FORSTER, Ferdinando (1670-1701), of Bamburgh Castle, Northumb.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



16 Jan. - 22 Aug. 1701

Family and Education

b. 14 Feb. 1670, 3rd s. of Sir William Forster of Bamburgh, and bro. of William*.  educ. Durham sch.; G. Inn 1686; St. John’s, Camb. 1686. unmsuc. bro. 1700.1

Offices Held

Ensign, Holland Regt. 1685, lt. 1688; capt. 1 Ft. Gds. 1689–91.2


Forster gained his first army commission in 1685 aged only 15, but a military career may not yet have been settled upon since the following year he entered Cambridge and Gray’s Inn. Two years later, however, he returned to the army, gaining a lieutenant’s commission in 1688 and appointment as captain the following year, but he resigned this commission in 1691. Little more is known of Forster until late 1700 when he stood for the Northumberland seat previously held by his elder brother, from whom in September that year he had inherited the heavily indebted family estates. Prior to this Forster does not appear to have involved himself in public affairs. Forster was successful at the election of January 1701, and in February he was listed as likely to support the Court in the supply committee’s resolution to continue the ‘Great Mortgage’. At the end of the 1701 session Forster returned to Northumberland, but while attending a dinner on 22 Aug. at Newcastle-upon-Tyne for the grand jury of the county he quarrelled with John Fenwick of Rock. One account relates that Fenwick entered singing ‘a favourite party song’ to the refrain of ‘Sir John Fenwick’s† the flower among them’ and thereby provoked Forster, while another claims that Forster angered Fenwick by stating that there were ‘too many such [i.e. Tories] in the House’. Though the two men were prevented from fighting at the dinner, they met the following day in Newcastle, drew swords and in the resulting skirmish Forster was killed. His murderer was executed later the same year. Forster left his heavily indebted estate to his sister and to Thomas Forster II*, son of his other (deceased) sister. Proceedings in Chancery for recovery of debts forced the sale of this estate, and though this sale yielded £20,679 Forster’s debts accounted for all but £1,028 of this sum.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Arch. Ael. ser. 4, xxiii. 120; New Hist. Northumb. i. 157; Morant, Essex, ii. 45.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1690–1, p. 268.
  • 3. New Hist. Northumb. 165; Add. 70019, f. 285; J. Scott, Hist. Berwick-upon-Tweed, 480; CSP Dom. 1686–7, pp. 231–2; PC 2/72, p. 386; R. Welford, Hist. Gosforth, 80; Welford, Men of Mark ’twixt Tyne and Tweed, ii. 255–60; Mackenzie, Hist. Acct. Newcastle, 50; Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 84; E. Hughes, N. Country Life, i. 270.