FOX, Thomas, of Nottingham.
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Family and Education
Mayor, Nottingham Mich. 1406-7.2
The Fox family were living in Nottingham by 1380.3 Thomas may have been the son of John Fox, whose occupation as a manufacturer of woollen cloth he also adopted: he was assessed for alnage in 1392-5 and 1401-5 for as many as 59 ‘dozens’.4 A burgess by 1395, Fox frequently appeared as a defendant in the borough courts: on 6 Oct. that year he was charged with blocking Pepper Street with ordure and failing to repair his cellar which, in the same street, had been broken open; more seriously, two days later the constables of Bridlesmith Gate alleged that Fox had brandished an axe and wielded a club at John Hodings*, and when Fox countered with a plea of unjust presentment, claiming that they had acted ‘out of their own ill-will and motive’, he lost his case. Then, along with a Welshman, he was indicted before the Nottinghamshire j.p.s in January 1396 for assaulting a local man the previous November. In October of the same year Fox claimed in the borough court that a tenant of his, John Fisher, had attacked him when collecting rents, but Fisher countered that Fox and his servant had chased him with drawn daggers through the house as far as his bedroom and would have killed him had not neighbours come to his rescue, and that the landlord had then assaulted his son. Fisher claimed damages of £5.5
Such misdoings were, of course, ancient history by the time Fox was elected to the Parliament of 1406, and hindered neither that election nor his appointment as mayor shortly before the opening of the final session on 13 Oct. Nevertheless, soon after the end of his official term in the mayoralty he was accused of leaving dung under the wall of the Franciscans’ house in Nottingham; and in December 1410 the parson of Plumtree alleged that the cloth sold to him by Fox the previous August in return for a quarter of corn had not been ‘good scarlet’ as agreed but only a poor quality red. Surprisingly, on this occasion the jury found him not guilty.6 In September 1413 and March 1414 he served on the juries giving evidence about riots in the town and the identity of local lollards, and in June he was distrained to do likewise, but not empannelled, before the royal commissioners investigating crime in the area. He was still alive in 1418.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Not the Nottingham mason of this name (Nottingham Bor. Recs. ed. Stevenson, i. 297), for Fox was described as ‘draper’ on the return (C219/10/3).
- 2. CCR, 1409-13, p. 216; Nottingham Univ. Lib. Middleton ms, D785. (Not listed in Nottingham Bor. Recs. ii. 427).
- 3. Nottingham Bor. Recs. i. 219, 239, 253, 287.
- 4. E101/343/21, 346/9.
- 5. Nottingham Bor. Recs. i. 280, 285, 293-4, 309-11, 299, 325; B.H. Putnam, Procs. J.Ps., 134-5.
- 6. Nottingham Bor. Recs. ii. 43, 71.
- 7. KB9/204/1 m. 29; 2 m. 21; CPR, 1416-22, p. 155; C145/292/25.