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983082. ALEXANDER DE FORBES was born at  Drumminor, Aberdeenshire on June 20th  1377. In 1407 he was one of four knights who went to England to hold a friendly tournament with an equal number of English knights. Wyntoun calls him a knight of Mar, and praises the worthy manner in which he and his comrades upheld the honour of their country on the field of chivalry.
Lands were granted to him in 1411 for his part in the defeat of Donald of the Isles at the
Battle of Harlaw. In 1419 he formed one of the contingent of Scottish knights who with their followers responded to the appeal of Charles, dauphin of France, to Scotland for help against the English. He took part in the war then going on, and was present at the battle of Beaugé, 22 March 1421. During the same year he visited James I in his captivity in London, and afterwards returned to Scotland, but came again into England as far as Durham in 1423, to convoy James I into his kingdom. 
On 16 October 1423 he was given a charter of the lands of Forbes Aberdeenshire. He was created a lord of parliament by James II of Scotland between 1436 and 1442 and created First Lord Forbes between Oct 1444 and July 1445. He was also  Viscount of Brux. 
His first wife was Agnes Fraser who died 1423. He married Elizabeth Mary  Douglas of Angus  at  Aberdeenshire on the 6th October of the same year.  He died at Mar, Aberdeenshire, on 16 Oct 1448.

Children born to Agnes Fraser

 Elizabeth Marion Forbes b. 1417 Aberdeen, 
Susanna Urquhart Forbes b. 1422  Aberdeenshire, 
Elizabeth Forbes b. 1423 Aberdeenshire,

Children born to Elizabeth Mary Douglas

   491541. Annabella Forbes  , Aberdeenshire b. Oct 1423
Sir James Forbes  b. Jan 1424 Forbes Aberdeenshire,  
John Forbes of Terpersie b. 1425 Forcalquier, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France.  provost of the church of St. Giles, Edinburgh, 
William de Forbes b. 1426  Forbes, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Margaret  Forbes b. 1428 Forbes, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Susanna Urquhart Forbes b.1430 Forbes, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. 

983083. ELIZABETH MARY DOUGLAS OF ANGUS was born at Mar Lodge,Aberdeenshire, on February 24th  1398. She married Sir David Hay, of Yester in 1448  after the death of Alexander.  She died in 1460 at  Castle Yester, Gifford, East Lothian. 

Elizabeth Mary Douglas
Annabella Forbes

The Medieval Tournament - The two teams stand ready; each side has 24 knights with clubs, each with a banner-bearer. There is a central spectators' box for the four judges, and one on each side for the ladies. 

Battle of Bauge France

 Countryside around Mar Lodge. 


1966164. JOHN DE FORBES With The Black Lip was born at Forbes,  Aberdeenshire, in 1332. Born posthumously after his father was killed in battle. 
“John of the Black Lip/ John Black Lip”
“. by the Provdence of God, the principall that was Laird of Driminor, had a gentlewoman to his wife, with bairne, who was delyvered of a son, who brucked the surname, and non other, who being brought up by his mother’s command to manhood, through his virtuous deeds was made Knight, and was called Sr John Forbes wt. the black lip, by a mark he had on his face."
"from the account of Mr. Mathew Lumsden of Tulliekerne, written in 1580, Inverness"
He is mentioned as Lord of Forbes on 20 August 1387 as knight in a letter from King Robert III.
Sir John  made a great figure in the reigns of king Robert II and III and acquired from Thomas earl of Marr several lands in Aberdeen-shire, which he got confirmed to him by a charter under the great seal of king Robert II. anno 1373.
He obtained likeways a grant of the lands of Findrossie, by a charter Johanni de Forbes domino ejusdem, et Margaretae sponsae suae, dated 19th July 1378.
In 1394, the fifth year of king Robert III. he was constituted justiciar of Aberdeen-shire, and coroner of that county. He is witness in a charter of Isabel countess of Marr, of the lands of Bonjedworth to Thomas Douglas, in which he is designed Johannes Forbes de eodem, miles, dated anno 1404 and on 2nd January 1404-5 he made a certain payment to Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, as directed by a court held by the duke of Albany. 
He married  Margaret Kennedy of Dunure in 1375 at Dunure Aberdeenshire. He died on 20th November  1406 at  Forbes, Aberdeenshire,

