Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle [Bamborough Castle]

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Bamburgh Castle, on the eastern coast of Northumberland, is about fifteen miles north of Alnwich, which itself features on a list of 5 must see castles in the UK ( Bamburgh has been famous for many centuries as being the home of the Fosters and is a place of great historic interest.

Bamburgh Castle
this photo Supplied by LeRoy Foster
“the ancient castle built above a 150 ft cliff formed by the Whin sill, which there as in the Farne Islands to the northeast, outcrops boldly.
The fortress was founded in the 6th century by Ida, the first king of the Bernicians, and is associated with St. Oswald of Northumbria, ‘the fair handed.’
It remained the principle fortress of the kings of Northumbria
and later of the earls of Northumberland.
Rebuilt after the Conquest, its Norman keep, surrounded by magnificent later walls and buildings, now much altered and restored, still dominate the scene.
Defended by Henry VI and his tragic Queen Maragret, it became heroically the ‘last stay of the Red Rose in the North,’ and withstood a ruinous siege in 1464.” – Enc. Britannica 1968
see “A Short History of Bamburgh Castle”

In 1191 Sir John Forster rode with King Richard I the Lion Heart to Palestine.
He saved the life of English King Richard at Acre.
He was knighted and made Governor of Bamborough Castle. on Farm Island, off the rugged coast Northumberland, which later was the scene of the daring efforts of the heroic Grace Darling.
Sir John was succeeded by his heir and son Randolph.
Sir Randolph died in 1256 and was succeeded by his son, Alfred.
Sir Alfred died in 1284 and was succeeded by his son, Reginald.
Sir Reginald was succeeded by his son Richard m. 1356
Sir Richard died in 1371 was succeeded by his son William.
Sir William died aft 1422 was succeeded by his son Thomas b 1397
five Sir Thomas’s in a row. all Governors of Bamborough.
the fifth Sir Thomas died in 1589. He was succeeded by his brother John
Sir John died in 1602 and was succeeded by his eldest son Nicholas [born out of wed-lock]
Sir Nicholas died and was succeeded by his son Claudius
Sir Claudius died in 1623 and was succeeded by his brother John

Sir John Forster | his parents
General in the Third Crusade
1st Governor of Bamborough Castle

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

(son of William) During the Third Crusade [1189 – 1193] At the siege of Acre, A. D. 1191, a party of Sarcens having sallied forth and surround King Richard [1189 – 1199], he would have been overpowered and made prisoner had not Sir John Forster, who seeing from a distance the danger in which the King was placed, pushed forward with couched lance followed by his retainers shouting,
“To the rescue! A Forester! A Forester!.”
The King who for his bravery and timely assistance received from King Richard a grant to bear a Chevron Vert on his shield. He was knighted and made Governor of Bamborough Castle.
There is a monument to his memory in Bamborough Abbey bearing his effigy in full armor.
Sir John was succeeded by his heir and son Randolph.

The Forester family were the principal chieftains in Northumberland and allied by marriage with all the eminent northern families. Many of the family were distinguished for their deeds of chivalry and warlike actions.

Sir Randolph Forster died 1256 | his parents
2nd Governor of Bamborough

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

(son of Sir John). He accompanied Prince Richard, brother of Henry III [1220 – 1272], to France in 1225, the Prince being sent by the King for the purpose of regaining his French provinces.
After a year’s fighting an armistice was agreed upon, but the French King Louis VIII dying before its expiration, the hostilities were again renewed, but ended in a very little result.
Sir Randolph died in 1256 and was succeeded by his son, Alfred.

Sir Alfred Forster died 1284 | his parents
3rd Governor of Bamborough

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

(son of Sir Randolph). He assisted Prince Edward after his escape from the rebel barons in raising an army for this purpose of releasing his father Henry III and Prince Richard from their confinement, and was appointed on of the Kings’ officers. Having collected his army, Prince Edward fought the battle of Evesham Aug 4, 1265, in which he was victorious.
Sir Alfred received the honor of knighthood on the battlefield.
Sir Alfred died in 1284 and was succeeded by his son, Reginald.

a bit of a discrepancy between the two lists this one now shows Sir Richard d 1371 Gov. of Bamborough, Sir William -Gov of Bamborough, , Thomas of Etherstone b? 1397


Sir Reginald Forster | his parents
4th Governor of Bamborough
Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

General of Bannockburn 1314.
The descendants of Sir Reginald were mostly great chieftins, many were knighted and were closely allied with the royalty of Scotland, Wales and England. 61 of his family held the office of mayor or sheriff of Galway, Ireland. The song “Mother Machree” which says “There’s not a colleen sweeter where the River Shannon flows” has reference to Galway County, west coast of Ireland, where Francis Blake Forster settled.

Sir Richard Forster d 1371 | his parents
5th Governor of Bamborough
Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

married 1356
General at the battle of Crecy 25 Aug 1346 at Poitiers, 19 Sept 1356 and was knighted for his valor.

