dugdale's interpretation. He does say that his evidence came from the collection of Robert Glover, a herald.

Dugdale appears to be the only source available for several things in the standard pedigree:

It has to be said, that Dugdale's account looks very likely, and many genealogists will rightly say that the evidence we do have is so perfectly consistent with it, that we can consider this proven within a reasonable doubt.

But as has been reviewed, all record of William who was thriving in 1166 seem to stop by 1170. There are 12 years before we get to the moment where uncle Thomas brought young Henry to see Abbot Samson. This is just long enough for a young man to have grown up, but not quite be considered ready to take up his office at Bury, probably indicating that he was not 21. But on the other hand there is also room for other scenarios. Could Henry have been a nephew of William the dapifer for example?

In any case the dapifer of 1166 almost certainly had brothers. Two apparent brothers appear in Jocelin's account: Thomas de Hastings, named as an uncle to young Henry, and Gilbert de Hastings, allowed to work as a stand-in for Henry until he got older. But obviously neither of these were the father of Henry, or they would have claimed the inheritance themselves.

In the Pipe Rolls records of the 1170s, apart from Thomas who seems to have spent time in Hereford, there is also a Phillip who appears suddenly accounting for several hundreds in Norfolk in the Pipe Rolls of 1168/9. This Phillip also appears in Eyton's Henry II itinerary, in 1175, after William ceased to appear. One charter was made in Marlborough, and the other in Valoignes, France. Cronne/David RRAN III, No. 823 is originally a 1153 charter made at Bridgnorth by Henry Duke of Normandy, who had not yet become Henry II. One signatory is William de Hastings, but it also mentions his brothers Phillip and Ralf. (The people in the witness list might not all have been original witnesses in 1153, because it appears to be a charter that was amalgamated later, making it unreliable.)

pedigree 9. A simple descent from William the dispensator to Henry de Hastings

Investigation of the peculiar splitting of William de Hastings in Domesday Descendants therefore leads to interesting questions. While Keats-Rohan's division of the records into these "two" men seems questionable, it is also not simple to prove that these are one person. The generally accepted family trees which link this William to his successors are typically variations upon the following...

Until Henry

Notes for this pedigree:

5. The charter evidence

To try to tie up the missing link more convincingly, possibly the only method is to look at charters concerning such things as grants of land. Most of these do not have dates on them unfortunately. But in this period, lords of a reasonable importance would often have a relatively fixed "familia" of allied men, often knights enfeoffed under them, who appeared in many such documents as witnesses. Historians therefore sometimes try to date charters based on which people do or do not appear. This is often very difficult for a family like this who were not yet of a very high status. The families under them are relatively unknown, even if some later became well-known. Luckily though, the Hastings position as the dapifer of Bury is well-documented, and the dapifers used lieutenants who were often close relatives. Thus we can also compare to Bury documents.

There is a list of lieutenant dapifers for the period of Abbot Samson, made by Davis (li).3. Samson ran Bury from 1182 until 1212, overlapping the reigns of Richard and John:

A challenging charter from Gissing.

A charter exists, wherein the manor of Gissing, known to be a Hastings sub-enfeoffment to a cadet branch, was first granted by John, and confirmed by his son Henry. In the pedigree above there are two better-known Henrys who were overlords of these lands, but both had father's named William. It is hard to ignore the charter given the lack of strong primary evidence for some of the steps in the standard pedigree. It is one of the few charters that clearly mentions the name of a father of a Hastings in this period and in this family, and this is not just any Hastings, but one who had a quite well-known branch as a tenant under him. To make it match with the standard pedigree, it is generally assumed that John was himself also enfeoffed under a still more senior Hastings overlord - one of the two Williams or one of their two sons named Henry. But no overlord is mentioned and it seems remarkable for what seems to be an important grant, that there is not even a William among the witnesses. (It would be irregular to not have him present as a witness in such a charter, and not even mentioned, although perhaps he was overseas and the family had clear enough understandings?) There seems to be no other evidence anywhere for the existence of such a 3 level Hastings lordship, nor for either John, or his son Henry.

