Henry Hastings, 5th Earl of Huntingdon
Henry Hastings, 5th Earl of Huntingdon (24 April 1586 – 14 November 1643), was a prominent English nobleman and literary patron in England during the first half of the seventeenth century.
He was born at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, the one of three sons of Francis Hastings, Baron Hastings, and Lady Sarah Harington. Henry was a great-great-great-grandson of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury.
Henry Hastings was educated at Gray's Inn. In 1595, Henry's father, Francis, died, and Hastings was next to succeed his grandfather, George Hastings, 4th Earl of Huntingdon, which on 31 December 1604, he did. In 1607, at the age of 21, Hastings commanded forces in the suppression of the Midland Revolt. Throughout his maturity the 5th Earl served in a wide range of offices in the counties of Leicestershire, Lancashire, and Rutland, including Lord Lieutenant of Leicester and Rutland, 1614–42. He was also a member of the Virginia Company.
The Earls of Huntingdon were traditionally patrons of the town of Leicester and involved in its governance. However Huntingdon became involved in a law suit and in 1606 the town did not send him a customary New Year's gift. The Earl was offended, and in 1607 the townspeople sent his wife a gift of a horse to try to patch things up. The Earl, still offended, asked the Countess to refuse the horse, and the rift continued for a year.
On 15 January 1601 he married Lady Elizabeth Stanley (1588–1633), the third and youngest daughter of Ferdinando Stanley, 5th Earl of Derby, and Lady Alice Spencer. His wife was a great-great-granddaughter of Mary Tudor, Duchess of Suffolk. She, at one time, was third-in-line to succeed to the throne of England. However, she and her two older sisters were passed over for James VI of Scotland.
- Lady Alice Hastings (1606–1667), married Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baronet; died childless.
- Ferdinando Hastings, 6th Earl of Huntingdon (18 January 1609 – 13 February 1655), married Lucy Davies, by whom he had issue.
- Lord Henry Hastings, 1st Baron Loughborough, of Loughborough (28 September 1610 – 10 January 1667), had issue.
- Lady Elizabeth Hastings (born ca. 1605), married Sir Hugh Calverley; died childless.
Though a recognized leader of the Puritan movement and a critic of the policies of the House of Stuart, Hastings was also a patron of stage drama, comparable to his contemporaries the Earls of Pembroke—William Herbert, 3rd Earl, and Philip Herbert, 4th Earl. Hastings was known as the most important aristocratic patron of the playwrights Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. (Hastings and Beaumont were distant cousins.) Hastings patronized other dramatists of the era as well, including John Marston.
Upon his death in 1643, Henry Hastings was succeeded by his eldest son, Ferdinando Hastings, as 6th Earl.
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