Sir William Forster | his parents
6th Governor of Bamborough
Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

General in the war against the French under King Henry V of England [1413 – 1422]. He was knighted for valor.

Thomas Forster I ca 1445 – | his parents
Lord of Etherstone in right of his wife
7th Governor of Bamborough
Elizabeth d. of Roger de Etherstone
Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

(*The actual Forster Pedigree states that John (or possibly Robert) married Elizabeth de Etherstone and not Thomas I as is popularly believed.) note by Gearald Forster

a basic tree of the Forsters of Bamburgh

Thomas Forster was Lord of Etherstone in right of his wife Elizabeth, sister and heir to Roger de Etherstone. son and dau. of another Roger de Etherstone.
This Thomas died in the time of Henry IV. [1399-1413]

Children of Thomas Forster and wife Elizabeth:
1. Thomas Forster lived in the time of Henry V [1413-1422]
2. Robert Forster living 1490
3. Rowland Forster of Norham d. 1497 leaving two sons

Thomas Forster II, Esquire 1474 [ est 1495] – | his parents
8th Governor of Bamborough
& Elizabeth Fitzhugh of Featherstonhalgh | her parents
of Etherston, Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Thomas Foster was born in Etherston in 1474 son of Thomas Foster.
Elizabeth Fitzhugh was born in 1476 in Stanhope Hall, D daughter of Featherstonhalgh [Fitzhugh].

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Featherstonhalgh, of Stanhope Hall, in the County of Durham, by whom he had issue, twenty-two sons and one daughter –

?Living in the time of Henry V [1413-1422] — one of the men-at- arms under the Percy banner at the battle of Agincourt [1415].

Children of Thomas Forster, Esquire and Elizabeth Fitzhugh:
1. Thomas Forster of Etherston ca 1495 – ? [living at time of Henry VI 1422-1461]
called Grey Knight
married Jane, dau of Sir William de Hilton, Knt of Hilton Castle, Durham
2. Roger Forster ca 1500 [ 1470] –
married Joan Hussey 1502 –
dau of Hussey of Sussex
3. Nicholas Forster of Newham 19 sons
4. Elizabeth Forster
married Gerard Shaftoe of Bavington
5-23. 19 sons – names not recorded in the Herald’s Visitation

Grey Knight, Thomas Forster III ca 1495 – | his parents
[living at time of Henry VI 1422-1461]
9th Governor of Bamborough

& Jane Hylton/ Hilton | her parents
of Etherston, Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Thomas Forster III married Jane, the daughter of Sir William de Hilton, Knight of Hilton Castle, Durham. [Baron Hilton] [sister to the Blind baron.]

Heir of the Grey Knight, Sir Thomas Forster and wife Jane Hilton
1. Sir Thomas Forster, Knt, Marshal of Berwick-upon-Tweed d. 1526
called Grey Knight
married Dorothy, dau. of Ralph Lord Ogle, the third Baron Ogle in Northumberland
2. Robert Forster
given lands in Cold Hesledon, County Durham in the time of Hen VII
a. Richard Forster alias Foster d 2 Feb 1550
i. Robert Forster 1514 – [Clerk in Holy Orders in 1550]
1. Richard Forster of Cold Hesledon
a. Robert Forster of Hawthorne
b. Thomas Forster of Cold Hesledon, Co Durham [a dissenter in 1640]
married Alicia
i. Robert Forster and others
[Robert Forster was one of the early followers of George Fox]
ii. Thomas Forster
married Margaret, sister and heir to John Todde of Eppledon
1. Anna Forster
married Christopher Tunstall
2. Margery Forster
married Christopher Fulthorpe
3. Alice Forster
4. Meriola Forster
5. Barbara Forster
6. Dorothy Forster
b. George Forster of Wolsingham, County Durham
i. Elizabeth Forster
married John Hall
ii. Eleanor Forster
3. Patrick Forster
4. Reginald Forster
5. Constance Forster
married James Gower of Stainsby
6. Isabella Forster
married — Turpin
7. Eleanor Forster
married Lionel Grey, Esq.
8. Maragret Forster
married Gawen Mitford

Sir Thomas Forster IV – d.1526 | his parents
Grey Knight, the Marshal of Berwick-upon-Tweed
10th Governor of Bamborough
& Dorothy Ogle | her parents
& 1529 Sir Thomas Grey of Horton | his parents
of Etherston, Northumberland, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Sir Thomas Forster IV married Dorothy, daughter of Ralph Lord Ogle, the third Baron Ogle.
[Her brother was Robert Lord Ogle]
Sir Thomas IV was the governor of Bamburgh Castle and had Adderstone Tower near Bamburgh.
Dorothy and Thomas had eleven children. His will was dated 3 March 1526.
Note: Following the Pedigree set forth by Joseph Forster except as to the parents of Dorothy Ogle.
The Ogle family says her father was Ralph rather than Culbert.