Because of this one charter, there appears to be an obvious "Devil's Advocate" hypothesis to make, in order to test the standard pedigree:
Gissing was undoubtedly a manor which went with the dapifership. This charter was mentioned by Dugdale, Blomefield, Clark, Moriarty and others. It has been most recently been reproduced in the Report on the Manuscripts of the late Reginald Rawdon Hastings, Esq. of the Manor House, Ashby De La Zouch by Francis Bickley (Historical Manuscripts Commission 78) p.206. The charter has no date on it, but it has a useful list of witnesses.

In it, Henry son of John de Hasting granted Gissing to Hugh son of Thomas de Hasting. That Gissing had been granted as a sub-enfeoffment to Thomas (probably uncle Thomas in 1182) and that this Thomas had a son named Hugh, who also had a son Thomas, matches perfectly well with everything known about what would become a famous Hastings family in its own right.

The editors propose the date must be in the time of King John or Richard I, which makes sense, because the witnesses are a striking match for the Hastings family of that period: Miles de Hastig', Robert de Flammville, Gilbert de Hastig', William de Gertigham, Henry Sarac', William de Flammville, Adam de Corneburc, Walter de Manto', Bernard Burd', John de Baucam, Adam son of Michael, Thomas de Richebur', John de Hou'.

To compare to the above list, the first four witnesses in the Gissing charter correspond to known acting dapifers of Bury in the period of Samson.

The Devil's advocate proposal does give a chronological problem. If Henry the son of John in the Gissing charter is to be equated with young Henry of 1182, then we know that Henry was dead by 1194. The charter would then demand us to believe that Hugh de Hastings of Gissing had already replaced his father Thomas by that time. But Thomas appears to have outlived his nephew Henry. A Thomas de Hastings appears in Walter Rye's Calendar of old Norwich Feet of Fines 1195/6: Thomas de Hasting in Frense, Tistehall, and Gissing.

In fact, the period when the first Hugh of Gissing, son of Thomas, was holding his family manors may have only been a few years. And it was some time before the name Hugh appeared in the family again, so we would expect different witnesses if this was a later Hugh.

So at least we can say that the Devil's advocate proposal is itself not very satisfying. One way or another, all proposals for explaining the charter seem to require us to invent missing people who do not appear in other evidence. We can solve the problem by proposing an extra Thomas, instead of an extra Henry for example.

Reassuring charters

To test the standard theory and this counter proposal then, we should compare this list to the list of witnesses given for the charter Keats-Rohan mentions for Henry the son of William: charter 463 in Stenton (1920): Henricus de Hastinges filius Willelmi de Hastings making a grant of all his lands in Odstone to Maheo de Charun filio Willelmi de Charun. Keats-Rohan correctly points to a conventional dating of this charter as before 1200, which makes this charter good possible evidence to help confirm the standard pedigree.

Witnesses: Thoma de Hastings, Willelmo de Hastings, Hogone de Nouilla, Ricardo de Hastinges, Radulfo Execestre, Rodberto de Flamuilla, Ricardo de Beuel', Gilleberto de Hastinges, Milone de Hastings, Willelmo de Gretingeham, Hugone de Hastings, Oliuero Sarazin, Rodberto Sarazin, Elya de Barewelle, Hugone de Herdebi, Baldewino de Charun, magistro Rodberto de Barewelle.

The coincidence of witnesses between the two charters can not be ignored, so we are looking at the same family in a similar period.  But this time the father of Henry is named as William, which would fit standard genealogies better than John. (In fact the standard genealogies say there were two Henrys who were sons of Williams.) There is also not only a William this time but both a Thomas and a Hugo de Hastings. 

The dating of this charter is obviously important for this discussion. If it was before 1195, when young Henry died, it would be a strong argument for the standard pedigree.

Another similar, and possibly related charter appears in the Hastings Manuscripts, page 43. This time Henry de Hastinges, son of William de Hastinges, grants the mill of Nailstone called "Erlesmulne" to William de Oddeston, son of Ellis de Oddeston. Witnesses: Richard de Harcurt, William de Dustone, Hugh de Neuville, William de Carnelle, Adam de Hertewelle, William de Meulinge, Alexander, parson of Burbach, William Venator of "Elleslege" and many others.

