William Forester (1655–1718)

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Sir William Forester KB (10 December 1655 – February 1718), of Dothill Park, Apley Castle, and Watling Street in Wellington, Shropshire, was the son of Francis Forester of Dothill.[1] He was a Whig[2] Member in the Parliaments of England and of Great Britain.

He entered Trinity College, Cambridge in 1673 and graduated as MA in 1675.[3]

William Forester succeeded to Dothill Park in about 1675 under the will of his half-brother Richard Steventon (died 1659) and this became the main family seat at least until his grandson obtained Willey Park by marrying the heiress of George Weld.[4]

He was Member of Parliament for the borough constituency of Wenlock from 1679 until 1715 (except 1685–1688) and held a sinecure as Clerk of the Green Cloth.[1]

In 1683 he was almost implicated in the Rye House Plot against Charles II, when a search revealed 50 muskets and pike heads were found hidden in an oven, and a large quantity of gunpowder buried on his estate. He paid off a heavy fine, allegedly helped by selling off valuable timber grown on the Wrekin.[5] He was an opponent of Charles' successor James II, suffering a spell of imprisonment in the Tower of London after the Monmouth Rebellion, and being exiled in Holland until he returned to England accompanying William III in 1688.[2] He was knighted in the Order of the Bath in 1689.

In May 1695, he fought a duel against fellow MP, Colonel Beaumont (who disarmed Forester), over accusations made in the House of Commons. In August 1703 he was one of the commissioners sent by Queen Anne to receive the Archduke Charles of Austria at The Hague.[6]

He married, in 1684, Mary daughter of James Cecil, 3rd Earl of Salisbury, with whom he had two sons and three daughters.[2] One son was another William Forester who also sat for Wenlock, while one of his daughters, Mary, married Sir George Downing, 3rd Baronet (the latter, nephew of his wife, having been brought up in Forester's household).[7]

Forester died in 1718 aged 62 and was buried at Wellington.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Weyman, Henry T. (1902). "Members of Parliament for Wenlock". Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society (T.S.A.S.), Third Series, Volume II. p. 333.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 [1] History of Parliament Online article on Sir William Forester.
  3. Venn, J. and J.A. (1922). Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part I, Volume II. Cambridge University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 'Wellington: Manors and other estates', A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 11: Telford (1985), pp. 215–221. Shropshire manor. Date accessed: 20 May 2008.
  5. T.S.A.S., Third Series, Volume II. pp. 333–334. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 T.S.A.S., Third Series, Volume II. p. 334. Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. [2] History of Parliament Online article on Sir George Downing.
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Littleton, Bt
George Weld
Member of Parliament for Wenlock
1679–1685
With: Sir John Weld 1679
John Wolryche 1679–85
Succeeded by
Thomas Lawley
George Weld
Preceded by
Thomas Lawley
George Weld
Member of Parliament for Wenlock
1689–1707
With: George Weld 1689–01
George Weld (younger) 1701–07
Succeeded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Parliament of England
Member of Parliament for Wenlock
1707–1715
With: George Weld (younger) to 1708
Thomas Weld 1708–10
George Weld 1710–13
William Whitmore 1713–14
Richard Newport 1714–15
Succeeded by
William Forester
Thomas Newport