ALMER, William, of Pant Iocyn, Denb.
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Family and Education
1st s. of Edward Almer† of Gresford by Dorothy, da. of Sir George Calverley of Lea, Cheshire, wid. of Robert Bostock of Churton, Cheshire; half-bro. of Lancelot Bostock. m. Elen, da. of Piers Puleston of Hafod y Wern, Wrexham, 1da. suc. fa. aft. 1574.1
J.p.q. Denb. 1562, sheriff 1586-7, commr. musters 1580, dep. lt. 1587.2
Almer’s great-grandfather was the first of a long-established family to adopt as surname the name of his place of residence. Between 1554 and 1558, however, the seat at Almer was demolished, and the materials used to build a new house, Pant Iocyn, in the same parish. Almer himself added to the family estates in 1575 by securing, from the court of augmentations, extensive leases of land in Wrexham, Gresford and neighbouring townships.3
Although an important man in East Denbighshire, Almer only once succeeded in being elected for the county, in 1572, before he had succeeded to his estates. He sat on committees for setting the poor to work (11 Feb. 1576), fines and common recoveries (7 Mar. 1576) and for the subsidy (25 Jan. 1581). He was employed locally as captain of 100 men at the Denbighshire musters of 1577, and in the same year as a commissioner to inquire into abuses in the Chester customs. However, as deputy lieutenant from 1587 he antagonised several leading east Denbighshire families to the point of being at feud with the Breretons of Borras, the Edwardses of Chirk and the Trevors of Trevalun. In 1588 he stood for the county election with the backing of the Salusburys of Lleweni, a family equally resented in east Denbighshire circles. Unsurprisingly therefore, Almer was opposed by John Edwards II of Chirk, chosen as parliamentary candidate by what now amounted to an anti-Almer-Lleweni faction. Almer’s supporters at the election were without doubt numerically superior to those of his opponent, but his enemies had as allies both the sheriff, Owen Brereton, and Roger Puleston II, whose influence was paramount at Wrexham where the election was held. By unscrupulous rigging, Almer was defeated but he refused to let the matter drop, pursuing it to Star Chamber and serving a subpoena on Puleston. Since Puleston was himself representing Flintshire in Parliament at the time, this constituted a breach of privilege as he pointed out in the House on 12 Feb. 1589. Almer made a speech at the bar in answer, and then both men were sequestered the House. Thereupon it was resolved:
partly withal for the good opinion that many Members of this House did conceive of the said Mr. Aylmer, being oftentimes heretofore a Member of this House and an honest and grave gentleman [that] ... Mr. Aylmer should then give his attendance upon the same committees, and presently withal be left to his own liberty, free from any custody or restraint of the serjeant of this House ... [and] to surcease his said suit and proceeding against the said Mr. Puleston in the mean time.
When the committee reported on 19 Feb. Almer was found to have committed a breach of privilege, but he was let off, ‘paying only the serjeant’s fees’ whereupon he ‘departed and went his way’. Almer now brought charges of assault against relatives and servants of Brereton, who counter-charged Almer and his half-brother Bostock, with inciting attacks on Trevor and others, and with brawls in Holt parish church. The sheriff’s conduct at the notorious election made matter for another Star Chamber suit. In 1591 Sir Richard Trevor, in a suit against Almer’s kinsman, John Puleston of Hafod y Wern, and others, accused Almer of misusing his position as justice in the interests of his family.4
Almer died between 1597 and 1602, when Pant Iocyn was in the possession of Gilbert Gerard, who had married Almer’s daughter Jane.
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. Dwnn, Vis. Wales, ii. 355; Vis. Cheshire (Harl. Soc. xviii), 59; St. Ch. 5/T10/32, H22/3; J. Y. W. Lloyd, Powys Fadog , iii. 217-18; A. N. Palmer, Thirteen Country Townships of Wrexham, 174-5.
- 2. Flenley, Cal. Reg. Council, Marches of Wales, 133, 200-1, 205, 212; HMC Foljambe, 26.
- 3. DWB; Augmentations ed. Lewis and Davies (Univ. Wales Bd. of Celtic Studies, Hist. and Law ser. xiii), 328-9.
- 4. D’Ewes, 247, 253, 288, 431-2, 434-5; Flenley, 200-1, 205; Lansd. 25, f. 10; C. Brown, Poems of Sir John Salusbury and Robert Chester, xiv; Neale, Commons, 112-18; EHR, xlvi. 212-19; lix. 355-6; St. Ch. 5/A22/30, H22/3, A39/12, 01/29, T10/32.