Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hasted, Edward

HASTED, EDWARD (1732–1812), historian of Kent, born on 20 Dec. 1732, was only son of Edward Hasted, lord of the manor of Huntingfield Court in the parish of Easling, Kent, and a barrister-at-law of Lincoln's Inn, by Anne, daughter and coheiress of Joseph Tyler of London. He was educated at Eton and afterwards became a student of Lincoln's Inn. At one period he possessed considerable landed property in Kent, and for a short time was chairman of the quarter sessions at Canterbury. On 8 May 1766 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society; he was also a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. His elaborate history of the county of Kent occupied him for upwards of forty years. He abstracted with his own hand all the wills in the prerogative office at Canterbury, and made researches in the public records in London, in the libraries at Lambeth and Canterbury cathedral, and in the fine collection at Surrenden, Kent. The manuscripts of many antiquaries were communicated to him; and he obtained information from the nobility and gentry of the county. Sir S. Egerton Brydges, while characterising him as a good topographical antiquary, says he was imprudent and eccentric. He generally inhabited one of the prebendal houses at Canterbury, where he had access to the prerogative office and the cathedral documents. When involved in pecuniary embarrassments he grew reckless, and the latter part of his history was brought out in a slovenly manner. It was completed in four folio volumes, 1778–99. Altogether it displays more research than taste either in style or in the arrangement of the materials. It is very defective in details of social history and in biographical or literary history. It presents, however, a faithful record of the property of the county and of the genealogies of its principal families.

Hasted's library was sold by auction in 1795, and his pecuniary difficulties eventually compelled him to quit Kent. He subsequently lived in obscurity in the environs of London. A few years before his death the Earl of Radnor presented him to the mastership of the hospital at Corsham, Wiltshire, and afterwards, by a decree in the court of chancery, he recovered his estates in Kent. He died in the master's lodge at Corsham on 14 Jan. 1812. Sir Egerton Brydges says ‘he was a little, mean-looking man, with a long face and a high nose; quick in his movements and sharp in his manner. He had no imagination or sentiment, nor any extraordinary quality of the mind, unless memory.’ He married in 1755 Anne, third daughter of John Dorman of Sutton-at-Hone, and had issue five sons and two daughters.

The title of his history is ‘The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent,’ 4 vols., Canterbury, 1778, 1782, 1790, and 1799, fol. In June 1858 the author's own copy, with manuscript corrections and 2,528 coats of arms illuminated by Dowse, was sold for 94l. A large-paper copy in the Grenville Library contains fifteen additional plates which are very scarce. A collection, made by J. W. Jones, of drawings and water-colour sketches, with prints and engravings to illustrate Hasted's work, and bound in twenty-three folio volumes, is in the British Museum (Addit. MSS. 32353–75). A second edition of the ‘History of Kent,’ ‘improved, corrected, and continued to the present time,’ appeared in 12 vols. at Canterbury, 1797–1801, 8vo. The ‘History of Canterbury’ was printed separately in folio 1799, and again in 2 vols. 8vo, 1801. The first part of a new edition of Hasted's ‘History of Kent,’ corrected, enlarged, and continued to the present time, from the manuscript collections of the late Rev. Thomas Streatfield and the late Rev. Lambert Blackwell Larking, the public records, and other sources, was published at London in 1886, fol., under the editorship of Henry H. Drake. It comprises the hundred of Blackheath.

Hasted also drew up ‘A Genealogical and Historical Table of the Families of Heron of Newark, &c., verified throughout by Records and other authentic Documents,’ printed for private distribution in 1797. There is a copy in the British Museum, where many of his collections relating to Kent are likewise preserved among the Additional MSS. Two portraits of him, one a pencil drawing and the other an engraving from a private plate, are inserted in Additional MS. 32353, f. 1.

[Addit. MSS. 5536, 5537, 5872 f. 88, 16661, 28538 ff. 43, 44; Brydges's Autobiography, i. 50, 51; Critical Review, 1778, p. 401; Egerton MS. 2374, ff. 307, 308, 313; Gent. Mag. 1812, pt. i. 189, 672, pt. ii. 104, 205, 1813, pt. i. 308; Gough's British Topography, i. 131, 446; Hasted's Kent, ii. 563, 753; Lowndes's Bibl. Man. (Bohn), pp. 1010, 1054; Nichols's Illustr. of Lit. (index); Nichols's Lit. Anecd. iii. 522, 677, vii. 172, 587; Thomson's Royal Society, Append. p. lii; Upcott's English Topography, i. 358.]

T. C.