[Dorothy Ogle was the daughter of Ralph Lord Ogle, the third Baron Ogle. . . citation from Complete Peerage. The Cuthbert Ogle at the time was a priest and did have a family, but that is a different story. There were Cuthbert Ogles later in Ralphs line. e-mail from Lynn Keller]

Dorothy married 2nd in 1529 Sir Thomas Grey of Horton and had six [9] more daughters and a son who died young.

Children of Sir Thomas Forster and Dorothy Ogle:
1. Thomas Forster of Adderstone V, Esq, Sheriff of Northumberland
will dated 4 April 1589
married Florence, sister to Thomas, Lord Wharton
2. Margaret Forster
married William Heron of Ford Castle
married 2nd John Heron of Thornton, Gentleman
married 3rd Sir George Heron, Knt of Chipshase Casltle, Co Northumberland
3. Dorothy Forster
married Sir Reginald Carnaby, Knt of Halton
4. Elizabeth Forster
married George Finch of Kent
5. Rowland Forster of Lucker in Northumberland [of Wark in 1565]
married Catherine, dau of Leonard Selby
1. Elizabeth Forster
married Thomas Orde of Orde
6. Reginald Forster of Capheaton, Gentleman
married Clara, dau of William Swinburne of Capheaton
1. George Forster
2. Peter Forster
7. Eleanor Forster
married 1st George Craster of Craster, Esq.
married 2nd Robert Widdrington, Esq.
8. Sir John Forster, Knight of Bamborough Castle ca 1520 -1602
2nd son – was Lord of Bamborough Castle, Co. Northumberland, by grant from the Crown; he was Deputy-Warden of the Middle and East Marches, toward Scotland, for 37 years, and was Sheriff of Northumberland, Ed VI. Will dated 1601 died 1602.
married Jane, dau of Cuthbert Radclyffe, Esq.
widow of Cuthbert, Lord Ogle of Ogle Co Northumberland


Thomas Forster of Adderstone V, Esq – 1589 | his parents
11th Governor of Bamborough Castle
& Florence Wharton

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Sheriff of Northumberland
will dated 4 April 1589
married Florence, sister to Thomas, Lord Wharton

Children of Thomas Forster and Florence Wharton:
1. Thomas Forster VI 1549 – 1587/89 will dated 2 Sept 1587
left his new howse in Etherston to his wife
married Isabella dau of John Brewster
a. Sir Matthew Forster of Adderstone
knighted 23 April 1617 in the County of Durham by King James I, Sheriff of Northumberland 1637
married Catherine dau of Sir Ralph Grey of Chillingham, Knight
i. Thomas Forster ca 1604 – will dated 7 Sept 1637
married Mary dau of Sir William Fenwick She was buried 25 Jan 1671
a. Thomas Forster of Adderstone, Esquire was a Colonel in the army buried 19 June 1673
married 27 Jan 1651 Mary, dau of Sir Nicholas Cole, Knight of Brancepath Castle, Co Durham
i. Mary Forster 21 Feb 1653 – buried 19 April 1705
married Edmund Maine Lt-Gov of Berwick and MP for Morpeth buried 25 April 1711
ii. Ralph Forster 17 April 1655 – 19 May 1656 dy
iii. Thomas Forster 6 Aug 1659 – buried 25 Oct 1725
Sheriff of Northumberland 1703
married 1st 27 Jan 1680 Frances dau of Sir William Forster, Knight of Bamborough Castle
married 2nd Mary [accidently shot Oct 1697]
married 3rd 14 Feb 1701 Barbara Lawes
b. Madeleine Forster
married Philip Grey of Howick
c. Mary Forster
married George Baker of Crook, Esquire
d. John Forster of Crookletch “a worthy and upright gentleman” buried 10 May 1681
married Mary, sister of John Forster of London
e. Ralph Forster of Adderstone in 1681 and afterwards of Halton
f. Francis Forster will dated and proved 1681 owned Belford
of Easington Grange, County Northumberland and of South Bailey, Durham
married Elizabeth
ii. Magdelina Forster
iii. Jane Forster
iv. Mary Forster probably buried 17 Dec 1665
married ca 1629 Edward Lisle of Action, Northumberland buried 18 May 1676
[of the family of Lisle of Fenton]
had 3 daughters and co-heiresses
v. Dorothy Forster
vi. Edith Forster
married Edmund Craster, Esquire of Craster, County Northumberland
vii. Matthew Forster
viii. John Forster of Cornhill will dated 6 Dec. 1679
married Mary, sister to John Orde of Mindrum
a. Catherine Forster living 1698
married Wilkinson d. bef 1698
b. Elizabeth Forster
married Henry Collingwood of Branxton
c. Margaret Forster
married William Ramsey
maried 2nd George Fenwick of Brinkburne
d. Thomas Forster of Cornhill, Esquire
married Elizabeth, dau and co–heir of George Reed of Cassop
and widow of William Gibson of Stranton County Durham
i. Elizabeth Forster living a widow in 1715
married 1st The Hon. Charles Grey of Chillingham d bef 1696
married 2nd John Atkins, Esquire of Horninghold, County Leicester
b. Thomas Forster
c. John Forster
d. William Forster
e. Florence Forster
f. Margaret Forster
g. Phillis Forster
married John Forster of Newham
h. Susanna Forster
married John Forster of Bamborough
2. Margaret Forster
married Nicholas Ridley
3. Barbara Forster
married Robert, son of John Rodham of Rodham, Co Northumberland
4. Cuthbert Forster of Brunton, Gentleman will 1589
married Elizabeth, dau of Thomas Bradforth of Bradforth
a. Jane Forster
married to Laurence Forster
b. Grace Forster
married to John Forster of Tuggall Hall
c. Samuel Forster student at Edinburgh will dated 1612
i. John Forster
d. Thomas Forster of Brunton 1615 Will dated 19 June 1648
married 1st Margaret, dau. of Richard Forster, of Tuggall, Esq
i. Elizabeth Forster
married 2nd Jane, dau of William Carr of Ford
i. Ephraim Forster
ii. John Forster – immigrated to Scotland about 1640
had son went to Ireland and grandsons to Lancaster Co PA 1728
iii. Matthew Forster
iv. Reynold [Reginald] Forster ca 1595 – 1664 Ipswich, Mass.
[Reginald Foster of Little Badow, County Essex , England who came to the U.S. in 1638.
He was of the Foster family of Banburgh and Etherstone Castle , County Northumberland ]
v. Edmond Forster

