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FORRESTER, a surname of great antiquity, originally derived from the office of keeper of the king’s forests, as appears from their armorial bearings, hunting horns. There was an ancient family of this name, designed of Renton, in Berwickshire, which several centuries since terminated in an heiress, who married Elim of Elimford. From the latter family the estate again passed with another heiress to the Homes. [Nisbet’s Heraldry, vol. i. p. 432.] From another old family of the name, Forrester of Carden in Stirlingshire, the Forresters of Denovan were descended. A son of one of the Forresters of Carden married about 1496 the heiress of Strathenries of that ilk, and the estate continued in the name of Forrester till the reign of King Charles the Second, when a younger son of Douglas of Kirkness married the heiress, and got the lands. In the reigns of Charles the Second and James the Seventh, a Sir Andrew Forrester was under secretary of state.


FORRESTER, Lord, a title in the Scottish peerage, now merged by marriage in the English family of Grimston, earl of Verulam and Viscount Grimston. The immediate ancestor of the Lords Forrester was Sir Adam Forrester, a wealthy burgess of Edinburgh, who, in the reign of King David Bruce, in 1365, obtained a charter, under the great seal, of lands at Whitburn, in the constabulary of Linlithgow, with remainder to his heirs male, &c., and in 1370, during the reign of the same monarch, on the resignation of William de Seton, received another charter of lands at Nudriff or Niddery, in the same constabulary, with like remainder. He was possessed of an immense estate, having got from King Robert the Second no less than six charters, under the great seal, of different lands and baronies, and is supposed to have acquired the greater part of his fortune by trading with England. In the Rotuli Scotiae we find a license granted to him to bring grain into Scotland, without payment of duty. In 1373 he was provost of Edinburgh, and in 1382 sheriff of Lothian. The barony of Corstorphine near Edinburgh, which became the chief designation of his family, he acquired in 1376 from Gilchrist More, brother of Sir William More of Abercorn. On the accession of Robert the Third, in 1390, Sir Adam was appointed lord privy seal, and between the years 1391 and 1404 he was employed no less than seven times in negociating treaties between England and Scotland. In 1402 he was present at the battle of Homildon Hill, where he was taken prisoner, and, with several others, was presented to King Henry the Fourth, in full parliament, when he made a speech showing the advantages of a solid and durable peace between the two kingdoms. He was soon exchanged, and in 1405 became depute chamberlain of the southern division of the kingdom, under the earl of Buchan, eldest son of the regent Robert Duke of Albany. He died the same year, and was buried in the chapel of St. John the Baptist at Corstorphine. He was twice married; first, to Agnes, daughter of John Dundas of Fingask; and, secondly, to a lady whose Christian name was Margaret, but whose surname is not known, and had two sons.

      Sir John Forrester, the elder son, in 1407 got a charter from the regent Robert duke of Albany, of the barony of Uchtertyre in Stirlingshire. He succeeded his father in the office of depute chamberlain of the southern division of the kingdom. After 1408 he acted as depute chamberlain of the whole kingdom, under the earl of Buchan, during whose absence in France he appears to have performed all the functions of lord high chamberlain. In 1416 he was appointed one of the commissioners for treating with the English about the release of King James the First, and in 1421 he was constituted lord privy seal by the regent Murdoch duke of Albany. In 1423 he became one of the hostages for the king’s liberation, which was effected the following year. By that monarch he was so highly esteemed that on his return to Scotland he appointed h im master of his household, an office then first instituted. The earl of Buchan being killed at the battle of Verneuil in Normandy, Sir John was made lord high chamberlain in 1425, and by King James he was continually employed in negociations with the English. He was one of the jury on the trial of Murdoch duke of Albany in May 1425. In 1429 he founded and endowed the collegiate church of Corstorphine, and dedicated it to St. John the Baptist, for a provost, five prebendaries, and two singing boys. He died in 1440, and was buried in the chancel of the collegiate church which he had founded, and which is now the parish church of Corstorphine. The coat of arms of the family of Forrester is everywhere dispersed over the building, and within the church, in niches, are several monumental remains of this family, with effigies cut in stone, as large as life. The male figures are covered with complete armour, and the female appear richly ornamented according to the fashion and dress of the times. He had two sons, Sir John, his successor, and Henry, styled of Liberton.

