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George Forbes, 6th Earl of Granard (1760–1837)


Bernard Arthur William

Patrick Hastings Forbes,

8th Earl of Granard, KP, GCVO, PC (1874 –1948)

Earl of Granard: House of Forbes in Ireland

Dominating the landscape between Lough Forbes on the Shannon River and Newtownforbes in County Longford in the Republic of Ireland, is Castleforbes – the ancestral home of the Earls of Granard.


This noble branch of the Scottish House of Forbes was founded by Sir Arthur Forbes (1590 – 1632), son of William Forbes of Corse, first Baronet of Craigievar and a direct descendant of James Forbes, 2nd Lord Forbes. Around 1618, Sir Arthur married Janet Lauder Hamilton, daughter of Member of Parliament Maurice Lauder of Belhaven and West Barns and widow of Claud Hamilton of Creichness, Killach, and Clonwyn. Their eldest son, Arthur, was born in 1623.

This Irish House of Forbes was a direct result of the “Plantation of Ireland” due to English, Irish, and Scottish conflicts in the 17th century. Protestant Elizabeth I of England attempted to conquer largely Catholic Ireland, leading to the Nine Year’s War (1593 to 1603). In 1607, the leader of the resistance Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and many other powerful Irish chiefs departed for Spain, in the ultimately vain hope of gaining financial support from Catholic King Phillip III. This “Flight of the Earls” left a power vacuum that Elizabeth I and her successor James I (James VI of Scotland) attempted to fill by “planting” Protestant English and Scottish nobles in Ireland with large grants of land confiscated from the Irish Chiefs.


Sir Arthur Forbes served in the Master of Forbes' regiment in Ireland. For his service, Sir Arthur was granted in 1620 by "the commission of King James I., for planting the country," 1,268 acres in Counties Leitrim and Longford, including a barony called Castle Forbes. Sir Arthur became a naturalized Irishman, or as it was then called "a free denizen of the country," through a patent granted at Dublin, April 1st, 1622.

On September 26th, 1628, Sir Arthur Forbes was made a Baronet of Nova Scotia. In 1624, King James I (King James VI of Scotland) announced his intention of creating a new order of baronets in order to “plant” new colonies “between our Colonies of New England and Newfoundland, to be known as New Scotland.” His heir Charles I executed this plan to offer tracts of land “to all such principal knichts & esquires as will be pleased to be undertakers of the said plantations & who will promise to set forth 6 men, artificers or laborers, sufficiently armed, apparelled & victualled for 2 yrs.” In 1632, Charles I ceded the lands to Louis XIII of France and ordered the removal of the colony. However, the Order of Baronets continued. 

Always the adventurer, Sir Arthur went to Germany to fight under Gustavus Adolphus. Unfortunately, he was killed in a duel at Hamburg, April 14th, 1632. 

After the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, the younger Sir Arthur Forbes, 2nd Baronet, was given a commission in the King's Forces and, in 1670, appointed Privy Councillor of Ireland and Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Ireland. On September 23rd, 1675, he was created Baron Clanehugh and Viscount Granard in the Kingdom of Ireland. In 1680 he received additions to his estates. In 1684, King Charles II, bestowed the title of Earl of Granard. He died in 1696 at Castle Forbes and was buried in the family vault. The successive Earls of Granard continued their distinguished service. 

George Forbes, 3rd Earl of Granard PC (1685 – 1765) was a naval commander and diplomat. He was briefly Governor of the Leeward Islands and a member of the Privy Council (PC) of Ireland.

George Forbes, 4th Earl of Granard (1710 –1769) served as Quartermaster-General in Ireland from 1754 to 1757. He was lieutenant-colonel in the Tangier Regiment in 1756, then colonel of the 76th Regiment of Foot the same year. He was promoted to major-general in 1759, transferred to the colonelcy of the 29th Regiment of Foot in 1761, and was promoted lieutenant-general in 1765. He sat in the Irish House of Commons from 1749 until he succeeded to his father's seat in the Irish House of Lords in 1765. He was a Governor of County Longford from 1756 and Custos Rotulorum of Longford from 1765 until his death.


George Forbes, 6th Earl of Granard (1760–1837), was appointed a lieutenant-colonel in the army in  1794, and lieutenant-colonel commandant of the 108th foot. He became a colonel in the army in 1801, major-general in 1808, and lieutenant-general in 1813. He was made full general in July 1830.

George Arthur Hastings Forbes, 7th Earl of Granard KP (1833 –1889) was the grandson of the 6th Earl. Granard became the lieutenant-colonel commandant of the 9th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade, and was appointed honorary colonel of the Westmeath Militia in 1878. He was made a Knight of St Patrick in 1857. Granard was President of the British Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta from 1875 until his death, and was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Papal Order of St. Gregory the Great. 

Bernard Arthur William Patrick Hastings Forbes, 8th Earl of Granard, KP, GCVO, PC (1874 –1948) was appointed a Lord-in-waiting to Edward VII (government whip in the House of Lords) and Assistant Postmaster-General. He served with the 1st Battalion in the Second Boer War in South Africa from 1899 to 1902. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1901 and promoted to captain in 1905. In 1908 he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in the Post Office Rifles. In 1907 he was admitted to the Privy Council [and appointed Master of the Horse which he retained until 1915. Granard served as Vice-Admiral of Connaught, Lord Lieutenant of Longford, and he was made a Knight of the Order of St Patrick in 1909.

Arthur Patrick Hastings Forbes, 9th Earl of Granard AFC (1915 - 1992), was an air adviser for the Royal Air Force (RAF) during World War II and an adviser to the Minister of State for the Middle East. His decorations included the British Air Force Cross, the French Legion of Honor and the American Legion of Merit.

The current Earl of Granard is Peter Arthur Edward Hastings Forbes. The Earl was born in 1957 and resides in the family seat, Castleforbes.

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