FOSTER (FORESTER), John I (by 1508-47/51), of Wellington, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1508, s. of John Foster of Wellington by Anne, da. of Thomas Banester of Hadnall. m. (1) Alice, da. of Thomas Charlton of Apley Castle, 1da.; (2) Isabel, da. of William Lister of Rowton, 2s.1

Offices Held

Escheator, Salop 1532-3.


The line of hereditary foresters of Wellington Hay on the slopes of the Wrekin can be traced back to the early 13th century. John Foster may never have held the forestership himself, although some of his descendants were to do so. He was almost certainly a younger son and his early prospects cannot have been bright, for in addition to his elder brother Richard there was a senior branch of the family between him and its headship. Successive failures in issue during the course of the 16th century, however, improved his prospects and his local standing. By trade he was either a patten-maker or a mercer, and he had business connexions with London. Several of his kinsmen held minor offices in the royal household, but he is to be distinguished from the John Foster, ‘gentleman of Wellington’, whose career can be traced in the Household between 1509 and 1520 and who died on 17 Oct. 1521, leaving as his heir a nine year-old boy who later entered the service of Prince Edward.2

When he was returned by Much Wenlock to the Parliament of 1529, Foster may have been living at nearby Easthope, as at some time did his son John, who was to be admitted in 1531 to the freedom of the borough. His election perhaps owed something to the prior of Wenlock abbey, for he was an annuitant of several other religious houses in South Shropshire and a kinsman of William Charlton who held several stewardships from the abbey. Through the Charltons he was also linked with a local magnate, Edward, 2nd Lord Dudley, whose influence on the elections of 1529 can be discerned elsewhere, and as he took precedence over his fellow-Member Edward Hall I, it may have been he who introduced Hall at Wenlock. Nothing has come to light about Foster’s role in this Parliament, but in 1532 he received his only known appointment, the escheatorship of the county, and two years later he subscribed to the oath of supremacy. Presumably he represented Wenlock again in the Parliament of 1536, when the King asked for the re-election of the previous Members, and he may have done so once more in 1539, a Parliament for which the names of the borough’s Members are lost.3

Foster was a sick man when on 27 June 1543 he made his will at Wellington, providing for his wife and children, and appointing as overseers William Charlton and Adam Waring of Shrewsbury. From this illness he recovered, and later he petitioned in Chancery against Thomas Charlton for withholding a lease granted to him in April 1547. Foster was dead by 30 Sept. 1551 when his will was proved at Lichfield. His grandson Thomas was to sit for Wenlock in one of Mary’s Parliaments, but it was not until the mid 17th century that his descendants (who reverted to the original form o??? the family name) achieved the supremacy in the borough which they enjoyed for over 200 years.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Alan Harding


  • 1. Presumed to be of age at election. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), iii. 160-3; Vis. Salop (Harl. Soc. xxviii), 186-8; Lichfield consist. ct. 1551.
  • 2. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 2), iii. 160-3; LP Hen. VIII, i-iii; E150/846/6; C1/797/57, 1299/39-41.
  • 3. Much Wenlock min. bk. f. 79; LP Hen. VIII, iv-vii.
  • 4. Lichfield consist. ct. 1551; C1/1220/27.