The Forsyths were known to have lived
in most parts of Scotland since early times. The ancient name may have derived from
the gaelic first name, “Fearsithe? meaning man (or place) of peace. A Fauside is
recorded in 1296 as having sworn allegiance to Edward I by signing the ‘Ragman Rolls?
However at the time of Robert the Bruce the Forsyths fought in the war of independence
which resulted in them receiving lands in Stirlingshire. Some members of the clan
were also made members of the Scottish Royal Household. In 1368, a member of the
clan was made Constable of Stirling castle and subsequently became established in
the town, holding other civic posts over the generations. Other members of the family
became established in Lanarkshire, Glasgow and Ayrshire during the 15th century.
Forsyth castle at Dykes in Lanarkshire survived into the early 19th century.
In 1365, a Forsyth was recorded as being a baillie in Edinburgh. A member of the
clan married the great-granddaughter of James III and acquired lands around Falkland
Palace where he was the king’s ‘macer? The present chief is descended from this
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The Reverend Alexander Forsyth invented the percussion cap which replaced the flintlock,
in the 18th century. In 1784 William Forsyth was appointed Chief Superintendent
of the Royal Gardens at Kensington and St. James?Palace. During the 1600’s ancient
records of the clan were lost during war. Later in the same century Charles II required
clans to register in a public register and the chief at that time failed to do so.
It was not until 1978 that the Lord Lyon recognised the clan as one of the oldest
in Scotland and Alistair Forsyth as the chief.