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IN COMMITTEE OF PRIVILEGES. July 16.
1841 : March 25. 27.
THE HASTINGS PEERAGE. May 4.
It is now settled law that a sitting in Parliament in pursuance of a
writ of summons constitutes, in the absence of a patent, a dignity descendible to the heirs general of the body of the person sum. moned: and that in claims to ancient dignities, a summons and
a sitting in Parliament are required to be proved. The usual evidence of a writ of summons, is the inrolment; and, of a
sitting, is the Parliament roll or journals of the time. Where the writs of summons, or inrolments of them, and the journals
of remote times are wanting, a memorandum, entered on a Parliament roll, of a grant to the King in his Parliament, by certain persons named “et cæteri magnates et proceres tunc in Parlia. mento existentes,” is sufficient evidence that a person named therein sat as a Lord of Parliament, although there was no proof
that he was summoned to that particular Parliament. Instruments purporting to be the acts of Peers, but not acts done
in Parliament, and not necessarily the acts of Peers of Parlia-
Parliament, although he was certainly summoned.
was summoned by special writ to Parliament, in the 49th H.3; but
moned, but there was no proof that he sat in any of them.Held that it might be well presumed that John de H. sat in the
Parliament of the 18th of Edw. 1, in pursuance of a summons ; on the principle that omnia presumuntur legitime facta donec
probetur in contrarium. Length of time is no bar to a claim to a dignity; yet if a series of
persons, of right entitled to it, do not enjoy it, or assert their right, a presumption may arise against the right, on claim by their descendants, unless the absence of enjoyment or claim is satisfac
torily accounted for. Where 450 years elapsed from the death of the last possessor of a
dignity, and during the first 250 years a question was pending
whether the heirs male of the half blood, or the heirs female of the whole blood, were entitled to succeed, and before that question was determined the dignity fell into abeyance, and remained in
that state for the residue of the time, Held that these were sufficient reasons to rebut the presumption
arising from the long omission to enjoy or claim the dignity. The doctrine that possessio fratris, applicable to lands, does not
affect the descent of a dignity by writ first held in the Grey de Ruthyn and Fitwalter Baronies, (Collins, 195, 286), confirmed.
THE Barony of Hastings, created by writ in the reign of Henry 3, and which became dormant, or, at least, had not been actually enjoyed since the death of John Lord Hustings without issue in the year 1389, and fell into abeyance in 1542, was claimed in 1840 by Sir Jacob Astley, of Melton Constable, in the county of Norfolk, Bart., and by Henry Le Strange Styleman Le Strange, Esq., of Hunstanton, in the said county, as coheirs to the dignity.
The petition of Sir Jacob Astley to the Queen, referred by Her Majesty to the House of Lords with the Attorney-general's report annexed on the 25th of June 1840, stated (among other things) “that his ancestor, Sir Henry de Hastings, was summoned to Parliament as a Baron of the realm in the 49th year of the reign of King Henry 3 (1264), and died in 1268, leaving John de Hastings his son and heir, who was summoned to Parliament as a Baron of the realm in the 18th year of Edward 1, and again to several Parliaments, from the 23d of Edw. 1 to the 6th of Edw. 2; and that he (John) sat in the Parliaments which met at Westminster in the 18th and 28th of Edw. 1, and in the Parliament held at Lincoln in the 29th of the same King: by which writs of summons to, and sittings in, Parliament a Barony in fee was created, descendible to the heirs general of his body, and which has descended to, and is now
vested in, the heirs general of the said Sir Henry and Sir John de Hastings.
“ That the said Sir John, Baron Hastings, married, first, Isabella, daughter of William de Valence, Earl of Pembroke, by whom he had issue a son, John, and a daughter, Elizabeth Hastings, who married Roger Baron Grey of Ruthyn; and that he married to his second wife, Isabella, daughter of Hugh Le Despenser, by whom he had issue two sons, Thomas, who died without issue, and Sir Hugh Hastings; and that the said John Lord Hastings died in 1313: That his said first son, John, was summoned to Parliament from the 6th year of Edw. 2 (1313), to the 18th of the same reign, 1325, in which year he died, leaving Sir Lawrence de Hastings Baron Hastings his son and heir, who was created Earl of Pembroke by King Edward 3, in 1339, and died in 1348, when he was succeeded by his son and heir Sir John de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke and Baron Hastings, who died in 1375, leaving John de Hastings, third Earl of Pembroke and sixth Baron Hastings, his son and heir, who died without issue in the year 1389, when the Earldom of Pembroke became extinct, and the Barony of Hastings devolved on Hugh Hastings, Esq. the greatgrandson and heir of the aforesaid Sir Hugh, son of John Baron Hastings, by Isabella Le Despenser, his second wife.
