Clan Forrester

The Forresters are an ancient and noble clan of the Scottish Lowlands.[3]

Crest: A hound's head erased Proper collared Gules[1]
MottoBlaw, Hunter, Blaw Thy Horn[1]
DistrictLothian, Stirlingshire
Armigerous Clan
The Chief of Clan Forrester
Historic seatCorstorphine Castle[2]
Torwood Castle[2]

The clan took their name from their ancient role as guardians of the royal forest around Edinburgh. The Forresters had significant holdings in Lothian, and Stirlingshire. The clan does not currently have a chief and is therefore considered an armigerous clan.[3]

The original caput of the clan is believed to have been Torwood Castle in Stirlingshire, as well as Corstorphine Castle on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Many clan chiefs and Lord's Forrester are interred in Corstorphine Church.


Origins of the clan

It is possible that the chiefs of Clan Forrester were of Celtic and Druidic origin.[3] The chiefs may descend from Marnin the Forrester who in about 1200 held lands in Dunipace, Stirlingshire.[3]

The founder of the clan is generally regarded as Sir Adam Forrester, 1st of Corstorphine who was an ambassador, merchant, Provost of Edinburgh, Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and Deputy Chamberlain of Scotland.[3] In 1376 he acquired the estate of Corstorphine in Midlothian which is now part of Edinburgh.[3] It was here that Corstorphine Castle (now demolished) stood as well as the Collegiate church of Corstorphine, which has the effigies of three of the Forrester chiefs.[3]

Sir Adam Forrester's son, Sir John Forrester the elder, was also Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and Chamberlain of Scotland.[3] He was also Keeper of the Household to James I of Scotland.[3] According to historian Alexander Mackenzie, Gerse or Grace, sister of Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine, possibly married Robert de Munro, 8th Baron of Foulis.[4]

Wars of Scottish Independence

During the Wars of Scottish Independence Forresters fought at the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333.[3] They also fought at the Battle of Sauchieburn in the 15th century.[3]

16th century and Anglo-Scottish Wars

The chief's family had several landed cadet branches.[3] Amongst them was Sir John Forrester of Niddry who died at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.[3]

There was a Stirlingshire branch of the clan, the Forresters of Garden who were heritable keepers of the Torwood (a Royal forest and hunting ground).[3] They owned the barony of Garden as well as Torwood and the ruins of Torwood Castle still stand.[3] Sir Duncan Forrester, 1st of Torwood was Comptroller of the Royal Household for James IV of Scotland.[3] No fewer than eight Forresters of Torwood were Provosts of Stirling burgh.[3]

Sir James Forrester, seventh chief of Clan Forrester was killed at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, as was Sir David Forrester, 4th of the Torwood branch of the clan.[3]

A cadet of the Forresters of Garden was the first of the Fifeshire Chieftains, the Forresters of Strathendry.[3] The Forresters of Strathendry built Strathendry Castle, a 16th-century tower house where both Mary, Queen of Scots and Oliver Cromwell stayed.[3] It is the only Forrester stronghold that is still inhabited today.[3]

17th century and Civil War

Sir George Forrester, tenth chief of Clan Forrester was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1633, however when he died the baronetcy became dormant and still awaits a claimant.[3] James and William Baillie who were the sons-in-law of the first Lord Forrester assumed the name and arms of Forrester and inherited the title under a re-grant of the peerage.[3] James was a royalist and was fined by Oliver Cromwell with his estates becoming burdened in debt.[3] In 1679 he was murdered by his mistress, Mrs Christian Nimmo and his brother who was mad then inherited the title.[3]

18th century and Jacobite risings

Colonel George Forrester, the fifth Lord Forrester who was in the Grenadier and Life Guards fought under the Duke of Marlborough against the French at the Battle of Oudenarde in 1708 and the Battle of Malplaquet in 1709.[3] During the Jacobite rising of 1715 he was wounded at the Battle of Preston (1715).[3] Eventually the male line died out and the title descended through an heiress to the Earls of Verulam.[3]

In France

Two cadet branches of the chief's family in Normandy, France are Le Forestier du Buisson-SainteMarquerite and Le Forestier de Foucrainville who descend from Sir Adam Forrester of the 14th century.[3] As of 1994 the head of these French branches is M. Jean Le Forrester.[3] The Le Forestier cadets fought at the Battle of Ivry in France in 1590.[3]


The Lords Forrester had for a long time been the recognized chiefs of Clan Forrester.[3] The potential chief is therefore Sir John Duncan Grimston, Baronet, seventh Earl Verulam, sixteenth Lord Forrester of Corstorpine and patron of the Clan Forrester,[3] although he would have to assume the surname of Forrester to become the chief.


  • Corstorphine Castle, the seat of the chiefs, to the west of Edinburgh was a large and powerful castle with a strong wall, moat and corner towers but nothing now remains apart from a large doocot.[2]
  • Torwood Castle, four miles north-west of Falkirk, was seat of the Forresters of Torwood, a sixteenth century L-plan tower house it is now a ruin.[2]
  • Tower of Garden, three and ahalf miles west of Kippen, Stirlingshire, was held by the Forresters of Garden.[2] It was replaced by a classical mansion in 1824 and there are no remains of the old tower.[2]
  • Strathendry Castle, near Cardenden, Fife was originally held by the Sthrathendry family but passed to the Forresters of Garden and Skipinich in 1496.[2]


  • Motto: Blaw, hunter, Blaw Thy Horn.
  • Crest: A hound's head erased Proper collared Gules.
  • Patron: Earl of Veralum, 16th Lord Forrester of Corstorphine.
  • Arms: Argent, three bugle horns Sable, garnished Vert and stringed Gules.
  • Supporters: Dexter, a ratchhound Proper, colared Gules; sinister a ratchhound Proper, collared Gules.


  1. Clan Forrester Profile Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  2. Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 206 - 207. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  3. Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 389- 390.
  4. Mackenzie, Alexander. (1898). History of the Munros of Fowlis. pp. 13.

See also

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