983082. Alexander de Forbes b. June 20 1377 Forbes, Aberdeenshire,  
Alaster "Cam" Forbes, 1st of Brux b. 1378 Forbes, Aberdeenshire, 
John Forbes b. 1384
William Forbes b. 1400 Forbes, Aberdeenshire,

1966165. MARGARET  KENNEDY of DUNURE was born at Dunure Castle, Maybole, Ayrshire, in 1360, daughter of John Kennedy and Mary Montgomery. Her name is also recorded as Elizabeth. 

 Druminnor - Castle Forbes today

 Dunure Castle ruins


3932328. JOHN DE DE FORBES was born in 1302 at Forbes, Aberdeenshire. He married Margaret Baroness Wake in  1331 at Forbes, Aberdeenshire. He was Lord , Sheriff of Aberdeen. They had a son 1966164. John de Forbes.  He died in 1387 at Forbes, Aberdeenshire,

3932329. MARGARET WAKE, 3rd Baroness Wake of Liddell was born at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, Berkshire on 20th March 1297. 
She was the daughter of John Wake, 1st Baron Wake of Liddell, (son of Baldwin Wake and Hawise de Quincy) and Joan de Fiennes. By her father, she was descended from Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and Joan, Lady of Wales, the illegitimate daughter of John I of England. Her mother, Joan de Fiennes, was a daughter of William de Fiennes and Blanche (Lady of Loupeland) de Brienne. She was a sister of Margaret de Fiennes, making Wake a cousin of Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March. Joan de Fiennes also descended from Emperor Jean de Brienne and Berengaria of León, herself the granddaughter of Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile.
Margaret married John Comyn (c. 1294-1314) around 1312, son of the John Comyn who was murdered by Robert the Bruce in 1306. Her husband John died at the Battle of Bannockburn, and their only child, Aymer Comyn (1314–1316) died as a toddler. She was married for a second time, to Edmund of Woodstock, 1st Earl of Kent. They received a dispensation in October 1325, and the wedding probably took place at Christmas.

Through her marriage to Edmund of Woodstock (who was executed for treason in 1330), she was the mother of two short-lived Earls of Kent, of Margaret and Joan of Kent (wife of Edward, the Black Prince). The pregnant Margaret and her children were confined to Salisbury Castle, and her brother Thomas Wake, 2nd Baron Wake of Liddell was accused of treason but later pardoned. When King Edward III of England reached his majority and overthrew the regents, he took in Margaret and her children and treated them as his own family. Her third marriage was to John de Forbes in 1331, the year after her second husband died. 
She succeeded briefly as Baroness Wake of Liddell on September 29th 1349, but died during an outbreak of the plague that autumn. Shes recorded as being buried in Dunfermline Abbey, on 30th September 1349.  

 Margaret Wake

The execusion of Edmund of Woodstocks 

I have included this article about the events leading up to Edmond of Woodstock's execusion. 

Behold the head of a traitor - of the sad fate of Edmund of Woodstock
by Anna Belfrage

In March of 1330, a parliament was held at Winchester. As always since 1327, the young king Edward III officially presided, but the real power lay with his regents: his mother, Queen Isabella, and her favourite & purported lover, Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.

The men assembling in Winchester fell into two categories: those who supported the regents and those who didn’t. The king himself belonged among the latter, but as things stood, our seventeen-year-old king had no option but to smoulder and bear it—for now.

Among Mortimer’s more vociferous enemies were Henry of Lancaster, cousin to the king, and Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent and the king’s uncle. When the Winchester parliament opened, Edmund was not among those present. He was under arrest—for treason.

Edmund's coat of arms
Let us take a few steps back: Edmund of Woodstock was born in 1301, the second son in Edward I’s second marriage. As can be deduced from his name, he was born at the palace of Woodstock, and we can assume there was quite some rejoicing at his birth—Edward I now had three sons to safeguard his bloodline.

