ALESTRE, John (d.1431), of Nottingham.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Nottingham Mich. 1402-3; mayor 1409-10, 1414-15, 1420-1, 1426-7, 1430-d.1
Commr. of inquiry, Notts. Jan. 1424 (liability to contribute to repairs of the bridges at Nottingham over the Leen).
Like his father, early in his career John was an ironmonger, as such being admitted and sworn as a burgess of Nottingham in the winter of 1395-6, on payment of a fee of 6s.8d. Similarly, too, he was engaged between 1402 and 1405 in the manufacture of cloth, assiduously building on the foundations laid by Nicholas Alestre to become a wealthy merchant of far greater stature.2 Alestre was involved in a number of property transactions, which he was careful to have enrolled in the borough court. From 1404 he held houses in Hounds Gate, and later he enjoyed possession of rents from Long Row, a messuage on ‘Great Smith Street’ (now Pelham Street), and a curtilage near the Saturday Market, as well as lands outside the town called ‘Whiston Wonge’ and in ‘Lingdalefeld’.3
Alestre was chosen mayor for no fewer than five terms, during the third of which (1420-1) he represented Nottingham in Parliament for the second time. He was evidently both popular and competent, for at Michaelmas 1412 rioting townsmen had sought his election as mayor instead of Henry Wilford, and in the spring of 1414 the then mayor named him as an alternative to Henry Preston I*, so that he might act as attorney on behalf of the town in order to protect its liberties at the royal assizes.4 He attended the borough elections of 1411, 1426 (standing surety for William Burton II*), 1427 (acting likewise for Thomas Poge*), 1429 and 1431 (as mayor).5 Naturally, Alestre was often called upon to witness local conveyances, and in 1414 he became a feoffee of the property of Thomas Mapperley*.6
Alestre made his will on 20 Apr. 1422. The monetary provisions show him to have been a wealthy man, for they totalled more than £615, and included £100 in silver to be distributed among the poor, 200 marks to his widow, 100 marks each to his children Thomas, Robert (when they reached their majority), and Joan (when she was 15), £20 to his daughter Emma and her husband, John Leek, and £2 to each of four grandchildren. Among the various bequests to local churches was one of 150 marks for three chaplains to celebrate for seven years in the chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist and St. Anne in St. Mary’s church, where Alestre was to be buried. Indicative of the scope of his mercantile dealings were his legacies to the churches of Rotherham and Sheffield. The supervisor of the will was Alestre’s friend, Ralph Mackerell*, esquire, one of the Nottinghamshire j.p.s. who, within a fortnight after the drafting of the will, was appointed sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire for the third term. Alestre lived on for nearly nine years more. He died between January 1431 and the date of probate at York, some three months later, being in office as mayor at the time.7 His son Thomas, who followed in his footsteps, exported wool from Kingston-upon-Hull and became one of the foremost members of the Calais Staple.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Nottingham Recs. ed. Stevenson, ii. 426-9.
- 2. Nottingham Recs. i. 284; E101/343/21; CPR, 1416-22, p. 20.
- 3. Nottingham Archs. ct. rolls, 1301 m. 11d; 1304 m. 9; 1307 m. 25d; 1308 mm. 18d, 21d.
- 4. JUST 1/1524 m. 12; CIMisc. vii. 469.
- 5. C219/10/6, 13/4, 5, 14/1, 2.
- 6. Nottingham Recs. ii. 15, 95, 117; Nottingham Univ. Middleton ms, D792; C146/6434; Nottingham Archs. ct. roll 1308 m. 15d.
- 7. Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills, ii. f. 644; Trans. Thoroton Soc. xxi. 55.
- 8. Thomas, who married one of the daughters of Richard Samon*, was five times mayor of Nottingham like his father, and MP in 1442, 1449 and 1467.