John FORREST (1841-1910)

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John FORREST was born on 2nd February 1841 in Cape Town, South Africa[1]. He was the second child of John FORREST and Ann MCLACHLAN.

John attended the Crescent Academy boarding school, Bay View, Conchan, Isle of Man[2] which was described as a “first class boarding-school for the sons of gentlemen”. He attended the school alongside his second cousin David James FORREST who was one year younger.

John became a Magistrate (Justice of the Peace), however his earlier occupations are unknown, as he is described only as a "Gentleman" in census and marriage records. It is known he travelled abroad, as he is described in his father's will as being in Java[3].

In Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, he married on 14th July 1873, Eveline RODGER, the fourth daughter of John Graham RODGER and Eliza Macintosh HORROCKS born on 26th September 1850 at Shield Hall in Govan, Scotland, [4]. At the time John was living at No. 2 Kilchberg Villas and Eveline at her father's house at No. 1 College Lawn[5].

Fatal Fete

Grymsdyke Manor, Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire

John was the President of the Lacey Green Cottage Garden Society. The first ever show of the Society was held in the grounds of Grymsdyke Manor, at his invitation, on Monday 27th July 1891. The day dawned rather wet and gloomy. During the morning preparations were in progress in the large marquee which had been erected. The judging of fruits, flowers, vegetables, lace and beadwork was completed and prizes awarded. These were to be presented later in the day by Lady Buckinghamshire.

By early afternoon, when the show opened, the weather had brightened. The various side shows, including a beekeeping demonstration, were ready. Speen Band was in attendance, and a cricket match in progress. Around mid afternoon dark clouds began to gather and there was a shower, not heavy, but enough to stop the cricket match. The players and others took shelter under a large cherry tree.

Suddenly, without warning, there was a vivid flash of lightning, followed by a terrific clap of thunder and torrential rain. About twelve people where felled to the ground by the lightning. The whole event was thrown into utter confusion, women and children running about screaming and crying. Within minutes it was discovered that three men had been rendered unconscious and three more killed outright. After twenty minutes the heavy rain ceased.

As a mark of respect the whole event was abandoned.[6].

Family

John and Eveline had four sons together:

i. John Graham FORREST, born on 20th April 1875 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire[7].
ii. Charles Evelyn FORREST, born on 21st August 1876 in Lacey Green, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire[8].
iii.George Francis FORREST, born on 11th August 1877 in Longdon, Worcestershire[9].
iv. Guy Archibald FORREST, born on 24th June 1879 in Lacey Green, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire[10].

Records for the above births and accompaning census records show that John and his family lived in a large property with five servants called 'Rivershill' in Cheltenham[11] before moving to Eveline's father's house at No.1 College Lawn also with five servants[12]. In 1901 they were recorded living at Grymsdyke Manor with six servants in Lacey Green, Buckinghamshire[13].


Obituary

John died on 21st March 1910[14][15], his obituary in the Bucks Free Herald read as follows:

“It is with much regret we have to record the death of Mr. John Forrest, of Grymsdyke, Lacey Green, who passed away at Cheltenham, on Monday morning, after a protracted illness, at the age of 69 years. The late Mr. Forrest was a large landowner and a highly-esteemed resident of the village, where he had lived for over 30 years. He was greatly interested in the welfare of Lacey Green and district, and his establishment of the Cottage Garden Association, of which he was the President for many years, was only one of the many evidences of this. He was a staunch Conservative and Unionist, and a convinced Tariff Reformer. He was for many years President of the Princes Risborough Branch of the Mid Bucks Conservative and Unionist Association – a post he resigned about two years ago – and, in addition, he was the Ruling Councillor of the Lacey Green Habitation of the Primrose League for a long period. The late Mr. John Forrest, amongst other public offices, held that of Justice of the Peace for Bucks, and Chairman of the Princes Risborough Bench. The deceased gentleman had another estate at Pegglesworth, Cheltenham, but lived most of his time at Lacey Green. He not only took a great interest in the community amongst which he lived, but was a good and considerate employer.”[16]

John was buried alongside his wife in Lacey Green churchyard, Buckinghamshire[17].

References

  1. Gravestone of John and Eveline Forrest, Lacey Green
  2. Public Record Office, Isle of Man Census, PRO Ref. HO 107/2525/50
  3. Last Will and Testament of Dr John Forrest (1865) Ref SC70/6/4 non-Scottish Court
  4. Old Parochial Register, Births, Govan, OPR Ref. 646/0030 0121
  5. General Register Office, Marriages, Cheltenham, GRO Ref. 1873/Q3/6A/755
  6. Bucks Free Herald (1st Aug 1891)
  7. General Register Office, Births, Cheltenham, GRO Ref. 1875/Q2/6A/437
  8. General Register Office, Births, Wycombe, GRO Ref. 1876/Q3/3A/534
  9. General Register Office, Births, Upton, GRO Ref. 1877/Q3/6C/334
  10. General Register Office, Births, Wycombe, GRO Ref. 1879/Q2/3A/562
  11. Public Record Office, England Census, PRO Ref. RG11/2574/23/9
  12. Public Record Office, England Census, PRO Ref. RG12/2048/121/2
  13. Public Record Office, England Census, PRO Ref. RG13/1352/29/20
  14. General Register Office, Deaths, Cheltenham, GRO Ref. 1910/Q1/6A/293
  15. Last Will and Testament and Codicil of John Forrest (6th May 1910)
  16. Bucks Free Herald – Obituaries (26th Mar 1910)
  17. Gravestone of John and Eveline Forrest, Lacey Green