      The elder son, Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, took part with the earls of Douglas in their struggles with the chancellor Crichton and Livingston, and in 1466 led the troops which besieged and demolished Brankston castle. The stone figure above his grave represents a man of Herculean mould. [New Stat. Acc. of Scotland, vol. i. p. 211.] He was succeeded by Sir Alexander Forrester, supposed to be his son, whose name occurs in the records of parliament, 13th October, 1466, when the lords auditors charged Sir Alexander Forbes of Pitsligo to cease all intromitting with the lands of Fingask, and the office of bailliary of the same, belonging to Sir Alexander Forrester of Corstorphine, till he appear before the lords of council. Deeply embued with the superstitious feelings of his age, he headed in 1464 a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas ŕ Becket at Canterbury, and another, in 1466, to that of John de Amyace in Picardy; being accompanied on both occasions by several of the neighbouring proprietors, with thirty followers in their train.

      His son, Sir Archibald Forrester, of Corstorphine, was present in parliament on 27th February 1469, and again on 6th July 1476. His name also occurs in the parliamentary records on 7th January 1504-5. His son and successor, Sir Alexander, married a daughter of Sir Duncan Forrester of Gardyne, king’s comptroller, and keeper of the forest of Torwood, &c.; and by her he had a son, Sir James, designed of Meadowhead in the lifetime of his father, who had bestowed that estate upon him in 1538. Afterwards he succeeded to the whole barony of Corstorphine. He had two sons, Sir James, served heir to his father in February 1557, and Henry, who, on the death of his brother in June 1589, without issue, inherited the estate.

      The son of Henry, Sir George Forrester of Corstorphine, a man of singular capacity, was by Charles the First, in 1625, created a baronet of Nova Scotia. He was also appointed high sheriff of the shire of Edinburgh, and raised to the peerage of Scotland July 22, 1633, by the title of Lord Forrester of Corstorphine. He married Christian, daughter of Sir William Livingston of Kilsyth, (father of the first viscount of Kilsyth,) and had five daughters; but having no son, he obtained a new patent, extending the title to James Baillie, younger of Torwoodhead and Letham, (eldest son of the celebrated Lieutenant-general Baillie,) who married his lordship’s fourth daughter, Joanna, and to their heirs male, whom failing, to his brother William Baillie, who married his youngest daughter, Lilias, ans their heirs, and in failure of heirs male the title to descend to the heirs female. The surname and arms of Forrester were imposed on the two sons of General Baillie and their heirs by his lordship’s daughters.

      In virtue of this new patent, on the death of the first lord, 23d April 1654, his son-in-law, James Baillie of Torwoodhead and Letham, born 29th October 1629, became second Lord Forrester. He signalized himself by his ardent loyalty, and on one occasion, as related by Nicol in his Diary, while Cromwell’s soldiers were in Edinburgh, his lordship caused a proclamation to be affixed on the close heads and other public places of that city, calling on all persons residing in Mid Lothian to put forth horse according to their rents for the king’s army. In 1654 he was fined by Cromwell’s act of grace and indemnity Ł2,500 sterling, and his estate was overrun and pillaged by the English troops. His affairs, in consequence, became much involved, and his rents being attached by his numerous creditors, he gave himself up to dissipation, frequently spending whole days drinking in an alehouse in the village of Corstorphine. [New Stat. Acc. vol. i. p. 212.] On the 26th August he was murdered in his own garden by Christian Hamilton, the wife of James Nimmo, a merchant in Edinburgh, the daughter of Andrew Hamilton of Grange, by his wife the elder sister of Lady Forrester. She was, therefore, the grand-daughter of the first Lord Forrester, and niece, by marriage, of her victim the second lord. With this woman he had carried on an intrigue, and on the day mentioned she arrived at Corstorphine castle, and learning that he was at the alehouse, she was on her way to it, when they met near the Pigeon-house, to the east of the castle, and a quarrel ensuing, she, being of a violent temper, stabbed him with his own sword. She was tried for the crime on 28th August, and being found guilty, was sentenced to be executed. She made her escape out of Edinburgh prison, 29th September, in male attire, but was retaken next day, and beheaded at the cross of Edinburgh 12th November, 1679. She is said to have usually carried a sword beneath her gown. [Fountainhall’s Decisions of the Court of Session, vol. i. p. 56.] A full account of this tragical event is given in a foot note to page 182 of Kirkton’s History of the Church of Scotland, edited by Mr. Kirkpatrick Sharpe. It is there incorrectly stated, however, that Lord Forrester was a presbyterian zealot, and had erected a meeting-house near Edinburgh, after the Indulgence granted in 1672. On the contrary, his lordship was an episcopalian, and both set at defiance the orders of the presbytery, and urged the minister of Corstorphine to obtain lists of the nonconformists, with the view of enforcing the laws against them. By his wife, Joanna, his lordship had one son, William, who died in infancy. He married, a second time, Lady Jean Ruthven, 2d daughter of Patrick earl of Forth and Brentford, by whom he had five children, who all took the name of Ruthven. The succession to the title of Lord Forrester, according to the destinations of the new patent, being limited to his issue and heirs by his first wife, his brother, William, became third lord, but did not assume the title, and died in May 1681, in his 49th year.