Sir John Forster, Knight ca 1520 -1602 | his parents
12th Governor of Bamborough
& ca 1540 Janet Buicks [mistress]
& 154x Jane Radclyffe
& by 1597 Isabel Sheppard
of Bamborough Castle

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

*Sir John Forster, Knight of Bamborough Castle ca 1520 -1602
– was made Lord of Bamborough Castle, Co. Northumberland, by grant from the Crown;
he was Deputy-Warden of the Middle and East Marches, toward Scotland, for 37 years,
and was Sheriff of Northumberland, Ed VI. Will dated 1601 died 1602.
married Jane, dau of Cuthbert Radclyffe, Esq.
widow of Cuthbert, Lord Ogle of Ogle Co Northumberland

” He had three brothers and at least six sisters, but when his mother married 2nd in 1529 Sir Thomas Grey of Horton and had six more daughters and a son. As most of these siblings and half-siblings married, Forster was related to most of the greater landed families of Northumberland.
He first made his mark as an ambitious younger son exploiting the dissolution of the monasteries when he bought the Bamburgh lands and tithes belonging to Nostell Priory in 1541.
He thereafter designated himself as Forster of Bamburgh.
. . . He continued to purchase former monastic land throughout his life, such as Alnwick Abbey (from Sir Ralph Sadler in 1557), and he later controlled much of Hexham Abbey and Hulne Priory.
He also accumulated substantial non-monastic lands at Spindlestone, Bamburgh, Hexham, Alnwick, Corbridge, Middleton Hall, Belford, Easington, and Elwick in Northumberland.
Added to these were various tithes, fishings, and coal-pits, and the lay rectorships of Alnmouth, Lesbury, Longhoughton, Lucker, Shilbottle, and Warkworth churches.

“Forster captained 100 light horse at Fenton between 1544 and 1549 during the Anglo-Scottish wars.
He may have been wounded at the battle of Ancrum Moor in February 1545.
His military prowess was rewarded by a knighthood c.1548, probably on the suggestion of Sir Ralph Sadler who admired Forster’s bravery.
Sir John then settled back into gentry life after hostilities ceased in 1549:
he was chosen as sheriff of Northumberland in 1550.
In 1555 he was awarded the captaincy of Bamburgh Castle,
and he began acting as a deputy warden of the English middle march in 1556.
He was described as a man of great servyce on the Borders in 1558 (APC, 6.270/71).
However, Forster was dismissed from office by the newly restored seventh earl of Northumberland.
The earl had been enraged by the Forsters’ success in the county at the expense of his family’s traditional influence.

“The accession of Elizabeth I signaled Sir John’s return to the office of deputy warden, for the earl of Northumberland was forced to retreat from the frontier.
Forster became warden of the middle march in his own right in November 1560
and remained in this office until 1596, with a small break during 1587/8.
He was much trusted for his good service and now openly supported the protestant cause,
while many local gentlemen remained Catholic.
He even became a puritan.
His years as warden were difficult, but he handled the deteriorating conditions on the marches with tenacity, effectiveness, and pragmatism.
His local knowledge was invaluable, making him more successful in this post than strangers.
He gained even more wealth, influence, and offices by assisting the defeat of the northern uprising of 1569/70. He then took every opportunity he could to aggrandize his homes at the expense of the earls of Northumberland and their followers.
While warden, Sir John had also been a long-serving JP (1562-1601),
a councillor of the north, custos rotulorum for Northumberland,
a border commissioner, and a frequent commissioner for the crown,
exchequer, chancery, and the church.
He was widely respected.
He died 13 January 1602 at Spindlestone.
His funeral at Bamburgh parish church cost £454 11s. 7d., an exceptional sum by Northumbrian standards.

