Leicester Mercury

Life of Royalist army leader is explored in book


- By NICK DAWSON nicholas.dawson@reachplc.com

THE life of a man from Loughborou­gh who was a Royalist army leader in the English Civil War has been explored in a new book.

Henry Hastings was born in 1610 at the Manor House, now the Caravelli restaurant, in Sparrow Hill.

He went on to become a general in charge of troops in the Midlands, loyal to King Charles I, fending off attacks by parliament­arian Lord Thomas Grey, of Groby, and even from Oliver Cromwell himself.

Hastings was so successful in the early part of the civil war that he was promoted to the aristocrac­y, as Lord Loughborou­gh. Now, his military career is being investigat­ed in a new book, In The Midst of the Kingdom, which looks at the part played by the Royalist cause in the Midlands during the mid-17th century civil wars.

Professor Martyn Bennett, president of the Loughborou­gh Archaeolog­ical and Historical Society, has written the work, based on his research for his doctorate from Loughborou­gh University in the 1980s.

He has previously written and edited several books on British history and civil wars, including three on the life of Oliver Cromwell.

The town played an important part in the war, with a Royalist garrison once based on the outskirts of Loughborou­gh.

On March 20, 1644, a battle was fought between the town and Cotes, with some of the fighting continuing into the then centre of the town and close to All Saints Church.

In September of that year, townswomen defended the church minister when there was a Royalist attempt to kidnap him from his pulpit after the resident of the rectory, Nicholas Hall, had been ejected from Parliament because of his royalism.

In the Midst of the Kingdom sets all of this local history into the context of the civil war in the region and in the country as a whole.

It is available at several bookshops and online from publisher Helion.

 ??  ?? HISTORIC ROLE: Henry Hastings, who become Lord Loughborou­gh
HISTORIC ROLE: Henry Hastings, who become Lord Loughborou­gh

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