Hans Francis Hastings, 12th Earl of Huntingdon

Hans Francis Hastings, 12th Earl of Huntingdon (14 August 1779 9 December 1828) was a British Royal Navy officer and peer. He was sometimes known by his second Christian name, Francis, Earl of Huntingdon.

Family background

Hastings was the youngest of the four sons of Lieutenant-Colonel George Hastings, a great-great-great-great-grandson of Sir Edward Hastings of Leicester Abbey, son of Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon. During the lifetime of Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon, George's elder brother was regarded as heir-presumptive to the earldom, and a marriage was arranged between George and the Earl's younger sister Lady Selina Hastings (daughter of the 9th Earl and his wife Selina). However, Lady Selina died on 12 May 1763, and in 1769 George Hastings married instead Sarah Fowler, daughter of Sir Richard Fowler, 2nd Baronet, of Harnage Grange. The 10th Earl of Huntingdon died on 2 October 1789 and was succeeded in his estates and the baronies of Botreaux, Hungerford, de Moleyns and Hastings by his surviving sister Elizabeth, whose son Francis Rawdon-Hastings was created Marquess of Hastings in 1816. George Hastings' brother the Rev. Theophilus Henry Hastings, though assuming the style of 11th Earl of Huntingdon, took no steps to prove his right to the Earldom, which therefore became dormant.

Early career and marriage

Hans Francis Hastings entered the Royal Navy in 1793 and was promoted Lieutenant in 1799. He was severely wounded in an action in Quiberon Bay.

On 12 May 1803 he married Frances Cobbe, the daughter of the Rev. Richard Chaloner Cobbe, rector of Great Marlow.[1] They had four sons:

and four daughters

Claim to the Earldom

For a distant kinsman (6th cousin) of the tenth Earl of Huntingdon, the successful pursuit of a claim to the peerage, which had fallen into abeyance, was an arduous affair which finally succeeded in 1819. A book was written on the subject.[3]

He was descended from Edward Hastings, the fourth son of Francis Hastings, 2nd Earl of Huntingdon, as follows:

1. Sir Edward Hastings m. Barbara Devereux, granddaughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Viscount Hereford, through his son, Sir William Devereux
2. Sir Henry Hastings (d. after 18 Jun 1640) m. Mabel Faunt
3. Henry Hastings (d. abt 1654) m. 19 Jul 1641, in Long Clawson, Jane Goodall
4. Richard Hastings (bap 5 May 1645, Humberstone, bur 30 Oct 1714, Welford) m. 01 Oct 1697, in Frolesworth, Sarah Sleath (bur 07 Dec 1707, Lutterworth)
5. Henry Hastings (bap 22 May 1701, Lutterworth, bur 10 Oct 1786, Lutterworth) m. 07 Nov 1727, in Lutterworth, Elizabeth Hudson
6. Lt.-Col. George Hastings (bap 06 Jun 1735, Lutterworth, d. 06 Feb 1802) m. 02 Apr 1769, in Westminster St James, Sarah Hodges (d. 1807)
7. Hans Francis Hastings, 12th Earl of Huntingdon (b. 14 Aug 1779, d. 09 Dec 1828)

Later life

On 31 March 1820, Huntingdon's wife Frances died, and on 28 September the same year he married Eliza Mary, daughter of Joseph Bettesworth of Ryde and widow of Alexander Thistlethwayte.

He returned to his naval career, being promoted Commander on 7 March 1821. He served as Governor of Dominica between 1822 and 1824, and was made Post Captain on 29 May 1824. On 14 August the same year, he took over command of the Hermes class sixth-rate sloop HMS Valorous and sailed her to the West Indies. However, he became seriously ill, relinquished his command, and took a passage home by way of New York.

He died at Green Park, Youghal, at the age of 49, and was succeeded in the earldom by his eldest son, Francis Theophilus Henry Hastings. His widow remarried on 26 April 1838 to Colonel Sir Thomas Noel Harris KCH and died on 9 November 1846 in Boulogne, France.


  1. Author of Thirty sermons: on various subjects, the posthumous works of Richard Chaloner Cobbe, two volumes, 1793
  2. The Annual Register, or, A view of the history and politics of the year, vol. 99 (J. G. & F. Rivington, 1858), p. 369
  3. Henry Nugent Bell, The Huntingdon Peerage (London: printed for Baldwin, Cradock & Joy, 1820)

External links

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