      William’s only son by his wife Lilias Forrester, also named William, succeeded as fourth lord, and on the 31st August 1698, he presented to the parliament of Scotland the patent in favour of the deceased James, Lord Forrester, and his heirs, requesting that it might be recorded, which was accordingly done. It is stated in the New Statistical of Scotland, that William Lord Forrester having quarrelled with Mr. George Henry, the minister of Corstorphine, who had been presented to that parish by the second Lord Forrester, during the prevalency of episcopacy, prevented his tenants from attending the church, advising them, rather, to go to the meeting-houses of the presbyterians, and this because Mr. Henry had demanded payment of some money which he had lent his lordship. This Mr. Henry was expelled at the Revolution for refusing to proclaim William and Mary. His lordship died in 1705. He had, with four daughters, six sons, namely, Andrew, who died in infancy; George, who became fifth lord; William, who died young; another Andrew, a major of the horse-guards; James, an officer in the navy; and John, captain R.N., whose only son, William, succeeded as sixth lord. The family estate had by this time become deeply involved in debt, and the whole incumbrances having been by Hugh Wallace of Inglistown, writer to the signet, accumulated in his person, on 19th December 1679, this gentleman obtained a charter under the great seal, of the barony of Corstorphine, and his title was ratified by Lord Forrester in November 1698. The family of Forrester appear to have resided at Corstorphine castle up to this time. In 1701, the estate was sold to Sir Robert Dickson of Sornebeg, whose son in 1703 again sold it to Sir James Dick of Prestonfield, in whose family it still remains. [New Stat. Acc., vol. i. p. 213.]

      George, the fifth lord, born 23d March 1688, voted at the general election of Scottish peers, 17th June 1708, but his vote was set aside by the House of Lords on account of his being then under age. Hi was an officer in the army, and served with reputation under the duke of Marlborough on the continent. In the attack on the rebels at Preston in Lancashire on 13th November 1715, he commanded the 26th regiment of foot, or Cameronians, as lieutenant-colonel, when he showed extraordinary intrepidity. Ordering his men to halt till he should personally survey the position of the insurgents, he deliberately rode into the street with his drawn sword in his hand, and, amidst a shower of bullets, coolly examined one of the four barriers which had been raised by them. He then sallied into the street at the head of his men, and whilst with one party he attacked the barrier, another, under his directions took possession of two houses which overlooked the whole town. He was, however, unsuccessful in every attempt to force the barrier, and in the struggle received several wounds. Appointed colonel of the 30th foot in January 1716, he was promoted to the command of the 2d troop of horse grenadier guards 17th July 1717, and in April 1719 was appointed colonel of the fourth or Scots troop of horse guards. He died in March 1727. He had a son, George, and two daughters, Caroline, who succeeded as Baroness Forrester, in her own right, and Harriet, married to Edward Walter, Esq. of Stallbridge, Dorsetshire, and had a daughter, Harriet, who, in 1774, became the wife of James Bucknall, third Viscount Grimston, in the peerage of Ireland, and had a son, James Walter, who succeeded as eighth Lord Forrester, and two daughters.