Children of Sir John Forster and Jane, dau of Cuthbert Radclyffe
1. Juliana Forster
married 1571 Sir Francis Russell, Knight, 3rd d 1585 son of the Earl of Bedford
a. son who became the 3rd Earl of Bedford
2. Grace Forster
married to Sir William Fenwick, Knight of Wallington, Co North.

Child of Sir John Forester and Janet Buicks before his first marriage
*1. Nicholas Forster, eldest son of Bamborough Castle
Sheriff of Northumberland [b.out of wed-lock]
married Jane, dau of Anthony Radclyffe, of Blancheland, Esq
* a. Sir Claudius Forster, Knight, d. 1623 without issue
who was created a Baronet 1619, Sheriff of Northumberland to Jas I
married Elizabeth
dau of Sir William Fenwick of Wallington by “Meg of Meldon”
* b. John Forster, died 20 May 1625
heir to his brother Sir Claudius,
was Lord of Bamborough Castle and Blancheland
married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Forster, Esq, of Adderston
* i. Nicholas Forster 1612 – 10 Dec 1636
married Agnes, dau of William Chaytor of Croft, Co York, Esq.
* 1. William Forster 1636 – ca 12 Nov 1674
married Dorothy dau and heir of Sir Wiliam Shelby, Knt of Twisell and Thornton, Co North. by Eleanor his wife and dau of Ferdinando, Lord Fairfax, of Denton
a. Frances Forster
married 27 Jan 1680Thomas Forster of Adderstone, Esq.
+ i. Thomas Forster of Adderstone, Esq. 29 mar 1683 – 1737 Boulogne
“the Rebel General” – who forfeited his estate without issue
ii. John Forster 1688 – 1745
married Isabella, dau of William Orde, Esq of Sandybank
1. Thomas Forster of Adderston, Esq 1743 – 1763 without issue
2. Isabella Forster without issue
married John Widdrington, of Hawksly, Esq.
iii. Dorothy Forster 1686 –
married John Armstrong of Berry Hill, Co North.
iv. Margaret Forster
v. Elizabeth Forster 14 Aug 1684 –
vi. William Forster 1 Nov 165 – dy
* b. William Forster 28 July 1667 – 6 Sept 1700 no issue
of Bamborough Castle and Blancheland, Esq.
married Elizabeth, dau of William Pert, Esq of Essex by his wife Elizabeth,
dau of William Forster, son of Sir Humphrey Forster of Aldermarston Co Bucks
c. John Forster 28 Sept 1668 – 15 Nov 1699 without issue
* d. Ferdinando Forster 14 Feb 1669/70 – 22Aug 1701 without issue
murdered at Newcastle-upon-Tyne when MP for Northumberland by John Fenwick, Esquire of Rock,
who was hanged on the spot 25th Sept. following.
e. Nicholas Forster 8 June 1671 – 7 April 1678 Durham without issue
f. Mary Forster 23 Nov 1664 – dy
g. Eleanor Forster 8 June 1663 – Feb 1664 Berwick
+ h. Dorothy Forster 1672 – 1715 without issue
co-heir with Thomas Forster of Adderstone, to the estates of Bamborough and Blancheland.
married 1699 Nathaniel, Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham, 1633- 1721
Baron of Steane,
who having purchased all the estates forfeited by Thomas Forster, “the Rebel General,”
founder the famous “Bamborough Charity” therewith.
2. Mary Forster
married Moore
3. Ferdinando Forster
4. Frances Forster
married Francis Liddell, son and heir of Sir Francis Liddell of Redheugh
ii. Thomas Forster, of the Friars, near Bamborough
iii. Elizabeth Forster
married Elrington, of Elrington, Co Northumberland
iv. Claudius Forster of Blancheland
1. John Forster of Durham

Children of Sir John Forester and 2nd wife Isabel Sheppard:
1. Matthew Sheppard alias Forster
2. Mary Forster
married 5 July 1599 Sir Henry Stapelton, Knight,
at All Saints, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’

Children of Sir John Forester and unknown mother
3. Dorothy [Mary] Forster
married Ralph Salkeld, younger son of Thomas Salkeld of Hulne Park
4. John Forster

