Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 950 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EARLS OF HUNTINGDON. GEORGE HASTINGS, 1st earl of Huntingdon' (c. 1488-1545), was the son and successor of ' The title of earl of Huntingdon had previously been held in other families (see HUNTINGDONSHIRE). The famous Robin Hood (?I160-?I247) is said to have had a claim to the earldom. Edward, 2nd Baron Hastings (d. 15o6), and the grandson of William, Baron Hastings, who was put to death by Richard III. in 1483. Being in high favour with Henry VIII., he was created earl of Huntingdon in 1529, and he was one of the royalist leaders during the suppression of the rising known as the Pilgrim-age of Grace in 1536. His eldest son FRANCIS, the 2nd earl (c. 1514—1561), was a close friend and political ally of John Dudley, duke of Northumberland, sharing the duke's fall and imprisonment after the death of Edward VI. in 1553; but he was quickly released, and was employed on public business by Mary. His brother Edward (c. 1520—1572) was one of Mary's most valuable servants; a stout Roman Catholic, he was master of the horse and then lord chamberlain to the queen, and was created Baron Hastings of Loughborough in 1558, this title becoming extinct when he died. The 2nd earl's eldest son HENRY, the 3rd earl (c. 1535—1595), married Northumberland's daughter Catherine. His mother was Catherine Pole (d. 1576), a descendant of George, duke of Clarence; and, asserting that he was thus entitled to succeed Elizabeth on the English throne, Huntingdon won a certain amount of support, especially from the Protestants and the enemies of Mary, queen of Scots. In 1572 he was appointed president of the council of the north, and during the troubled period between the flight of Mary to England in 1568 and the defeat of the Spanish armada twenty years later he was frequently employed in the north of England. It was doubtless felt that the earl's own title to the crown was a pledge that he would show scant sympathy with the advocates of Mary's claim. He assisted George Talbot, earl of Shrewsbury, to remove the Scottish queen from Wingfield to Tutbury, and for a short time in 1569 he was one of her custodians. Huntingdon was responsible for the compilation of an elaborate history of the Hastings family, a rnanusclipt copy of which is now in the British Museum. As he died childless, his earldom passed to his brother George. Another brother, Sir Francis Hastings (d. 161o), was a member of parliament and a prominent puritan during Elizabeth's reign, but is perhaps more celebrated as a writer. GEORGE, the 4th earl (c. 1540-1604), was the grandfather of HENRY, the 5th earl (1586—1643), and the father of Henry Hastings (c. 156o-165o), a famous sportsman, whose character has been delineated by the 1st earl of Shaftesbury (see L. Howard, A Collection of Letters, &c., 1753). The 6th earl was the 5th earl's son FERDINANDO (c. 16o8—r656). His brother Henry, Baron Loughborough (c. 1610—1667), won fame as a royalist (luring the Civil War, and was created a baron in 1643.

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