FORSTER, Sir Humphrey, 2nd Bt. (1650-1711), of Aldermaston, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

5 Mar. 1677
Mar. 1679
Feb. 1701

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 Hawnes, Beds. and Harleyford, Bucks., 2s. 1da. d.v.p. suc. gdfa. as 3rd Bt. 12 Oct. 1663.1

Offices Held

J.p. Berks. c.1671-July 1688, 1689-d., commr. for assessment 1673-80, 1689-90, recusants 1675, dep. lt. by 1680-Feb. 1688, 1689-?d.

Biography

Forster was descended from an Oxfordshire family settled at Harpsden in the 15th century and first representing the county in 1467. Aldermaston was acquired by marriage in the early 16th century. A Royalist during the Civil War, Forster’s grandfather was suspected of heavily mortgaging his estates to contribute to the King’s cause, and did not secure their discharge from sequestration on payment of £1,000 till 1653. His father was a Parliamentarian, who was appointed to the militia committees in 1659 and in March 1660.2

Forster was returned for Berkshire at a by-election in 1677. According to his own account it cost him £1,500, ‘though he had no powerful adversary’. On the working lists he was marked ‘to be fixed’, but Shaftesbury considered him ‘worthy’. An inactive Member, he served on only three committees, of which the most important was for abolishing the writ de heretico comburendo. He made no recorded speeches. On 7 Mar. 1678 he was teller against the election of the court supporter Henry Norwood at Gloucester. On 30 Jan. 1679 Sir Ralph Verney wrote that he had been unable to persuade Forster to stand again, but he was returned to the first Exclusion Parliament, and again marked ‘worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list. He was named to only two committees, neither of which was of political importance. He voted for exclusion, but he was listed in the ‘unanimous club’, and replaced in August by a steadier country candidate Richard Southby. Forster evidently came to oppose exclusion, remaining in local office in 1680, but he may have decided to retire temporarily from politics because of the growing violence of the struggle. He returned to the House in 1685, when his sole committee was on the bill for the recovery of tithes. To the lord lieutenant’s questions he replied:

He cannot be for repealing the Tests, but, as for the Penal Laws that are not absolutely necessary for the support of the Church of England, he is willing to have them repealed, having been sixteen years in commission, without ever having persecuted any one for their opinion. ... He will assist those of the same mind. ... He will ever live friendly with those of all persuasions.

He was removed from local office, and did not sit in the Convention. He regained his seat in 1690, however, and as ‘a very honest churchman’ represented Berkshire continuously for 11 years. He died on 13 Dec. 1711 and was buried at Aldermaston, the last of his family.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar

Notes

  • 1. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 208; Cat. Ashmolean Mss, 330; Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxiii), 209; VCH Berks. iii. 394.
  • 2. VCH Berks. iii. 389-90; SP23/24/1086, 223/663; Cal. Comm. Comp. 880-1.
  • 3. BL, M636/32; HMC Downshire, i. 549, 565; Berks. RO, Aldermaston par. reg.; VCH Berks. iii. 390.

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