The original derivation of the Clan Forsyth name is unknown. However, if it were to have been of Celtic origin, it is likely that it would have been derived from the name ‘fear Sithe’, meaning ‘man of peace’. Another potential origin of the name could also be traced back to Norman heritage and to the Norseman, ‘Forsach’, a man who was known to be amongst Norse settlers on the lands of the River Dordogne in Southern France before one of his descendants accompanied Eleanor of Provence, the Queen Consort of Henry III, to England in the 12th century.
It is from there that the family are believed to have moved north after being granted lands in Northumberland before proceeding to settle in and around the Scottish Borders.
The first mention of the Forsyth name appears to have been on the infamous Ragman Roll in 1296 – a document in which the Scottish nobility and gentry subscribed allegiance to King Edward I of England as his army advanced north into the country in order to keep their lands. However, the family would later pledge their allegiance to the Warrior King, Robert the Bruce, and Osbert de Forsyth, the head of the family who would fight alongside Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn, would be rewarded for his loyalty with the lands of Sauchie in Stirlingshire.
The clan would go on to become very influential in the Stirling area until 1672 when the clan chief refused to attend a public register of the clans instituted by Charles II. Following this, the clan would be stripped of its recognition and the chief was forced to give up his legal title. It would not be until 300 years later on St Andrew’s day 1978 that this problem would be resolved and the Lord Lyon would allow Alistair Forsyth, the Baron of Ethie, to become the clan chief and finally reinstate the Forsyth name.