The following two historical insights into one of Sir John Forster’s descendants have been compiled by the wonderful Bamburgh Bones volunteer researcher Carol Griffith. Carol delights in scouring archives and ancient documents to gather information about Bamburgh and it’s impressive castle through the ages..
Claudius Forster was the eldest child of Sir Nicholas and was born in 1575. In 1612 he followed his father as High Sheriff and in 1620 he was made a Baron.
However Claudius is famous for us because of the Grant in 1609 by James of the Castle of Bamburgh. Although the Forsters had owned so much of Bamburgh – the old Cell of the Augustan Cannons, on which the Manor House had been built – they had never owned the Castle. It may be thought that James I was munificent in the extreme in bestowing the Castle, which for centuries had been a royal fortress. But it could also be argued that James “offloaded” it as if none of the Tudor monarchs before him could afford to restore it, neither could James and, for that matter, neither could the Forsters.
The parchment Scroll awarding the Grant still exists at Woodhorn Archive. The original parchment is exquisitely written, embellished by a detailed superbly executed portrait of James, and complete with an intact seal, still safe in its original seal tin. A copy of the parchment and seal now hangs in the Castle
Claudius and his wife Elizabeth had no children. Only two letters exist, one written by Claudius, to his chaplain Mr. Cuthbert Marley, and one by his wife Elizabeth, possibly written after she was widowed, perhaps sometime during the English Civil War (1642–1651). They are undated and the context is unknown.
“Mr. Marley; in my absence be carefull that all things be ordered and kept in good fashion. As for the arrears of your wages, dewe at Newe Year’s day last, being seventeen pounds, which makes just £40, being all that is dewe unto you till midsomer next, I pray you not to fail, but to goe over into Bambrouughshire with the bearer, for the spedy and more redy dispatch of him for comeing upp with my rentes; and for your provision there, there is both malt and wheat bread, beside mouton at Yesington, and other petty tithes, that will save you from starving of hunger. I am in haste, and soe must reste, savings this much, that if any doe wrong my tenants in my absence, you let my tenants appeal to Sir Ralph Deleval, or Sir Ralph Grey, who are the tow I most presume of in Northumberland; and I know that commonly a man’s absence gives way to a man’s subtill adversary; and thus I rest your Patron
Lady Elizabeth wrote to one John Appleby-
“It is impossible for me to give you directions touching everything; for ye times are soe changeable and dangerouse that none can tell what to doe. Therefore I commit all my occasions to your discretion, to doe the best you can. As for my goodes I cannot tell what to say, for in this country all is taken and is takeing. I hope you will escape as long as anye, if you could but keep them from theeves… I have sent two cakes to Frances and Maudlen; and I have sent you your garden seedes, which I would have sown as soon as you can…But bee sure to cover them with some birch..for fear of the turkies and hens. Your wife and children are well…but how soon we shall be distressed, God knows