ALLESTRY, William (by 1520-96/98), of Alvaston and Derby.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Constituency

Dates

1542
1545
Mar. 1553
Apr. 1554
1555

Family and Education

b. by 1520. m. Ellen, 6s. 3da.1

Offices Held

Bailiff, Derby 1541-2, 1549-50, 1558-9, 1566-7, 1578-9.2

Biography

The old Derbyshire family of Allestry took its name from the village of Allestree, two miles north of Derby, and later held land at Turnditch, Alvaston and Walton-upon-Trent. A well-to-do family of the same name was prominent in the civic life of Nottingham during the 15th and early 16th centuries, but in the absence of pedigrees a connexion between the two, though probable, is not established.3

On his first known return to Parliament in 1542 William Allestry was described as an innholder, but when re-elected in 1545 he was to be called yeoman. He is almost certainly to be identified with the bailiff of Derby in 1541, whose election to this office in that year and subsequent prominence in the town’s affairs made him a natural choice at a time when the borough was clinging to its parliamentary independence. As a Member of five out of the nine Parliaments summoned between 1542 and 1555 he was its most regular representative during these years, and if he was passed over from time to time this may have been rather out of respect for convention than in accordance with shifts of outlook. The sole clue to his attitude to the policy changes of his day is the negative one that in the Parliament of 1555, the last in which he sat, he did not follow the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing one of the government’s bills.4

In matters secular Allestry was not immune from controversy. In September 1542, during his first term as bailiff, he testified before the Privy Council in a case of horse-stealing in Derby: his slight answers to the Council’s questions, and his failure to deliver its summons to a suspect in the affair, were found unsatisfactory and he was ordered to return home and to bring the suspect back with him by 13 Oct. under a recognizance of 100 marks. Three years later he was involved in a more serious episode. This arose out of discontent over what appeared to be the growing practice by the bailiffs and burgesses of allowing enclosures of land formerly used as common pasture. The presentation to the assembly by one John Sharpe and his adherents of suggested articles of reform, which combined a demand that all such land should be thrown open with an attack on the bailiffs and recorder, stung Allestry, whose own enclosure was threatened, into lodging a complaint against Sharpe in the Star Chamber. He depicted a conspiracy verging on rebellion, and the seve