When Edward I died in 1307, Edmund’s half-brother, Edward II, became king. The age-gap between the new king and his much younger brothers was such that we can assume their relationship was somewhat distant—Edward was busy governing his kingdom and enjoying the freedom his new role brought with it and likely had little time for Edmund and his brother Thomas of Brotherton.

Edward I had made plans for his two younger sons, but had not followed through on them prior to dying. His intention had been to settle an earldom each on his sons, but early on in his reign Edward II decided to invest his beloved favourite Piers Gaveston with the earldom of Cornwall, which was one of the titles earmarked for his brothers. Edmund’s mother seethed, Edward likely shrugged—but as his brothers grew older he invested Thomas as Earl of Norfolk and granted Edmund sufficient land to keep the lad in style.

Edward II dining in splendid isolation

Where Thomas of Brotherton rarely emerges from the shadows in what documents we have, Edmund has left a substantial impression. He quickly proved himself a capable servant of his king, especially during those tumultuous years when Roger Mortimer and Thomas of Lancaster led the baronial revolt against Edward II in 1321-22. Edmund was in the thick of things—all the way from the initial conflict at Leeds Castle to the signing of the execution order for the captured Thomas of Lancaster.

The baronial rebellion was quashed, Mortimer was thrown in the Tower, and Edward was very pleased with his young brother, who emerged from the fray as the Earl of Kent and holder of substantial lands in the Welsh Marches. Our Edmund had every reason to be grateful to his royal brother—except, of course, that where Edmund got some land, Edward’s new favourite, Hugh Despenser, got much, much more land. In fact, so generous was the king to Hugh that he had an annual income almost four times higher than Edmund’s. Not something that pleased Edmund—or anyone else, to be honest, seeing as the English barons were getting very tired of the grasping Despenser. 

In the aftermath of the baronial rebellion, Edward II, together with his trusted advisors Bishop Stapledon and Hugh Despenser, implemented what is best described as a dictatorship. Anyone suspected of colluding with the rebels risked losing everything they had, including their lives. Their paranoia increased tenfold when Mortimer managed to escape from the Tower and flee to France. Suddenly, the baronial opposition had a leader again, and the more heavy-handed Edward II and Despenser became, the more attractive the option of joining Mortimer became.

Not only did Edward manage to aggravate his barons. He also alienated his wife when he deprived Queen Isabella of her dower lands. Isabella was closer in age to Edmund than to her husband, and seeing as she was drop-dead gorgeous and Edmund was just as mouth-wateringly handsome, I imagine these two shared a common admiration for each other. Besides, they were cousins, grandchildren to Philip III of France.

At the time, being French to any degree was not an advantage in England: yet again, England and France were at war, this time over Gascony. In 1324, Edmund was sent to France to attempt a diplomatic solution, and when that failed he was put in charge of defending Gascony, an almost impossible task seeing as Edmund lacked both men and means. But he did his best, holding out until late September of 1324 before he was forced to surrender and agree to a six-month truce.

Edmund chose to remain in France. Maybe he preferred not to face his brother’s wrath at having failed him in Gascony, or maybe he was sick and tired of dancing attendance of the royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Whatever the case, he was in France when Isabella arrived in March of 1325, charged by her husband with the delicate task of negotiating a permanent truce between him and his French counterpart, Charles IV.

How Isabella had managed to convince Edward to entrust her with this mission is unknown, but I suppose Isabella was smart enough to hide her anger and humiliation at being deprived of all her income while promising herself she would have revenge—some day. Whatever her feelings, she successfully negotiated a treaty with her brother Charles. All Edward II had to do was to come to France and do homage for his French lands and everything would be peachy-pie.

Edward of Windsor doing homage to Charles IV with his mama at his side
Except that Edward II didn’t want to come to France—or rather, Hugh Despenser didn’t want him to go, worried that the moment the king left the country, the baronage would rise in rebellion and kill poor Hugh. Probably a correct assessment of the sentiments of the time, and apparently Edward agreed. Instead of going himself, he sent his young son and heir, Edward of Windsor. Unwittingly, he had thereby handed Isabella the weapon with which to destroy him.