“. . . the Forsters of Bamburghshire were notorious for their infidelities and Sir John was no exception.
He had a son, Nicholas, with Janet Buicks
before his first marriage in the 1540s to the widow of his cousin Robert, fifth Lord Ogle, namely Jane Radcliffe of Dilston.
This marriage produced a daughter, Juliana, who in 1571 married Sir Francis Russell, a younger son of the first earl of Bedford. By quirk of fate, she was the mother of the third earl of Bedford, since both her husband and his brother, the second earl of Bedford, died within hours of each other in July 1585. Sir John was very proud to be the earl’s grandfather.
His second marriage, by 1597, was to his long-standing mistress Isabel Sheppard.
She was the mother of Matthew Sheppard alias Forster, and Mary, who were legitimized by their parents’ marriage. Mary married Henry Stapleton of Wighill, Yorkshire, in 1599.
As he had no son to succeed him, Sir John went to the church courts at Durham in July 1596 to have Nicholas legitimated as his son and heir.
The outcome of this case is unclear, but Nicholas did succeed his father in 1602.
Sir John’s other illegitimate children, of unknown maternity, included a son, John, and a daughter, Mary, who married Ralph Salkeld of Hulne Park, Alnwick.
Sources: M. M. Meikle, A godly rogue: the career of Sir John Forster, an Elizabethan border warden, Northern History, 28 (1992), 126/63. Bateson and others, eds., A history of Northumberland, 15 vols. (1893-1940) Durham L., archives and special collections, Durham probate records, wills, 1602 Raine, W. Greenwell, and others], eds., Wills and inventories from the registry at Durham, 4 pts, SurtS, 2, 38, 112, 142 (1835-1929) APC, 1556/8 E 310/21/107 . M. Meikle, Northumberland divided: anatomy of a sixteenth-century bloodfeud Archaeologia Aeliana, 5th ser., 20 (1992), 79-89. M. Meikle, Lairds and gentlemen: a study of the landed families of the Eastern Anglo-Scottish Borders, c.1540-1603, PhD diss., U. Edin., 1989

They were lords of Blanchard, knights baronet, lords warden of the Middle Marches, high sheriffs of Northumberland, and governors of Bamburgh Castle.
The family went bankrupt in the 1700 or 1800 hundreds and sold the castle the the Armstrong family of Adderstone, Northumberland, England.
A large family tree [in Bamburgh Castle] goes back to Sir Knight John Forster and Sir Knight Richard Foster.

Thomas Forster ca 1370 – | his parents
& Joan, dau and co-heir of Thomas de Elmedon | her parents
of Buckton, Yorkshire, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Thomas Forster, of Buckton, son and heir of John Forster of Buckton, one of the companions of Earl Percy, surnamed “Hotspur” at the battle of Otterburne in 1388.
He married Joan, daughter and co-heir of Thomas de Elmedon, by Elizabeth, his wife’s sister and co-heir of Gilbert de Umfreville, last Earl of Angus, by whom he had issue
?Living in the time of Henry V [1413-1422] — one of the men-at- arms under the Percy banner at the battle of Agincourt [1415].

1. Thomas Forster, Lord of Etherstone
2. William Forster ca 1410 who was slain at Towtonfield on the part of the House of Lancaster, on Palm Sunday, 1461 and whose son
a. Thomas Forster bef 1430 – 1473, seised of lands in Greencroft, North Durham when
i. Thomas Forster ca 1451 [his son and heir was aged 22 years.]

John Forster 1316 – | his parents
& Elizabeth | her parents
of Buckton, Yorkshire, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

John Forster of Buckton was the eldest son and heir Gilbert de Buckton.
He married Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of Simon de Orde, Lord of Orde, in the County of Northumberland.
He was a stout soldier with the Black Prince at the battle of Poictiers in 1357.
his son and heir Thomas Forster

Simon de Orde, Lord of Orde, died in 1369; he was the son and heir of Peter Orde, of Orde, by his wife Eleanor, daughter of Sir William Ridel, of Tilmouth, Knight.

Gilbert de Buckton or Gilbert Forster d. 1342 | his parents
alias Forrester, Chief Gamekeeper to the Bishop of Durham,
of Buckton, Yorkshire, England

This is my working hypothesis – the way I see it as of this moment!!

Gilbert de Buckton lived in the time of King John and King Henry III [1220 – 1272]. He died in 1342, 10th Bury. He was succeeded in his offices of Forester and Gamekeeper to the Bishop by his son, John Forster, who was 26 years of age at his father’s death.
Sons of Gilbert Forster:
1. John Forster 1316 –
2. Robert Forster his 2nd son, who was seised of lands &tc at Ancroft in North Durham in the year 1344. his son
a. Robert Forster,of Ancroft, is recorded in 1381 as owing the Prior of Holy Island ten shillings. his son
i. Robert Forster of Edelaton, a Juror in 1450 held lands of the Prior of Holy Island; he was buried at Norham in 1505. he had two sons —
1. Rowland Forster
2. Nicholas Forster

Buckton is a hamlet in the chapelry of Kyloe. in the parish of Holy Island.

Joseph Foster in 1871 set forth this line [starting at this man] in his privately published
“A Pedigree of the Forsters and Fosters of the North of England” book found at

(** This man Gilbert Foster, who was the Head Forester to the Bishop of Durham and died in 1342, has often been claimed asthe progenitor of the Forsters of Northumbria. Quite wrongly, in my humble opinion. GF.)