      George, sixth lord, was a captain in the navy. In 1741 he commanded the Newcastle in the fleet under Sir John Norris, sent to the coast of Spain, and the following year, while in command of the Leopard of 50 guns, he took a Spanish ship of 24 guns, laden with stores and provisions. In August of the same year he captured another Spanish vessel laden with plastres, logwood, cochineal, cocoa, and wine, and having on board a bishop and priest, a Spanish general and other officers. He was in the Mediterranean fleet early in 1744, when Admiral Matthews hoisted his flag, and the same year he commanded the Defiance of 60 guns in the Channel fleet. He died unmarried, 26th June 1748, and was succeeded as seventh lord by his cousin William, above mentioned, a lieutenant in the royal navy, only son of the Hon. Captain John Forrester. The seventh lord also died unmarried, in November 1763, when the title devolved on his cousin, Caroline, elder daughter of the fifth lord. She married George Cockburn of Ormiston, Captain R.N., one of the commissioners and comptroller of the navy, and had two daughters; the elder of whom, Anna Maria, succeeded her mother, on her death, 25th February 1784, as Baroness Forrester, and dying unmarried, Decemb4er 3, 1808, the title devolved on the Hon. James Walter Grimston, the son of her cousin Harriet, Viscountess Grimston, grand-daughter of George, fifth lord. On the death of his father, on the 31st of the same month, he became fourth Viscount Grimston, and in 1815 he was created earl of Verulam, in the peerage of the United Kingdom. The paternal name of this family, into which the Scottish peerage of Lord Forrester has now merged, is Luckyn. In the seventeenth century Sir Capel Luckyn married the daughter and heiress of the celebrated Sir Harbottle Grimston. His grandson assumed the name of Grimston, was created in 1719 Viscount Grimston and Baron Dunboyne in Ireland, and was grandfather of the first earl of Verulam, eighth Lord Forrester. Although they possess one of the titles (Verulam) and the princely seat, Gorhambury, near St. Albans, of Lord Chancellor Bacon, neither the Grimstons nor the Luckyns are in any way descended from him. Lady Luckyn’s stepmother was, however, the daughter of Sir Nathaniel Bacon, K.B.

FORRESTER, THOMAS, the Rev., a minister of the seventeenth century, remarkable in his day as a satirical poet, was the third minister of Melrose after the Reformation, the first being a Mr. Pont, and the second Mr. John Knox, a nephew of the Reformer. Forrester succeeded the latter as minister of the parish in 1623, and made himself conspicuous by his high church notions, his pointed satires, and his eccentricity of conduct. He scrupled not to declare publicly that some kinds of servile work might be done on the Lord’s day; and as an example to his people, he brought home his corn on Sunday from the fields to his barnyard. He also maintained that the public and ordinary preaching of the word was no necessary part of divine worship, that the reading of the liturgy was to be preferred to it, and that pastors and private Christians should use no other prayers than those prescribed by the church. He was likewise charged with Arminianism and Popery, and with having declared that the Reformers had done more harm to the Christian church than the Popes at Rome had done for ages. He was accordingly deposed by the General Assembly of 1638. After his ejection he composed a burlesque litany of his own in verse, in which he strongly ridiculed the chief characters and the covenanting principles of the times. This strange production, which is slightly mentioned by Bishop Guthrie in his Memoirs, will be found preserved in Maldment’s ‘Book of Scottish Pasquils,’ printed in 1828. Forrester is also said to have written a severe epitaph on Sir Thomas Hamilton, who was created by James the Sixth, in 1619, earl of Melrose, a title which he afterwards exchanged for that of earl of Haddington; and also the epitaph on the earl of Strafford, which is in Cleveland’s Poems. His subsequent history, with the date of his death, has not been recorded.

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