Young Edward came to France, young Edward did homage, young Edward did not go straight back home as instructed by his father. Instead, he stayed with his mother, who simply could not bear to let him go. Isabella had collected several disgruntled English noblemen as her admirers, including Edmund of Woodstock. I imagine there were already whispers of invasions, of doing something to oust that despicable Despenser. When Roger Mortimer rode in to present himself to Isabella, the invasion had found its leaders: the extremely capable and ruthless combo of Isabella and Mortimer.

Edmund would likely not have been entirely thrilled at seeing Mortimer rise so rapidly in Isabella’s favour. Mortimer would not have been delighted at coming face to face with the man who’d been rewarded with Mortimer land for his efforts in putting down the rebellion of 1321. For the moment, whatever differences they had were laid aside, and to reinforce this fragile truce Edmund married Margaret Wake, Mortimer’s first cousin. By doing so, he sent a clear signal to his half-brother that he’d changed his allegiance, and in March of 1326 Edward II retaliated by stripping Edmund of all his lands and titles. (As an aside, Edmund and Margaret were to have four children, one of whom is Joan of Kent, famous for her beauty and her somewhat complicated marital life)

Isabella leading the siege at Bristol

Mortimer’s and Isabella’s invasion of England was a resounding success. Soon enough, Hugh Despenser was dead and Edward II was locked up in Kenilworth, his son crowned as Edward III in his stead. Edmund expected to be part of the inner circle that guided his young nephew, but neither Isabella nor Mortimer were all that interested in sharing their power. This did not go down well with Edmund, who was also struggling with feelings of guilt related to his deposed brother. That guilt became a crushing burden when it was announced in 1327 that their former king, Edward of Caernarvon, had died while in captivity.

In 1328, Edmund joined Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion against the regents, demanding that Mortimer be set aside in favour of the true peers of the realm. Mortimer acted with speed and determination. Edmund, knowing just how efficient Mortimer could be, abandoned Lancaster’s cause and returned to the royal fold just before Lancaster’s final humiliation.

By now, Edmund had acquired the reputation of being a weather-vane: first he’d supported his royal brother, then he’d joined Mortimer and Isabella, then he’d thrown his lot in with Lancaster only to change his colours yet again when things got sticky. Not a man to count on, one could say, even if Edmund would probably have disagreed, protesting that he’d been driven into rebellion against his brother and king by the grasping and conniving Despenser.

Whatever his reputation, Edmund was concerned with other matters: there were rumours that his brother had not died but was still alive behind the thick walls of Corfe Castle. Disenchanted with Isabella’s and Mortimer’s continued rule, Edmund chose to investigate further. One little piece here, another there, and soon enough Edmund was convinced his brother was alive. If so, what better way to right the wrongs he’d done his brother than to spring him from his prison and help him retake his throne?

This was the plot Mortimer uncovered early in 1330, his agents presenting him with a letter Edmund’s wife had written on his behalf to the imprisoned king. (In itself interesting: does this mean Edmund did not know how to write or was it a matter of penmanship?) Being somewhat gullible, Edmund had handed the sealed missive to an intermediary who’d promised to smuggle it into Corfe and hand it to the unhappy erstwhile king. Instead, the rascal gave it to Mortimer, and so Edmund was arrested and brought before parliament where his confession was read out loud.

There was only one verdict: death. 

Appalled, Edmund threw himself on his nephew’s mercy, begging piteously for his life. He’d do anything—anything!—to prove his loyalty. He’d even walk all the way to London with a noose round his neck to atone for his actions. But there was nothing Edward III could do. Mortimer had seen to that, making it impossible for Edward to pardon his uncle without implicitly admitting there could be some truth in Edmund’s assertions that the former king was alive.

Whether or not Edward II was alive is, as per some historians, an open question. The men named as co-conspirators included several barons and bishops, men who would be in a position to know—and surely they’d not risk Mortimer’s displeasure for a dead man? We will never know, of course. It does, however, seem probable that Mortimer very much on purpose fed Edmund the little bits and pieces that convinced him his brother was alive, thereby luring the earl into treason. Ultimately, Mortimer’s behaviour in this matter would lead to his own death: the king, disgusted at having been duped into signing away his uncle’s life did not forgive. Or forget.

