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Sir William Forbes

(William Forbes of Callendar)

1743 - 1815

'Copperbottom Forbes'. Born in Aberdeen, the second son of a coppersmith, Forbes joined the family business. He went to London, where he gained a lucrative contract from the British Navy to protect the hulls of its ships with copper, and went on the make a fortune through a succession of similar contracts. Forbes invested his money in land, buying estates which had been forfeited to the government following the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745. His principal estate was Callendar Park in Falkirk and he split his time between Callendar House, which he extended and improved, and London. However, he also bought significant tracts of land in Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. His first wife died childless in 1793 and Forbes retired from business the following year to concentrate on managing his estates. He remarried in 1806 and that union gave rise to two sons and three daughters. His eldest son, another William Forbes (1806-55), became the local Member of Parliament.

He is interred in the Forbes Mausoleum in Callendar Park.

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