If the case is strong that this Henry son of William is not a later generation, then a third awkward possibility arises. Could there simply have been a mis-transcription by a scribe, who for some reason simply wrote John instead of William on the Gissing charter?

Looking for extra Johns and Henrys.

There is evidence of a John de Hastings being an important member of this families in the first years after 1200. Even though that was too late to be a father of young Henry in 1182, it is not too late for the witness list more generally and might still be relevant:
A Henry de Hastings appears as a witness in Hardley, Norfolk, in the 8th year of King John (1206/7) and also appears to be a relative because he is in the correct area, and together with a man named William de Gretingham..

This gives us a possible retort to the Devil's advocate question. Perhaps there are signs after all of the right John and the right Henry. We know that in the period of King John, William de Hastings had his lands taken from him both for debt reasons, and also because William was involved in rebellion. Each time, he seemed to resolve it eventually. The case of Ashill alerts us to the possibility that William was occasionally able to keep Hastings control in a manor by deferring to other trusted family members. Might whatever happened at Ashill also have happened at Gissing, something irregular?

6. List: all the likely possessions of the family

Trying to unite, if possible, all separate lines of evidence concerning what is traditionally supposed to be one William de Hastings in this period, the following seem important to the story. This can then be compared to various strands of evidence.

7. Notes for Thomas de Hastings.

Other Hastings families active in the 12th century

A reference list:


1. Actually, in later generations his family was described as having the office of "naperie". Round's article on the King's serjeants (see Bibliography) tries to make sense of these things, and expresses frustration at the confusions people have. But it seems that not only could a family's inherited serjeantries evolve, and be disputed, but also talented individuals might have expanded duties beyond those they had by inherited right. William was called a royal dispensator, and this was apparently not inherited, nor passed on. His uncle Ralf, from whom he inherited at least one office, was better known from another quite different office in his own lifetime, that of dapifer to the queen. Possibly William and/or his uncle Ralf showed some talent in management.

2. Online, Douglas Richardson has discussed this: "Margaret le Bigod, is alleged by Dugdale to have had the manor of Little Bradley, Suffolk in marriage, which might well be true.  However, I don't find any of the later male members of the Hastings family dealing with this manor, so the manor was probably passed in marriage to one of the later Hastings women in this time period." He also found evidence that the Bigod family had at least held Great Bradley (E 40/3775. Grant by William Bygod, lord of Great Bradley near St. Edmund's). Also, for Bradley generally, Katharine Keats-Rohan's newsletter, Prosopon, No. 10 (1999), pg. 3: "Adeliza Bigod was addressed in writs of Henry I and Stephen concerning tithes at Bradley, Suffolk: Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, II, nos 1485, 1495; III, no. 82." Little Bradley does seem to appear in the Inquisition Post Mortem of the first John de Hastings. Dugdale's position that Margerie Bigod first married William Cumin and remarried William de Hastings not too long before 1216, is not tenable. But there was a William de Hastings who had such a marriage. Round wrote this up, and noted that this Margerie was an heiress of the Giffard family of Font Hill, not a Bigod. This William de Hastings must have been dead long before the dapifer, according to the inheritance successions noted by Round. Furthermore, Henry de Hastings, the Bury dapifer's heir was an adult and able to take up in inheritance in January 1226, only 10 years later. A less well-known claim is found in a 19th century article on the Bigods, saying that Margerie first married a William de Camville, before marrying William de Hastings, but the source is not stated.

3. Douglas, the editor of the Bury charters, cites L. J. Redstone, in the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology, Vol.15, pt.2, pp.200ff as an authority on the stewardship of the Hastings. A later article which cover this subject is "The Stewardship of the Liberty of the Eight and a Half of the Hundreds" by Angela Green, Vol.30, pt.3 (1966). These articles show the Hastings family held on to the dapifership for centuries, but developed a tradition of having deputies who performed the function for them.

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]