FORSTER, Gilbert (d.1410), of Winchester, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Feb. 1388

Family and Education

m. (1) by 1389, Joan; (2) aft. 1404, Juliana, da. and coh. of Alice, wid. of John Taverner of Kingsham in Chichester, Suss.,1 2s.

Offices Held

Commons’ bailiff, Winchester Mich. 1383-4; bailiff of the 24, 1389-90; mayor 1396-7, 1404-5.2


Forster was involved in civic affairs by 1377. As Commons’ bailiff in 1384 he informed the sheriff of Hampshire of the result of the Winchester parliamentary elections, and in 1386-7 he was one of four auditors of the 24 and a cofferer.3 But his main concern was his business as a wealthy dyer. At Winchester the dyers and fullers organized the finishing of cloth in all aspects of the process, and Forster was supervisor of the fulling mill at Priors Barton. Owning workshops and equipment as well as the raw materials, he lived at the centre of a substantial establishment. In 1394-5 he sold 30 lengths of cloth, and in 1398-9 a further 40.4 His properties in the Brooks area were situated near the mills and streams essential to his trade: a house on the east side of Tanner Street, purchased in 1389, was next to a plot later occupied by the new communal fulling mill at Coitebury, which in 1402 the civic authorities rented out to him and two other fullers for a year. In 1404 he acquired a tenement next door to the Tanner Street premises, with access to running water via Mosa Lane. He also held a building at the entrance to Shulworth Street, a toft in Buck Street, which he leased from St. John’s hospital, and a house (where he lived) on the west side of Buck Street, ‘cum quodum parvo rivulo in medio currenti’.5

Although his second wife stood to inherit lands in Sussex, these never came into Forster’s possession, and his interests remained centred on Winchester. Here he was also a feoffee of various properties, including La Starre Inn; and in 1405 during his second mayoralty he was appointed trustee for the administration of the chantry founded under the will of Lucy, widow of Richard Frye*. In 1407, along with Edmund Picard*, he rode to Andover on the city’s business.6 By his will, enrolled in the city court in November 1410, shortly after his death, Forster left his house in Buck Street to his widow, Juliana, for the rest of her life, with remainder to his sons, John and William, providing that if they died childless his possessions should be sold and the proceeds spent on repairs to St. George’s church and on religious services.7 However, Juliana married Richard Turnaunt*, and by 1417 the latter had taken over the entire estate.

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Stowe 846, f. 103v; CCR, 1413-19, p. 153; 1441-7, p. 458; D.J. Keene, Surv. Winchester (Winchester Studies ii), ii. 1232.
  • 2. E364/24 m. Ad, 33 m. F; Stowe 846, ff. 81v, 89, 103, 110, 112.
  • 3. Winchester RO, mayor’s acct. 1 Ric. II; ct. roll 10 Ric. II m. 1; C219/8/10.
  • 4. E101/344/10, 12; Black Bk. Winchester ed. Bird, 10.
  • 5. Keene, ii. nos. 82-89, 267, 404-5, 476-8, 490, 496, 622-3, 977; Stowe 846, ff. 103v, 112, 113v, 120v, 123v; Winchester RO, 34/BX/TC9, enrolments mm. 28, 30d; Black Bk. 9.
  • 6. Stowe 846, ff. 108v, 109, 114v; Winchester RO, chamberlains’ acct. 8-9 Hen. IV.
  • 7. Winchester RO, 34/BX/TC9, enrolments m. 44.