Ferdinando Forster 1670-1701
General Thomas Forster 1683-1738
The name “Forster” (sometimes spelt Forrester, Forester or Foster) is an early medieval surname and is probably an occupational name meaning ‘forest guardian’ from a person who looked after a forest. After 1066 the Normans introduced forest law which reserved huge tracts of land as royal hunting grounds, so not necessarily woodland as the terms ‘forest’ now implies.
The ancient Bamburgh Forsters have a long and varied history, including providing twelve successive Governors of Bamburgh Castle over a period of 400 years, but the family was ultimately ruined as a result of their part in the Jacobite risings in the 18th century.
The stories on this website cover the characters below.
Sir John Forster
d 1601– the “Godly Rogue”. Son of Sir Thomas Forster of Adderstone (ancient seat of family). Bought much land from Henry VIII on Dissolution of Monasteries, including the Augustinian Priory in Bamburgh (also Hulne Abbey in Alnwick). Warden of the East Marches, made Constable of the Castle by Elizabeth
illegitimate son of Sir John, but his heir. D 1614. Rode to meet James 1 at Berwick when Janes rode to claim England in 1603
son of Nicholas. Famous as given Bamburgh Castle (mostly in ruins since the siege of 1464, other than the Keep) in 1610. Knighted in 1619. D 1623. No children
son of Claudius’ brother John. D 1636
son of Nicholas. Married Dorothy Selby who brought Blanchland into the family estate
d 1700- family fortune frittered away
son of William and brother of Dorothy and Frances, murdered in a duel in Newcastle in 1700, whose armour hangs in St Aidan’s Bamburgh Church. William’s many children included
“pretty Dolly Forster”daughter of William and sister to Ferdindo and Frances. Married Nathaniel lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, in 1700, who bought up the family estates saving them from bankruptcy
Dorothy’s niece and nephew, Dorothy and Thomas
children of Dorothy (Lady Crewe’s) sister Frances
appointed General in the Northern Jacobite Rebellion despite no military experience. Rebellion led by Earl of Derwentwater (grandson of the wrong side of blanket of Charles II). Rebels defeated at Preston 1714; Thomas incarcerated in Newgate, “sprung” out by sister Dorothy