The Foster Family History

Roy, I saw the pictures. I would like to add them to the collection on Foster Quest/Castle Quest. If you ever go back, visit Corstorphen, Scotland (just outside Edinburgh). It is also our ancient homeland. The Forrester Clan owns the grounds where the ruins of Torwood Castle remain. This is a Forrester Castle. In Corstorphen, you will find the home of The Lord Forrester. On the main entry gate and on the house, you will see our “Three Bugle Horns”. Torwood Castle dates back to the 1400’s for our families. It is my belief that Sir Richard, Forester of Flanders, settled in that region during the Norman Conquest. If you want to have a good reading of a Forster historian go to

These two sites present some good reading and a little contempt for the Foster lines as this Forster was very proud of his name. But I think he was no different than we Fosters. Some of his speculation is just that. None of us know everything. His pictures are the best of Bamburgh.
I’ll write more soon. Are you related to Stan? J-RedFosterProv3:5-6

Photos by and from Leroy Foster

Hi everyone, I thought I would send you some other pictures of England.
The first ones are the Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, England located near Holy Island and the Scotland border on the English Channel.
f2Bamburg-Castle-Entry-way fBamburg-Castle-Entry-Way-f

St Aidan’ Church is where most of the old Forster’s are buried i.e. Sir John Forster, etc etc back to 1100 to 1500 AD.
St. Aidan’s

{some web- sites about this Castle that I enjoyed -Sally]


e-mail from Roy Foster: “Yes, you can [post the pictures]. I would appreciate it if you do mention my name as I do not want anyone to try selling them. This is strictly prohibited by me because I want all of the descendants to Christopher Foster and Frances Stevens to know their ancestors and to pass that information down to their children, etc etc etc. I hope some day that the Fosters can unite in a common interest of returning to our ancestral home of our forefathers. I hope someday that the castle at Bamburgh become truly recognized in the Foster ancestry and one day become owned by the Foster descendants because of it being given to the Family by Queen Elizabeth I, which, in my opinion, should have remained so for eternity.


Would you be interested in joining the project?

24 thoughts on “Bamburgh Castle”

  1. Hello,
    My name is Janice and my mother was Mary Frances Foster of N.C. in USA. I was able to follow her family line to Sir Reginald Forester of Northumberland, England who was born 1100 and died in 1156. His records indicate he was Governor of Etherstone (Adderstone, Bansborough). He had a son named Sir Hugo Forester, born 1121/died 1150 who was listed as Chief Guard of the Royal Forests of England. Thank you for this website! I loved reading about all the Governors of the castle and hope to travel there to connect to my heirs and meditate on them.

  2. Great research.

    I’ve just started my own delving and found a link to the Forsters via my grandmother Elsie Mae Forster … daughter of John William Forster which gives a link to John Ferdinando Forster (1782-1817) … after that it goes a bit hazy.

  3. What a wonderful genealogy. I’ve tried for years to prove the link to the Bamburgh Fosters. One entry had me jumping out of my chair. I’ve proven links to my Foster ancestry to the 1730s Lancaster PA Fosters. An entry in your genealogy states that (ii.) John Forster (my notes: son of d. Thomas Forster of Brunton 1615 Will dated 19 June 1648 married 1st Margaret, dau. of Richard Forster, of Tuggall, Esq)
    immigrated to Scotland about 1640 had son went to Ireland and grandsons to Lancaster Co PA 1728. Do you have the source document reference to the Thomas Brunton 1615 will mentioned? This would be most helpful if the will still exists. Many thanks to your amazing work on this!

  4. Hello,

    Je suis un des descendants de Selena Forster, la fille de Thomas Ignatius Forster, la petite-fille de Thomas Furly Forster et arrière petite fille de Edward Forster the Elder.
    Actuellement je suis bloqué dans mes recherches quand je veux retrouver les ancêtres de Thomas Forster de Walthamstow (1698-1730) le père de Edward Forster the Elder et le mari de Dorothy Furly.
    Si un ‘Forster’.. pouvait m’aider à finaliser mes recherches, cela me ferait plaisir.

    Patrick de Meulemeester

    1. Hello Patrick

      Thomas FORSTER (9th Mar 1698 – 1763) was my great x 6, grandfather. I have much detail regarding the Forsters from that time, but note before. Please feel free to contact me.

      Gerard Clinton

      1. Hello Gerard,

        Thanks for your informations and please see my mail address to make our contacts easier.



        Patrick de Meulemeester
        B-4052 Beaufays

  5. Hi! I am a Forster descendant! I am still putting it all together. I’d be so thrilled to connect with everyone. I do have the book, descendants of sir John Forster that my papa, Bufford Franklin Foster, gave me and I am constantly looking on the internet for info. I just came across this site today.

    1. Hello

      I live in Ireland. My grandmother was a Blake-Forster from Galway and Kilfenora.

      I have the Sept on my WordPress search O’Donnellan ffrench Blake-Forster

      There was a Colonel Francis Rowland ? Forster who served in the Crimea war. He then worked for the Viceroy, in the fourth highest position as Master of the Horse. I am trying to find out if he is part of the Irish branch of Forster family.

      Sadly my mum and her cousins have passed away; they knew the history in an oral way.

