The surname of Forbes is said to be a corruption of Forebeast, which was originally assumed by the founder of the family in Scotland, to commemorate the achievement of having destroyed a ferocious bear, which had infested the country.
directly descended from the Hon Patrick Forbes, of Corse, third son of the 2nd Lord Forbes, of Scotland, and Egidia, his wife, daughter of William Keith, Earl Marischal of the same kingdom, settled in Ireland in 1620, and was made, by patent, dated at Dublin, in 1622, a free denizen of that kingdom.
In 1628, Sir Arthur was created a baronet; and having, by petition to the King, made discovery that several royal fishings in the province of Ulster belonged to the Crown, an inquiry was thereupon instituted, and Sir Arthur eventually rewarded by a grant of such proportion of the said fisheries as he thought proper to demand, besides the sum of £300 from the first profits of the remainder.
He had previously obtained extensive territorial possessions from the Crown, particularly a grant of sundry lands in County Longford, in all 1,266 acres, which were erected into the manor of Castle Forbes, with the usual manorial privileges.Sir Arthur wedded Jane Lowther, and falling in a duel at Hamburg, in 1632, where he had accompanied his regiment (he was lieutenant-colonel in the army) to assist Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, was succeeded by his eldest son,
THE RT HON SIR ARTHUR FORBES, 2nd Baronet (1623-96).
This gentleman, who zealously espoused the royal cause in Scotland, was rewarded, after the Restoration, by being sworn of the Privy Council in Ireland, and appointed marshal of the army in that kingdom.
In 1671, Sir Arthur was constituted one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, and again in 1675, when he was elevated to the peerage, as Baron Clanehugh and Viscount Granard.In 1684, his lordship was made Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Foot in Ireland, and lieutenant-general in the army; and in the same year was advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF GRANARD.
He married Catherine, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen Bt, by whom he had five sons and a daughter, Catherine, wedded to Arthur, 3rd Earl of Donegall.
His lordship died in 1695, he was succeeded by his eldest son,
ARTHUR, 2nd Earl, who wedded, in 1678, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir George Rawdon Bt, of Moira, County Down, and had three sons and two daughters.
His lordship dying in 1734, was succeeded by his only surviving son,
GEORGE, 3rd Earl (1685-1765), who had been called to the House of Lords in the lifetime of his father, as Lord Forbes.
His lordship was a naval officer of great eminence and rank, and at the time of his decease, was senior admiral of the Royal Navy. In 1733, he was appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to the court of Muscovy; and upon his recall, in 1734, was highly complimented by the Empress.He espoused, in 1709, Mary, eldest daughter of Sir William Stewart, 1st Viscount Mountjoy, of that family (now extinct), and widow of Phineas Preston, of Ardsallagh, County Meath, and had
GEORGE, his successor;The 3rd Earl died in 1765, and was succeeded by his elder son,
John, Admiral of the Fleet;
GEORGE, 4th Earl, a lieutenant-general in the Army, and colonel of the 29th Regiment of Foot.
His lordship wedded, in 1736, Letitia, daughter of Arthur Davys, and was succeeded at his decease, in 1769, by his only son,
GEORGE, 5th Earl, who married firstly, in 1759, Dorothea, second daughter of Sir Nicholas Bayley Bt, and sister of Henry, 1st Earl of Uxbridge, by whom he had one surviving son, GEORGE, his successor.
The heir apparent is the present holder's son Jonathan Peter Hastings Forbes, styled Viscount Forbes (b 1981).
It remains in the ownership of the family (as of 2008).
The 8th Earl was the last Lord-Lieutenant of County Longford, from 1916 until 1922.
CASTLE FORBES, near Newtownforbes, County Longford, is a 19th century castle of random ashlar, built about 1830.
It replaced an earlier house destroyed by fire.
It has two storeys over a high basement, with two adjoining fronts dominated by a lofty, round corner tower.
The house is prolonged by a low service wing and a gateway to the yard in the French style, with a high roof and conical-roofed turret and bartizan added about 1870.
Castle Forbes has heavy battlements and machiolations; lancet windows separated by stone mullions; and a few Early English tracery windows.
The Castle remains the private home of the Forbes family, Earls of Granard.
The village of Newtownforbes takes its name from the Forbes family, having resided in the region since 1691.
The village church, built in the late 17th century, is one of the few Regency buildings of its type in the county.
Castle Forbes has its entrance in the centre of the village.
The Forbes family changed the name of the village from Lisbrack to Newtownforbes ca 1750.
There is no public access to the Castle or grounds, which are strictly private.
Although Newtownforbes geographically has always been in the shadow of Castle Forbes, it cannot be regarded as an estate village.
There are only a few houses in the centre of the village, near the main entrance to the estate, which were built by the estate owners for the workers on the estate.
They were some of the first houses in the county to have flush toilets.
The present occupant is Lady Georgina Forbes, although she lives in France (as of 1990) and only uses the castle on a few occasions on visits during the year.
Lady Georgina is an accomplished horse breeder and owner.
First published in May, 2011. Granard arms courtesy of European Heraldry.