Hastings Surname Genealogy

Hastings as a town in Sussex
was first recorded in the Saxon cartulary of 790. The
place may have been named after Hasten, a
raiding Viking in the area.
It is possible that
some of his followers settled at Hastings and the name was a corruption
of Hasten Ingges (Hasten’s people).
Hastings of course became famous in 1066 when the
Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English army at the
Battle of Hastings. The Hastings name was
adopted by Robert de
Hastings, subsequent port reeve of the town who was steward to William

Hastings Resources on

Hastings Ancestry

The Hastings family which
began with Robert de Hastings in Hastings was a powerful and
influential family
in medieval and Tudor times.
From about 1100 they made their home at Ashill
near Swaffham in Norfolk. Hugh de
Hastings devised the Hastings coat of arms
around 1130; and his son
William was Steward to Henry II.

Leicestershire Line.
The Hastings family moved from
Norfolk to Leicestershire in the early
14th century. In 1461 William Hastings was raised to the peerage
as the 1st
Baron Hastings and was granted the following year the castle of
Ashby-de-la-Zouch in NW Leicestershire.
This became the family’s principal residence.

Baron Hastings fell out with Richard III and
was executed in 1483. However, his
family was to reach the pinnacle of its fortunes in 1529, when
grandson, George Hastings, was created the 1st Earl of Huntingdon. But massive debts accumulated by the 3rd Earl
who died in 1595 subsequently triggered their long-term decline.

that time the family has had in fact a checkered history:

  • Fernandino Hastings saw his family seat,
    Ashby-de-la-Zouch castle, destroyed by Cromwell’s troops in 1646 during
    English Civil War.
  • Francis Rawdon Hastings fought in the American and French
    Revolutionary Wars and went on to be Governor General of India from
    1813 to
  • his son George Rawdon Hastings caused public furor when
    he denounced the
    young Queen Victoria and her courtiers in 1839 for insulting his
    sister, Lady Flora Hastings, by implying that she was pregnant.
  • while a
    generation later Henry Rawdon Hastings blew the family’s considerable
    on horse racing. He died in 1868, aged
    just twenty six.

On the death of Reginald Rawdon Hastings in
1926, the Hastings Manuscripts,
family accounts which extended from the 12th to the 19th centuries,
were sold to
American buyers.

Other Lines. John Hastings of this
family had inherited
Abergavenny castle in Monmouthshire through his mother in 1273. His son Laurence was created Earl of Pembroke
in 1339. However, the line died out fifty
years later. There followed a dispute
between two claimants to the title. But
the final view was that this line had ended in 1389.

A Hastings family had come into possession of
Daylesford manor in Worcestershire (now Gloucestershire) in 1275 and
was to
remain there until 1709. A descendant Warren Hastings, who made a
fortune in
India, repurchased the estate in 1788.

Hastings line started in Oxfordshire with the birth of James Hastings
Chipping Norton, close by Daylesford, in 1726.
He became a wine merchant in London.
His son James entered the church and was rector at Martley in
Worcestershire for sixty one years, from 1795 to 1856.
A later Rev. James Hastings spent fifty three
years at the parish, from 1891 to 1944.

The earlier Rev. James lived to be a
hundred and was the father of three remarkable sons:

  • Thomas and Francis Hastings who both entered
    the Royal Navy, the former rising to Admiral and the latter to Rear
    Admiral. Thomas became renowned for his
    expertise in gunnery.
  • and Charles
    Hastings, a medical surgeon who founded the British Medical Association

A later Hastings line began with
Stephen and Elizabeth Hastings at Walworth in London in the 1880’s. Their son Basil Hastings was a playwright of
some repute; their grandson Macdonald Hastings a distinguished
journalist and
war correspondent; and their great grandson Sir Max Hastings in his
time a
foreign correspondent for the BBC and editor-in-chief of the Daily Telegraph and Evening Standard.

Scotland. The Hastings name was taken to Scotland under
William the Lion in the latter part of the
12th century. These Norman Hastings were
once claimants to the Scottish throne.
The largest Hastings numbers today are in Dumfries on the
borders. But the name there, as with the
Hastings at Morton Thornhill, was probably a corruption of the Scottish
Hairstains or Hairstones.

. Hastings in Ireland may
be either
English/Scottish or Irish in origin.

English/Scottish Hastings can be found in
Northern Ireland, particularly in county Down.
They were Presbyterian churchwardens in Downpatrick from the
1730’s. A Hastings mausoleum dates there
from the 1820’s. Billy Hastings, born in
Belfast, is the proprietor of the Hastings Hotels Group, the largest in
Northern Ireland.

The Irish Hastings has appeared on the west coast, primarily
in Mayo and Clare. Hastings here was an
of the Gaelic O’hOistin, descendant
of Oistin (the Gaelic form of

America. Thomas
departed Ipswich on The Elizabeth for
New England in
1634. He and his second wife Margaret
settled in Watertown, Massachusetts.
They were the forebears of a large number of Hastings
descendants in
America. An early account of their line
was given in Lydia Hastings’ 1866 book The
Hastings Memorial

Among their descendants

  • Seth Hastings, US Congressman for
    Massachusetts from 1801 to 1807.
  • Thomas Hastings, composer of the hymn Rock
    of Ages
    in 1831.
  • Lansford Hastings,
    an Oregon pioneer of the 1840’s who wrote The
    Emigrants’ Guide to Oregon and California
    to encourage Americans
    to move
  • Thomas N. Hastings, a member of
    the New Hampshire Senate in the late 1800’s and friend to Thomas Edison.
  • and Reed Hastings, a co-founder of
    in 1997.

John Hastings arrived
in Henrico county, Virginia from London sometime in the 1690’s. His descendants migrated to North Carolina
and later to Henry county, Tennessee. Another
North Carolina Hastings line was to be found in Bedford county,
Tennessee. There was as well an early 19th
century Hasting
in Tennessee, Joseph Hasting or Haston who had acquired land in White
county in

Irish. Many Hastings came
from Ireland. John
Hastings came to Ohio in the early 1800’s and became a US
Congressman there in the 1840’s. James
and Thomas Hastings, probably Scots Irish, arrived in America from
around the year 1820, James settling in Jefferson county, Ohio and
Thomas in
Washington county, Pennsylvania.

. Irish Hastings also came
Australia. Daniel Hastings and his wife
Catherine arrived from Limerick on the
Bussorah Merchant in
1850. They made their home in Richmond,

Hastings Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Hastings Names

Robert de
was a steward to William the Conqueror in 1066, port
reeve to the town of Hastings, and forebear of the Hastings line.

Henry Hastings
was a key political
player in the Tudor courts of Edward VI, Mary, and Elizabeth in the

Warren Hastings
was the first de facto Governor
of India, from 1772 to 1785. He was later accused of corruption in his
but acquitted.

Sir Max Hastings
is a British author
and journalist. He has been a foreign
correspondent for the BBC and editor-in-chief of the Daily
and Evening

Select Hastings Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 9,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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