ALMER (AYLMER), Edward (by 1516-74 or later), of Denbigh and Gresford, Denb.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
b. by 1516, 2nd s. of John Almer of Almer by Catherine, da. of Philip Egerton of Egerton, Cheshire. m. Dorothy, da. of Sir George Calverley of Lea, Cheshire, wid. of Robert Bostock of Churton, Cheshire, 5s. inc. William† 3da.1
Dep. receiver, lordship of Bromfield and Yale, Salop 1537, dep. steward there and in Chirkland 1539, high steward, Bromfield and Yale temp. Edw. VI; j.p.q. Denb. 1543-d.; commr. subsidy 1544, 1547, 1559, relief 1550; sheriff 1552-3, 1557-8, 1570-1.2
Its English name notwithstanding, the Almer family was of ancient Welsh descent, tracing its pedigree back to Ithel ab Eunydd in the 11th century: it was Edward Almer’s grandfather John who had adopted the name of his residence in Denbighshire. A partisan of Henry Tudor, he had been made one of the marshals of the hall to that King, and both his sons, John Almer, Edward’s father, and William Almer, became yeomen of the crown under Henry VII and serjeants-at-arms under Henry VIII. By contrast, Edward Almer is not found at court, nor did he share in the inheritance. The first trace of him is as a crown official in the royal lordship of Bromfield and Yale; there has survived from 1537 one of his accounts as deputy to Sir George Cotton and Sir Thomas Seymour II, the King’s receivers there. Two years later Almer appears as the deputy steward of this lordship, when he had to take charge of the musters.3
It appears that Almer had a standing enemy in one William Boras. Towards the end of Henry VIII’s reign Boras and three others brought a case in Chancery against Almer over his conduct as deputy steward of Bromfield and Yale. Boras alleged that immediately after the death of Sir George Cotton, Almer removed glass and other items to the value of more than £20 from Holt castle for his own use: Boras added various other charges including unlawful felling of trees and concealment of fines. In his comprehensive denial Almer maintained that what Boras had seen was not stolen property but Almer’s own, for ‘at the time of the dissolution of the late monastery of Combermere in Cheshire, the said defendant did buy certain lead about the quantity of one foot and a half or thereabout of Sir George Cotton knight’, together with ‘25 foot of glass’ which had come from Valle Crucis abbey in Denbighshire; these Almer had stored at Holt castle until its removal to his home at Gresford.4
Boras and his associates also campaigned against Almer as a candidate for the shrievalty. It was probably in 1542, when Almer’s was one of the names submitted, that they petitioned through the court of requests for the King not to prick him. In their submission he was unfit for the office because of ‘heinous actions and other offenses by him lately committed as well against your Majesty as also against other of your grace’s subjects in those parts’ and if he were chosen ‘your Majesty shall not only lose thereby ... but also your said subjects sustain thereby great prejudice and hindrance, for then he shall be so borne within the shire as your orators shall not be able to prove their complaint exhibited against him’. Whether or not their representations were heeded, they had the satisfaction of seeing Almer passed over. He was not to become sheriff until the last year of Edward VI’s reign, although he had been named to the first commission of the peace for the shire in 1543.5
Another chancery case in which Almer was the defendant dates from between 1538 and 1544. It was brought by John Almer, probably his elder brother, although no relationship is mentioned in the bill, which alone remains. The dispute was over the jointure and dower of Edward Almer’s mother, of which certain lands in Almer and Allington had gone to him by arbitration. On the ground that the verdict of the arbitrators, who were by this time all dead, had been wrongly engrossed John Almer had refused to comply with it, and for not making the payments awarded he had been found guilty in the court of Holt and put into the castle gaol, where he had remained for about 18 months before filing his bill against Edward Almer. If they were brothers, Edward Almer seems to have behaved inexcusably.6
During his first term as sheriff Almer had to proclaim the successor to Edward VI: how he dealt with this problem does not transpire, but after Mary’s accession he took the precaution of suing out a general pardon. He was then described as of Denbigh, but on the similar pardon issued in 1559 he appears as of Gresford. Retained on the commission of the peace, and given a second term as sheriff in 1557, he seems to have accommodated himself without difficulty to successive changes of regime. His single spell in the Commons as knight of the shire has left no trace for he was not among the Members who in 1555 followed the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing a government bill.7
Almer remained active in the affairs of his shire for the first dozen years of Elizabeth’s reign, but after his third year as sheriff in 1570-1 he is lost sight of there. In the Denbighshire muster roll of June 1570 he was listed as able to furnish one light horseman, thus ranking with the other leading gentlemen of the shire. In 1574 an agent of Mary, Queen of Scots, regarded Almer as a Catholic, but whatever Almer’s religious views were they did not damage his position in either state or society. He was an ‘establishment man’, friendly with both the Salusburys of Lleweni and with the Pulestons of Barsham: as sheriff he twice returned Robert Puleston to Parliament. The allusion of 1574 is the last reference found to him.8
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: P. S. Edwards
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Dwnn, Vis. Wales , ii. 355; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 59; J. Y. W. Lloyd, Powys Fadog, iii. 217-18; Ormerod, Cheshire, ii. 769.
- 2. SC6/Hen. VIII, 5083/1-15; C1/1359/35-36; 193/12/1; CPR, 1553, p. 363; 1506-3, p. 446; 1563-6, p. 30; E179/220/166, 169; SP11/5/6.
- 3. Lloyd, loc. cit.; DWB errs on fam. hist.; CPR, 1485-94, p. 85; LP Hen. VIII, i, ii, xiv; SC6/Hen. VIII 5083/1-14.
- 4. C1/1108/25-27.
- 5. C193/12/1; LP Hen. VIII, xvii; Req.2/11/110.
- 6. C1/939/14.
- 7. CPR, 1553-4, p. 430; 1558-60, p. 197.
- 8. A. N. Palmer, Old Par. Wrexham, 174-5; R. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 75; SP12/99/55; Cath. Rec. Soc. xiii. 109.