FORTH, Hugh (1610-76), of Clapham, Surr.
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Family and Education
bap. 6 July 1610, 1st s. of Robert Forth, brazier, of Standish Gate, Wigan, Lancs. by Catherine, da. of William Gardiner of Wigan. m. (1) Sarah, da. of John Fowle, merchant, of London, 1da.; (2) 8 Sept. 1645, Sarah, da. of William Essington, merchant, of London, s.p.; (3) lic. 10 Oct. 1667, Amy, da. of Robert Gurdon of Assington, Suff., s.p. suc. fa. 1622.1
Commr. for sewers, Kent 1657.2
Four generations of Forth’s ancestors had resided in Wigan. Their efforts to establish kinship with a neighbouring gentry family called Ford had failed, but Forth’s grandfather and uncle were both prominent on the corporation in the reign of James I, and engaged in bitter dispute with the local church authorities. Forth himself, left fatherless at the age of 12, went up to London and became a merchant. On the eve of the Civil War he was lodging in the house of his cousin, Robert Gardiner, in Basinghall Street. Gardiner was one of the leading City Royalists, but Forth was not implicated in his cousin’s activities. He was not allowed to draw Gardiner’s dividends from the East India Company during the war, but he did secure the desequestration of the house in 1646. He was returned to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament for his home town, and in 1660 he was re-elected, this time together with his former landlord’s son, William Gardiner. As one of the small group of Members commissioned on 9 May to raise a loan of £30,000 in the City, he immediately offered £500 from his own resources, for which he was formally thanked by the House. Although presumably a supporter of the Restoration, he was named to no more committees. His principal motive for sitting may have been to exert leverage for a claim on the East India Company, and on 27 June they agreed to pay him and his partner £2,000 on account. His election was declared void on 31 July, and he is not likely to have stood again. He was buried at St. Mary Aldermanbury on 20 Feb. 1676, the only member of the family to sit in Parliament. He does not seem to have been related to the London aldermen and excise farmers, Dannett and John Forth, though he may have shared their religious sympathies, for his widow came from a strongly Presbyterian family and married the eminent nonconformist divine, Dr Thomas Jacombe.3