On a cold March morning in 1330, Edmund of Woodstock was led out to meet his maker. The executioner had done a runner, refusing to soil his hands with the blood of a man condemned for trying to help his brother. None of the assembled men-at-arms volunteered in his stead, neither did their captains. Poor Edmund shivered in only his shirt as the hours passed and no one was found willing to strike off his head. At long last, a condemned man undertook the task in exchange for a reprieve. The earl knelt. The axe fell. The severed head was held aloft, accompanied by the traditional cry of “behold the death of a traitor.” Usually, the crowd would cheer. This time, no one did. 


7864656. ALEXANDER DE FORBES was born in 1286 at Forbes Scotland and was  the only one of his family remaining He came to Scotland in the reign of Robert the Bruce, and his patrimonial inheritance of Forbes having been bestowed upon others, he obtained a grant of other lands instead. He married 1301 in Scotland. He was killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor, in 1332, fighting valiantly on the side of King David, the son of Bruce. .

3932328. John De Forbes

His wife is unknown

 The river Don running through Forbes lands

 The ruins of Urquart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness


15729312. SIR ALEXANDER DE FORBES,  was born in 1256  at  Forbes, Aberdeenshire He married  Margaret Lard in 1275 in Scotland. He was Governor of Urquhart Castle which he bravely defended for a long time, in 1304, against Edward the First of England, but on its surrender all within the castle were put to the sword, except Margaret his wife, who escaped to Ireland, and was there delivered of a posthumous son, 7864656. ALEXANDER DE FORBES


15729313. MARGARET LARD 

"One day the gate of the castle had opened and the English saw a beggar woman emerge, apparently involuntarily.  The tale she told was that she had happened to be inside the castle when the siege began, but that now, as provisions were running short, the garrison were no longer willing to feed a useless mouth and had driven her out.  The English believed this account and allowed her to pass." 


31458624. FERGUS DE FORBES born 1226. He received a charter from Alexander earl of Buchan, Fergusio, filio Johannis de Forbes" which was witnessed by William Cummin, the earl of Buchan's brother, and John Cummin, his eldest son, among others, about the year 1236; and of this Fergus all the Forbes's in Scotland are descended. He married in 1255 in Scotland and died in  1272 at Somme, Picardie, France. 

 31458625. Nothing is known about his wife. 

 menswear 13th century


62917248. John Forbes was born about 1176 in Forbes, Aberdeenshire. He died about 1214 in Forbes, Aberdeenshire.  

62917249. His wife and date of marriage is not known. 

John Forbes

31458624. Fergus de Forbes

womenswear 12th century


125834496. DUNCAN DE FORBES, Duncan "the Evil" de Forbes, Lord of Forbes son of Fergus de Forbes, succeeded about 1242.The first of the Family of Forbes of whom there is authentic record was Duncan de Forbes, who had a Charter by King Alexander III. of the lands of Forbes in 1272. 

125834497. Wife unknown

Duncan de Forbes

History of Castle Forbes Druminnor 

Druminnor was the stronghold of the Chiefs of Clan Forbes for over 500 years, from ‘times past the memory of man’ until 1770 when it was sold by the 16th Lord Forbes. Castle Forbes, as it was normally called, was the stage for much of the Forbes family’s history, witnessing their rise to a leading position in the province of Mar and their long decline, ground down in the great feud with the Gordons.

Until 1800 the castle buildings formed a courtyard, dominated by a massive square tower called the Old Tower, the oldest and most important part of the mediaeval castle. The surviving building was added to the Old Tower around 1440 to provide a much larger Hall and residential suite, and occupied one side of the courtyard. The other three sides and the Old Tower were demolished in 1800, and in 1841 the remaining building, i.e. the 1440 Hall block with its stairtower, was doubled in size and transformed into a modern country house. In 1960, the 1841 additions were demolished and the 1440 Hall block and stairtower were restored, forming the present house.

