FORSTER, Thomas II (1683-1738), of Adderstone, Northumb.
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Family and Education
bap. 29 Mar. 1683, 1st s. of Thomas I* by his 1st w. educ. Newcastle sch.; St. John’s, Camb. 1700. unm. suc. uncle Ferdinando Forster* 1701.1
In 1701, when only 18, Forster succeeded, by right of his deceased mother, to half the Durham and Northumberland estates of the Forsters of Bamburgh. Forster was coheir to his maternal uncle Ferdinando Forster, but the inheritance was not a fortunate one. Ferdinando and his brother William* had accumulated considerable debts, and in 1704 the creditors initiated a Chancery case to require the sale of the estates to satisfy these debts. The court agreed with the plaintiffs and in 1709 Forster and his co-heir, his aunt, sold the estates to Bishop Crewe of Durham, husband of Forster’s aunt, for £20,679. Once the debts had been settled the coheirs were left with only £1,028.2
By the time these matters had come to a resolution Forster had already entered the Commons. The Bamburgh branch had held one of the county seats from 1689 until 1701, and the Forsters of Adderstone appear to have gained this electoral interest with the Bamburgh estates. Previous historians have stated that in 1705 this was used to secure the return of Forster’s father, but Dyer’s report of this election claimed that ‘Thomas Forster jun[ior]’ was successful and the return recorded the election of Thomas Forster of Bamburgh Castle. What is certain is that it was the son who secured one of the Northumberland seats in 1708. In 1710 Forster voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell, and in the election later that year assisted unsuccessful attempts to return Tory candidates at the Northumberland boroughs of Berwick-upon-Tweed and Morpeth. He secured his own election for the county after a contest, and was described in the ‘Hanover list’ as a Tory. Somewhat surprisingly, on 2 Dec. he told in favour of referring to the elections committee the petition of the defeated Tory candidate against the Stafford election, but his continued Toryism was clear from his inclusion in the new year upon both the list of ‘Tory patriots’ who had opposed the continuation of the war, and of ‘worthy patriots’ who had helped to detect the mismanagements of the previous ministry. Forster told twice in the following session, in favour of declaring void the election of Sir Henry Belasyse* (15 Feb. 1712) and against hearing counsel for the freemen during consideration of the King’s Lynn election case (6 Mar.). The second of these tellerships allowed the House to proceed to declaring Robert Walpole II* incapable of being elected. In the following session Forster told, on 6 May 1713, against adjourning the debate upon the suspension of duties upon French wine, and on 18 June he voted in favour of the French commerce bill. His only other notable activity was to support the endeavours of the Earl of Hertford (Algernon Seymour) and James Lowther, both Whigs, to secure the passage of a bill to regulate trade on the border with Scotland, though Lowther claimed that Forster was ‘seldom to be met with’ at the House. Forster retained his seat at the 1713 election but was an inactive Member, though the Worsley list and two further comparisons of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments classed him as a Tory.3
Forster was prominent among the English Jacobites in the Fifteen, after which he went into exile in the service of the Stuarts. He died at Boulogne in 1738, being buried there on 27 Oct. A month later, however, his body was exhumed, transported to England and buried at Bamburgh Castle on 7 Dec.4
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: Eveline Cruickshanks
- 1. New Hist. Northumb. i. 229.
- 2. Ibid. 165.
- 3. Bodl. Rawl. D.863, f. 90; HMC Portland, iv. 598; Add. 70278, Robert Price* to Robert Harley*, [Aug. 1710]; 70248, Edmund Maine* to [same], 14 Oct. 1710; Cumbria RO, Lonsdale mss D/Lons/W2/1/46, Lowther to William Gilpin, 20, 25 June 1713.
- 4. New Hist. Northumb. 233.