Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Forsett, Edward

FORSETT, EDWARD (1553?–1630?), political writer, obtained from Elizabeth in 1583 a twenty-one years' lease of the manor of Tyburn, Middlesex, at the annual rent of 16l. 11s. 8d. As a justice of peace he showed himself very active in the examination of those concerned in the Gunpowder plot, and he occasionally took charge of the Tower during the absence of the lieutenant, Sir William Waad. He also held a surveyor's place in the office of works, and in May 1609 was commissioned to repair Oatlands Park (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. Addenda, 1580–1625, p. 516). On 8 June 1611 James I granted him the manor of Tyburn, with all its appurtenances, excepting the park, for the sum of 829l. 3s. 4d. (ib. 1611–1618, p. 40). It continued in his family for several years, and then passed into that of Austen by the intermarriage of Arabella Forsett, a grand-daughter, with Thomas Austen (Lysons, Environs, iii. 244-5). Forsett died in 1629 or 1630, probably at his chamber in Charing Cross House. He married about 1585 Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Carr, of Hillingdon, Middlesex; she predeceased him. His will (P. C. C. 46, Scroope), dated 13 Oct. 1629, was proved 25 May 1630 by his son, Robert Forsett, and his daughter Frances (d. 1668), wife of Mr. (afterwards Sir) Matthew Howland of Holborn and Streatham, Surrey, one of the king's gentlemen pensioners. Therein he describes himself as ‘of Maribone in the countie of Middlesex esquier,’ and desires to be buried in Marylebone Church, in a vault of his own in the chancel. He is the author of two ably written pamphlets: 1. ‘A Comparative Discovrse of the Bodies Natvral and Politiqve. Wherein … is set forth the true forme of a Commonweale, with the dutie of Subiects, and the right of the Soueraigne,’ 4to, London, 1606. At page 51 he makes interesting allusion to the Gunpowder plot; he also argues strongly for union with Scotland (p. 58). 2. ‘A Defence of the Right of Kings; wherein the power of the papacie ouer princes is refuted, and the oath of allegeance iustified. (An examination of a position published by P. R. [i.e. Robert Parsons] in the preface of his treatise … concerning the lawfullnesse of the Popes power ouer princes),’ 4to, London, 1624, dedicated to James I. It had been written ten or twelve years previously, and was at length published by a friend who signs himself ‘F. B.’ Wood confounds the above Edward Forsett with another of the same names, whom he describes as ‘a gentleman's son of Lincolnshire, and of the same family with the Forsets of Billesby in that county’ (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, ii. 5). In 1590, ‘or thereabouts, he became a commoner of Lincoln College, Oxford, aged eighteen; but leaving that house without the honour of a degree, retired at length to his patrimony.’ An Edward Forsett ‘of Billesby, co. Lincoln, gent.,’ was examined before Popham and Coke in April and May 1600, when he was charged with being a papist and with denying the queen's title to the crown (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1598–1601, pp. 423–5, 430, 434).

[Prof. Moore Smith's Introduction to the Latin comedy Pedantius, Louvain, 1905, pp. xii–xvii; Lysons's Environs, iii. 249, 254; Lysons's Middlesex Parishes, p. 2; Newcourt's Repertorium, i. 695; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser.; Overall's Remembrancia, pp. 555–6; Chester's London Marriage Licenses (Foster), col. 501; Administration Act re Ann Forsett, granted May 1645 (P. C. C.); Will of Robert Forsett, proved by decree, January 1688 (P. C. C. 125, Exton); Administration Act re Edward Forsett, April 1674 and Oct. 1693 (P. C. C.); Will of Anne Forsett, proved May 1690 (P. C. C. 69, Dyke).]

G. G.