The Apostle of Leicestershire

Puritan Guardian of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Claire Cross


As soon as Lord Hastings succeeded his father as third Earl of Huntingdon in June 15 60 he ceased to be a private man, for his rank inevitably imposed upon him public obligations which he realised he owed first to his own locality. Now that he had become an earl, and the leading nobleman in Leicestershire, the queen and her councillors held him responsible for the quiet government of the county. The town of Leicester, the justices for the shire, in their turn looked to him to protect their interests against outsiders, to advance their local schemes at court, generally to act as their ‘good lord’. Huntingdon had been prepared for these duties from his birth, he had already served an apprenticeship under his father and knew exactly what men expected from a nobleman in his locality. But he was more than a conventional nobleman; from the first he saw that his rank brought him power to bring not only good but also godly government to the county. His father, content to keep Leicestershire loyal to the crown, had apparently not troubled himself about the state of the souls of men under his rule: Huntingdon cared intensely about their religious beliefs. Already in 15 60 he conceived of his work in Leicestershire in specifically religious terms as the punishment of superstition and error and the encouragement of true religion wherever it had begun to show its face.


Catholic Priest Privy Council Henry VIII Crown Property True Religion 
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© Claire Cross 1966

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  • Claire Cross

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