Thomas Forster of Adderstone and Bamburgh (1683-1738)

In 1704 Tom Forster became joint heir with his aunt, Lady Dorothy Crewe, to the Forsters' bankrupt estates in Bamburgh and Blanchland. The Forsters, once an important land-owning family, had fallen heavily into debt after years of gambling and excessive spending by Sir William and Ferdinando Forster, Dorothy's brothers.

These debts were settled and the family rescued from their embarrassing predicament by Dorothy's husband, the wealthy Lord Crewe, Bishop of Durham. Despite having sworn oaths to William and Mary, and subsequently officiated at the coronation of George l, the Bishop was a known Jacobite sympathiser, having risen to favour in the Stuart Court. Tom Forster took up his father's parliamentary seat, becoming heavily involved in Jacobite politics and central to the plotting in Northumberland.

He was elected as the English 'General' in the 1715 Rising because he was a Protestant, but afterwards made a scapegoat for the failed enterprise, and criticised by some of his fellow Jacobites for his poor leadership. After the surrender at Preston he was imprisoned in Newgate, escaping four days before his trial.

He fled to the Continent and remained in exile for the rest of his life, steering clear of further political intrigue and holding an appointment as Steward in the royal household of James lll. After his death in 1738 at the age of fifty-four, his body was brought back to England and buried at Bamburgh.