      Have you come across the book “The Chieftains” by Charles ffrench Blake-Forster. I have an original book from the 1800’s but someone has put this on the web in the intervening years. Regards Michelle Clarke


  6. Hi there I would like to be able eventually connect up my Connection with the Forsters. My Grand mother was Dorothy “Forster” Prior who moved with her Husband James Watson to Ireland in the 1880’s . Dorothy kept her mother’s Maiden name also to keep the Forster name alive . Her mother was also Dorothy Forster born 1858 to William Forster b: 1811 & Mary Ellenor or Clarke born 1819. If My ancestry hints are in anyway correct This line Should go back to what might be my 13 th gr grandfather Thomas Forster Lord Etherstone born 1526 and his wife lady Elizabeth Fitzhugh of Featherstonehaugh.. if anyone has any information connecting these dots I would appreciate it ! Thank you ! Amy Watson Murphy

    1. Hi I have family connections with the Forsters my grandad Was called Walter forster his daughter my mum Valerie Forster Grandad passed away about roughly 18 years ago he lived in Morpeth was a psychiatric nurse he married Grace Graham I am wanting to visit Bamborogh castle to find and look at graves of my forster family my name is Gillian So I’m guessing we are related hi 👋

  7. Would it be ok if I include this history on my family tree? So interesting! Thank you for all your work!

  8. Has any Forster/Foster found a link with the Caribbean? I have Forster forbears who lived on Barbados in the 17th, 18th centuries.
    Does this ring a bell?

  9. Do you know if the Border Reiver Fosters/Forsters who migrated (forced to migrate) to Northern Ireland in the early 1600s were related to Fosters/Forsters in Northumberland? Apparently my family migrated from Northern Ireland to the Lancaster County Pennsylvania area originally came from the Border area (possibly Northumberland). I am trying to find the link or links between the border Fosters/Forsters (and/or ScottishForsters/Forresters) to the Fosters/Forsters in Armagh and Ulster Northern Ireland. I am pretty sure these PA Fosters are linked to the VA Fosters in some fashion. Thanks!!
    Glen Foster

    1. hi Glen , My grand mother is connected to the Bamburgh Forsters, she was from Darlington Co Durham and moved to Youghal County Cork in the 1880’s.. sorry I don’t know of a Northern Ireland connection But I hope you can find it .. Amy

  10. Hi Everyone,
    My husband is descended from Christopher and Francis also who emigrated from England. His great great grandmother Foster settled and married a farmer from Steuben county N.Y by the name of Creighton(it’s funny how families intermarry throughout the centuries even across the pond today) Any further info on any of the above names would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Hello, i’m very excited to start researching my Foster Family name.
    I have Foster paternal & Maternal side to research.

  12. Hi,

    I am researching the Foster line for my fiance – Nicholas Scott Foster. We can only trace it back to John Foster (born around 1700) and married to Elizabeth Sheppard in Accomack County in Virgina. His possible parents were William Foster and Margaret Neale, but that cannot be confirmed at this time. Do you have any information about any of the Fosters or Forsters that migrated to America?

    We’re having a difficult time making the connection. He’s done a couple of DNA tests but we’re not exactly able to connect his direct line to England as of yet.

    Any information would be most helpful and appreciated.

    Thank you for your time.


  13. My name is Sabrina Forster my family was located primarily in Ontario Canada. I have heard we have a connection to the family and castle but can’t find verification.

    1. Hi, Sabrina – I have trouble making a connection also. All the King’s foresters took the Sirname Forester or Forster. They were not all related.
      I have two distinct Foster lines — one going back to Christopher who settled in New England – – it has not been established as to which Christopher he was in England – – tho we
      — and the other is a Virginia line that intermarried with the Hudgins– this line has a connection to the English across the puddle.

      1. I’m related to the Virginia Fosters and I’m just stumbling into the information about English ancestors. Fascinating stuff!

  14. hi
    I have just inherited my aunts genealogy records and have details of Family members going back to Gilbert de Buckton, called Gilbert Forster, alias Forrester, chief gamekeeper and a forester to the Bishop of Durham ob 1342
    any connections?
    its all new to me!!

  15. Hi Sally,

    I discovered a section of your website about Bamburgh Castle. My wife and I visited the castle in 2013. My connection to the Forster family line is Nicholas of Newham (south of Bamburgh) who is the son of Thomas of Etherstone (or Adderstone) west of the Castle. They are both listed on your long chart just below the inset Basic Forster Family Chart. My branch of the family modified the name (7 generations) to distinguish the Canadian Loyalist line after the American Revolution, but the “Patriot” line kept the original spelling to the present day. How are you related to the Northumberland/Durham Forster clan?

    James Forrester (P.O. Box 718, Lakefield, Ontario K0L 2H0)

    1. I have two separate lines of Fosters – one was Christopher Foster born in 1603 who married Frances Stevens in 1626 in Ewell in Surrey, England and settled in Lynn, Mass. and the other was ship owners and captains that settled early on in Virginia. I have my doubts about any connection to the Bamburgh Castle – but it is fun.

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