Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


James Almont (c.1540–1592)

Mayor of Oxford 1588/9

James Almont (or Aldman/Alman/Almand/Almon/Almonte/Almote/Almount/Allmon/Almond) was a woollen draper, whose shop occupied a tenement of All Souls College in All Saints parish. He was admitted free as a Hanaster in the mayoral year 1563/4.

In April 1568 he contributed 2s 6d in the north-east ward towards the money gathered for the Lottery, and on 29 Septmeber 1568 he came on to the Common Council.

He took on four apprentice woollen drapers between 1570 and 1584: Thomas Gresse of Lancashire (29 September 1570); Richard Plumpton of Lancashire (23 May 1572); John Gregory of Bristol (29 September 1578); and William Potter of Lancashire (4 July 1584).

Almost was appointed a Bailiff in September 1572 and a Steward for the Election Dinner in September 1575. On 14 December 1576 he appears in a list of people who refused to swear the oath to observe the privileges of the University.

In November 1577 Almost was appointed a collector of money towards in the north-east ward towards the ringing of the common bell.

On 11 April 1581 Almont was chosen one of the six Associates to make up the Thirteen with the Mayor and Aldermen.

On 5 October 1582 Almont contributed 3s 3d towards a collection to build a house at the gate of Port Meadow.

James Almost was married to Ursula Taylor, the son of another Oxford Mayor Roger Taylor.

On 29 March 1583 Ursula Almont, described as the wife of James Almont, came before the Mayor, Edmund Bennett, and confessed that she

untrulie and sclanderouslie had spoken certen words against the said Mr. Bennett, being Mayor, for the wch she was excommunycate before Mr. Doctor Loyd, and for the wch she then and theare openlie confessed herselfe to be hartelie sory, and desired hym to forgyve her, and promysed never hearafter to misuse hym in word or deede

In the council year 1585/6 the council spent 43s. 6d. on “clothe for the bedles of the beggers” at Almont’s shop. His apprentice John Gregory was admitted free in July 1587.

In September 1588 Almont was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1588/9). He brought in a gilt penny to make his son Roger free of the city, but was dispensed from riding the franchises, as the meadows towards the end of his mayoralty were “overflowen”.

† James Almont died in August 1592, and was probably buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church, as he stipulated in his will.

On his death his apprentice, William Potter (later to become Mayor himself) was admitted free.

See also:

  • PCC Will PROB 11/80/89 (Will of James Almont or Almote, Woollen Draper of Saint Mary Oxford, proved 20 June 1592)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 25 September, 2018

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