Hastings Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Hastings Meaning
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
Hastings 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

The Hastings Coat of Arms.  The Hastings coat of arms was
one of the first coat of arms to be created in England.
Its romantic origin centers on an ancestor of
Emma de Hastings, namely Hugh de Hastings of Barwell.
He had received the Barwell estate in
Leicestershire upon marriage to Erneburga de Flamville.

Shortly after 1130 Hugh
was in a jousting tournament.  He carried
a plain gold shield without markings of any kind.  Hugh
noticed that other knights displayed
favors from their wives or sweethearts.
He approached his wife in the stands and asked for a favor that
bring him luck.  Having nothing suitable
on hand, Lady Erneburga is said to have torn off the sleeve of her gown
draped it over the shield of her husband.

Shortly after that, the Hastings sleeve
had become the Hastings coat of arms.  It is not known if the
sleeve brought
Hugh de Hastings any luck in the tournament.

The Hastings Name in Scotland.  George Fraser Black wrote as follows about the
emergence of the Hastings name in Scotland in his 1946 book The
Surnames of Scotland

“The old
Scottish family of Hastings was a branch of the English family of that
settled in Scotland during the reign of William the Lion.
From him they obtained a grant of the lands
of Dun in Angus.  Johanne de Hastinge was
the lord of Dun and sheriff and forester of the Mearns around the year
1178.  He was still alive in 1210.  His son David de Hastinges married Forflissa,
Countess of Atholl, and succeeded in her right to the earldom in 1242.

Adam de Hastenge “had from King William a gift of the lands of
in Tweeddale, which he afterwards gave to Arnbroath Abbey.” William,
of Robert de Hastings, witnessed the gift of a stone of wax yearly to
church of Glasgow in 1233 and Sir Robert de Hastangg was sheriff of
Roxburgh in

Some Harestanes changed to Hastings.”

The Hastings Manuscripts.  After the death of Reginald
Rawdon-Hastings of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire, the Hastings
manuscripts were sold in 1926 to Henry Huntington, the American
railroad and
real estate magnate.  They now reside in

By the 15th century this family had been firmly
established at
Ashby-de-la-Zouch and it is Leicestershire that the bulk of the
documents in
the Hastings Manuscripts relates.

The collection can conveniently be divided
into four main sections – correspondence, deeds, estate papers, and
papers.  The Hastings collection is
particularly rich in letters.  There are
some 5,000 letters written before 1700, twice as many as for the period

Warren Hastings and Daylesford.  Warren Hastings had dreamed from his childhood and
throughout his career in India of buying back the old family estate of
Daylesford in Worcestershire where he had been born in 1732.

Miles de Hastings
had been granted the manor of Daylesford in 1275.  The manor continued in the
possession of the Hastings family until 1709.
At that time the Hastings fortunes has been much reduced and
Hastings – together with his sons Samuel, Penyston and Theophilus – was
to sell the estate to raise needed funds.

Further misfortune followed for Warren
Hastings.  His mother Hester died
shortly after his birth.  His clergyman
father then abandoned him and his elder sister Anne and took himself
and his
new wife off to live in Barbados.  The
poor children, virtually orphans, were therefore brought up by their
grandfather and, later, by their uncle.

Upon his return from India in 1785,
having amassed a fortune, Warren Hastings set about the business of
his dream.  After three years of
negotiations he bought back Daylesford, then consisting of a ruined
house and
550 acres of land, before engaging Samuel Pepys Cockerell to build the
house.  In all he spent about £55,000 on
acquiring and improving the estate.

Warren Hastings also rebuilt the  Norman church of St Peter at Daylesford in 1816, where
he was buried two years later.  His wife
Marian continued to live at the manor until her death in 1837.

Thomas Hastings Father and Son in Early Massachusetts.  Thomas Hastings, the immigrant in 1634, was a civic leader
of his community, a deacon of his church and deputy for the town of Watertown (where he lived) to
the General Court of Massachusetts in 1673.

His eldest son Thomas Jr. was anything
but.  In 1671 the young Thomas, then aged
19, was accused of fathering a child out of wedlock.
While he denied the relationship and asserted
that another was the father, Susannah Woodward was quite forthright
about their
alleged liaisons and “for all of which miscarriages she craved

Although paternity could not be established, circumstantial
evidence and hearsay led to an order that Thomas, Jr. should pay for
maintenance of the child and that his father should assume the
responsibility.  It could have been a
criminal offence.  But his father’s
standing in the community brought relative leniency.

The younger Thomas married
Anna Hawkes a year later after having moved 150 miles away to the
village of
Hatfield.  He became a respected doctor
there.  Dr. Thomas practiced medicine for
some forty years and served as the town clerk for two decades.  His was a frontier practice and, as such, he
treated many injuries sustained in skirmishes with the Indians.

His son Thomas settled to farm in Amherst,
Massachusetts in the 1750’s.

Mike Hastings the Real King of England.  A Channel 4 TV documentary in 2004 stated that Mike Hastings, a forklift driver in Australia, should be the
real king of England.

The documentary suggested that King Edward IV was
conceived illegitimately.  Edward’s father Richard of York had been fighting the
French at Pontoise when he was conceived in 1442.  His
mother Cecily was 125 miles away at
Rouen, allegedly in the amorous arms of an English archer.
It was thus George Plantagenet, the 1st Duke of Clarence,
who should have been the ‘legitimate’ son of Richard of York and hence
the next
in the line.

The royal line would then have led to Henry Pole, to Catherine Pole,
and to her son Henry Hastings, the 3rd Earl of Huntingdon.  Mike
Hastings was
his present-day descendant who had rejected his aristocratic heritage
departed for Australia in 1960 in search of adventure.
Mike died in 2012.


Hastings Names

  • Robert de Hastings 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 mid-16th century.   
  • Warren Hastings was the first de facto Governor
    General of India, from 1772 to 1785. He was later accused of corruption in his position, 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 Standard

Select Hastings Numbers 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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