Thomas Forster

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For other people named Thomas Forster, see Thomas Forster (disambiguation).
Thomas Forster

Thomas Forster (29 March 1683 – October 1738) was a Northumbrian politician and landowner, who served as general of the Jacobite army in the 1715 Uprising.


He was a member of the prominent Forster family of Bamburgh and Adderstone Hall, the son of Thomas Forster (1659-1725) of Adderstone, who was Member of Parliament for Northumberland 1705-1708 and High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1703. His mother was Frances Forster, daughter of Sir William Forster of Bamburgh Castle.

He was Tory Member of Parliament (MP) for Northumberland 1708-1716. He was, in 1700, co-heir, with his aunt Dorothy Crew (wife of Lord Crew, Bishop of Durham) of the estates of Bamburgh and Blanchland which had been bankrupted by financial extravagance. Although Lord Crew purchased the forfeited estates and settled the debts, the heirs were comparatively impoverished.

The Forsters were cousins to the Radcliffes. The head of the family Lord Derwentwater, himself a cousin of the Old Pretender, was a leader of the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion. Although a Protestant, with no military experience, Forster was elected to lead the Jacobite army. Under his direction Lancelot Errington captured the island of Lindisfarne. Forster was heavily defeated at the Battle of Preston and surrendered. Imprisoned in Newgate Prison, he later escaped to France where he served at the exiled Stuart court.

Forster was attainted and expelled from Parliament in 1716. He died in France. His body was returned to England and buried at Bamburgh.


  • History and Antiquities of North Durham (1852) Rev James Raine, page 307

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Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir John Delaval
Thomas Forster
Member of Parliament for Northumberland
With: Earl of Hertford
Succeeded by
Francis Blake Delaval
Earl of Hertford