FORSTER, William (d.1443), of Scarborough, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Family and Education

m. Elizabeth, 2s. 3da.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Scarborough Mich. 1432-3, 1434-5.2


Nothing is known for certain about Forster before he first represented Scarborough in Parliament, although he may well have been the son of a woman named Agnes, whose grandson, John Danby (d.1485), a priest of York minster, left money in his will for masses to be said for both their souls. His own own will, which was drawn up in July 1443, shows him to have been a wealthy man with extensive property in and around Scarborough, including two warehouses for the storage of herring, and a chief messuage which had previously belonged to John Mosdale*. His wealth and local influence clearly explain why he sat in at least 11 Parliaments; and since one of his trustees, John Besinby, was a Londoner, it looks as if he may have seized the opportunity to transact business of his own during his visits to Westminster.3

In September 1429, Forster witnessed the will of his neighbour, Peter Shilbottle; and in the following year he offered bail of £100 in the court of Chancery on behalf of two local men. He served his first term as bailiff of Scarborough in 1432; and during the second, three years later, he secured his own return to Parliament, perhaps so that he could deal with personal matters in London. Not surprisingly, in view of his position in the local community, he was named in January 1437 as a surety for the two parliamentary burgesses, John Acclom and Robert Bamburgh*. He died towards the close of 1443, leaving a widow, Elizabeth, and five children, each of whom received at least one tenement in Scarborough. He had already made generous provision for his sister, Agnes, whose kinsmen by marriage, the Belotts of Scarborough and Beverley, figured prominently among his trustees.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills, ii, ff. 74-75v.
  • 2. C219/14/5; White Vellum Bk. Scarborough, ed. Jeayes, no. 48C.
  • 3. Test. Ebor. iii. 117; York registry wills, ii, ff. 74-75v.
  • 4. CCR, 1429-35, p. 105; C219/14/5, 15/1; York registry wills, ii, ff. 74-75v, 563v.