“ That the said Hugh Hastings died without issue in 1396, leaving his brother and heir Sir Edward Hastings, who styled himself · Lord Hastings,' and died in 1437 leaving John Hastings his son and heir, who died in 1477 leaving Sir Hugh Hastings his son and heir, who died in 1488 leaving Sir John Hastings his son and heir, who died without issue in 1504 leaving Sir George Hastings his brother and
heir, who died in 1512 leaving John Hastings his son and heir, who died without issue in 1514 leaving Sir Hugh his brother and heir, who died in the same year leaving John Hastings his son and heir, and two daughters, Anne and Elizabeth; and that John, the son of the said Sir Hugh Hastings, died without issue in 1542, leaving Anne and Elizabeth, his said two sisters and coheirs, between whom the said Barony fell into abeyance, in which state it has continued, and now remains.
“That the said Anne Hastings married William Browne, second son of Sir Anthony Browne, and had issue by him Sir Anthony Browne, her son and heir, whose great-grandson and heir Thomas Browne, of Elsing, Esq., in the county of Norfolk, died in 1706, leaving a daughter and heir Phillipa, wife of John Berney, Esq., by whom she had issue her son and heir Thomas Berney, whose grand-daughter and sole heir Frances (widow of the Rev. Richard Browne, late of Elsing) was still living, and was the heir general of the said Anne Hastings; and as such, was one of the coheirs of the Barony of Hastings.
" That Elizabeth, the other sister and coheir of the said John Hastings, married Hamon Le Strange, Esq., and by him had issue Thomas Le Strange, her son and heir, who died without issue in 1581 ; and a second son, Sir Nicholas Le Strange, who died in 1692, whose grandson and heir Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Bart. left issue Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Bart. his son and heir, who died in 1669, and was succeeded by his son and heir Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Bart., who died in 1724, leaving issue two sons, Thomas and Henry, and two daughters, Armine and Lucy: That Thomas, the eldest son, succeeded his father in the Baronetcy, and dying without issue in 1751, was succeeded by his brother
and heir Sir Henry Le Strange, who died without issue in the year 1760.
“That Armine Le Strange, the eldest daughter of the said Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Bart., married Nicholas Styleman, of Snettisham, in the county of Norfolk, Esq., by whom she had issue, and is now represented by Henry Le Strange Styleman Le Strange, Esq., her great-grandson and heir, who is consequently one of
he Barony of Hastings, as coheir of the before-mentioned Elizabeth Hastings.
“That Lucy Le Strange, the other daughter of the said Sir Nicholas Le Strange, Bart., married Sir Jacob Astley, of Melton Constable, in the county of Norfolk, Bart., by whom she had issue Sir Edward Astley, her son and heir, who died in 1803, leaving Sir Jacob Henry Astley his son and heir, who died in 1817, leaving Sir Jacob Astley, the petitioner, his son and heir; who was also one of the coheirs of the said Barony, as coheir of the before-mentioned Elizabeth Hastings; and as such coheir he prayed Her Majesty to determine the abeyance of the said Barony in his favour, by commanding a writ of summons to Parliament to be issued to him, by the name, style and title of Baron Hastings.
The petition of Mr. Styleman Le Strange to the Queen, also referred by Her Majesty to the House of Lords on the same day, stated the creation, descent, and abeyance of the Barony, and deduced the pedigree of all the coheirs in the same manner; supplying more particularly so much of his own pedigree as was only stated generally in Sir Jacob Astley's petition; namely, that Armine Le Strange had issue by her said husband, Nicholas Le Strange, two sons; (first) Nicholas, her son and heir, who died in 1788