Druminnor has a busy building history. The Old Tower was probably built before 1300; the Hall block, ‘ye house of Drumynnour’, was added by Alexander 1st Lord Forbes about 1430-40. Over the next 570 years the castle has been constantly changing: it was attacked by the Gordons in 1449, sacked by the Douglas's in 1452, refortified in 1456, captured and partly demolished by the Gordons in 1571-3, substantially rebuilt in 1577, seized by the government in 1584, raided by Lord Forbes’s own sons in 1592, captured by Royalists and defended against Forbes attacks for two years in 1645-47, repaired and greatly remodelled in 1660-61, frequently attacked and damaged by Jacobites in 1689-90, besieged by Jacobites in 1746, partly burned by accident in the 1750s, three-quarters demolished in 1800, the remainder badly damaged by fire in 1804, doubled in size in 1841-3, altered in 1869, and finally halved in size again in 1960-66. Since 1966 it has been resting.

All but two of the 33 known owners of Druminnor were descendants of Duncan Lord of Forbeys & Kearn, the first Forbes on record. The origins of the Forbes family are obscure, but probably they were a branch of the Celtic royal dynasty which by 1150 had become Earls of Mar. When the last of the Celtic Earls of Mar died in 1373, the Lords of Forbes immediately took their place as hereditary leaders of the native people of Mar.

From the seven sons of Sir John ‘with the black lip’ (died 1406), all later Forbeses are descended. The eldest son, Alexander, was the most successful of all the Forbes chiefs. Over a long career as lord of Forbes (1406-49), he established himself as the dominant magnate of Mar, served as the principal Crown officer in the north-east, greatly increased his landholdings, married the King’s niece, added ‘ye house of Drumynnour’ to the ‘Old Tower’ of his forbears and was one of the earliest Lords of Parliament, probably from 1429. His successors were soon eclipsed by the explosive rise of the Gordons of Huntly, who by 1500 were unchallenged as the dominant magnates of the whole of northern Scotland. The Gordons strove unceasingly to force all the other powers of the north to accept their hegemony. The Forbeses refused to submit and for 200 years successive generations stubbornly resisted ferocious attacks by the Gordons.

The history of the Forbeses is dominated by the ups and downs of their famous feud with the Gordons. It was an unequal struggle: the Gordons, as the principal agents of the Crown in the government of the north, could call on the whole might of the state in pursuing their own objectives; while the Forbeses’ only asset was the tribal loyalty of the people of Mar. By 1600 the Gordons had succeeded in battering Lord Forbes into political insignificance, while Huntly had been made a Marquess. By 1700 Lord Forbes was bankrupt and dependant on a government pension and most of the Forbes territory had been sold: Huntly had become Duke of Gordon. At last in 1770 James 16th Lord Forbes paid off his inherited debts by selling half the Lordship of Forbes including Druminnor, the original Castle Forbes and headquarters of the clan. He migrated across the Braes of Forbes to the smaller (and unmortgaged) house of Putachie, which was rebuilt in 1815 and renamed ‘Castle Forbes’; the Lords Forbes have lived there ever since.

The new owner of Druminnor in 1770 was John Grant of Rothmaise. In 1800, his son Robert demolished the Old Tower and three sides of the courtyard. In 1841-3, Robert’s daughter & son-in-law added a large Jacobean-style wing, containing the main living rooms of ‘Druminnor House’ as it was now to be called. The Grants were lairds of Druminnor for six generations, until debt took them in their turn in 1954. The estates were split up, but Druminnor House was bought by a daughter of Craigievar, who thereby restored it to Forbes ownership after a gap of 184 years. In 1960-65 she demolished the Grant wing and restored what was left of the old Forbes castle.

In 1975, Druminnor was sold again. The new owner was yet another Forbes, this time of the Pitsligo & Monymusk branch. And so, despite a rich but punishing history, the Forbes family remains in possession of its oldest stronghold. Centuries before the first ‘gey’ Gordon came north to his new lordship of Strathbogie, the Lords of Forbes held the duchus of Forbes. Six hundred and thirty years later, the Gordons are no more than a memory in their proud lordship of Strathbogie: but a Forbes still holds the duchus of Forbes.

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