FORSTER, Sir Humphrey, 2nd Bt. (1650-1711), of Aldermaston, Berks.
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Family and Education
b. 21 Dec. 1650, 1st s. of William Forster (d. 1661) of Aldermaston by Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Tyrell† of Heron, East Horndon, Essex. educ. Westminster 1663. m. 26 Nov. 1672, Judith (d. 1720), da. and coh. of Sir Humphrey Winch, 1st Bt.†, of Haynes, Beds. and Harleyford, Bucks., 2s. d.v.p. 1da. d.v.p. suc. gdfa. as 2nd Bt. 12 Oct. 1663.1
Sheriff, Berks. 1703–4.
After an early flirtation with Exclusion, Forster seems to have settled down into the role of a Church Tory. In the 1690 election he defeated the Whig Richard Neville* in Berkshire and successfully fended off a petition. On an analysis of the 1690 Parliament the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) declined to describe him as either Whig or Tory (possibly owing to Forster’s Exclusionist past), noting his party affiliation as doubtful. During the first session of the Parliament an Act was passed to allow Forster to settle and dispose of some of his estate. By December 1690, Carmarthen had decided that Forster would probably support him in the Commons in the event of an attack by his political enemies. However, just a few months later, in April 1691, Forster was classed as a Country supporter by Robert Harley*. Forster’s name also appears in a list of the 1694–5 session which probably identifies ‘friends’ of Henry Guy*, who was facing attack in the Commons.2
In the 1695 election Forster was supported by the Tories as ‘a perfect friend to the Church’, who was ‘so well beloved that . . . he cannot miss of being one’. Somewhat surprisingly, Forster also had the support of the other outgoing knight of the shire, his ‘old enemy’, Sir Humphrey Winchcombe, 2nd Bt. Although there was much talk of a challenge from Sir William Trumbull*, who thought Forster had been the Member ‘too long already’, he was returned unopposed. Trumbull may have objected to Forster’s uncompromising opposition to the Court, which was to be demonstrated very clearly in the new Parliament. He was forecast as likely to oppose the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 over the proposed council of trade. He signed the Association in February 1696, before being given leave of absence on 22 Feb. for two weeks. However, he was back in the Commons by late March when he voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s. In the following session, on 25 Nov. 1696, he voted against Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. After re-election in 1698, he was marked as a member of the Country party on a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments, and his name also appears on what was probably a forecast of those likely to oppose the standing army. Returned again in January 1701, he was listed among those Members likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. It seems likely that he stood down at the next election, however, in recognition of the competing claims of Sir John Stonhouse, 3rd Bt.*3
In 1702 Forster joined with Stonhouse in an unsuccessful attempt to unseat Richard Neville. He repeated his challenge in 1705, but again met with defeat. Thereafter he appears to have retired from electioneering. He died on 13 Dec. 1711. Following the death of his children (and perhaps with the powers provided in the private Act of 1690) Forster settled Aldermaston on his niece, Elizabeth Pert. He confirmed this settlement in his will of 1699 when she was the husband of William Forster*. She subsequently married William, 3rd Lord Stawell.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Stuart Handley
- 1. Burke, Extinct Baronetage, 204–5; Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 208; Cat. Ashmolean Mss, 330; Rec. Old Westminsters, i. 343; Mar. Lic. Vicar-Gen. (Harl. Soc. xxiii), 209.
- 2. HMC Lords, iii. 33.
- 3. Devonshire mss at Chatsworth House, Finch-Halifax pprs. box 2, no.13, Hon. Leopold to Hon. Heneage Finch I*, 12 Oct. 1695; BL, Trumbull Misc. mss 30, Trumbull to John Southby†, 15 Oct. 1695.
- 4. VCH Berks. iii. 390; PCC 28 Barnes.