BASTARD, Sir William (c.1636-90), of Gerston, West Alvington, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1636, 1st s. of William Bastard of Gerston by Joanna, da. of Sampson Hele† of Gnaton, Newton Ferrers. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1653. m. by 1661, Grace, da. of Sir John Bampfield, 1st Bt., of Poltimore, 6s. (4 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. 1664; kntd. 13 Aug. 1677.1
Commr. for assessment, Devon 1664-80, 1689-d., j.p. 1668-70, 1673-6, 1678-d., commr. for recusants 1675, sheriff 1676-7, dep. lt. May-July 1688.2
Bastard’s pedigree cannot be traced beyond the 16th century, and the first notable member of the family was William Bastard, who was elected for Dartmouth in 1601. His father was a county committeeman who suffered at the hands of the Royalists. He retained office during the Interregnum and represented the county under the Protectorate. Bastard himself was twice removed from the commission of the peace as ‘a great fanatic and an indulger of conventicles’. All the more reason, suggested a genial sea-dog, to prick him as sheriff, particularly as he was ‘an active, strong man fit for that employ’ with ‘a plentiful estate’ to meet the expenses. His term of office had not yet expired when he was mentioned as a possible country candidate for Okehampton at the by-election caused by the death of (Sir) Edward Wise, but he desisted at an early stage.3
Bastard was returned for Bere Alston at both elections of 1679 on the Maynard interest. Marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list, he was moderately active in the first Exclusion Parliament. Among his five committee appointments were those to consider the bills for the prevention of illegal exactions and the better collection of hearth-tax, and to search for precedents for punishing false election returns. He voted for exclusion, and became an active Member in 1680. He was appointed to 15 committees, including those to draw up addresses representing the dangerous state of the kingdom and requesting a pardon for the opposition journalist Harris, to inquire into abhorring, and to bring in bills for security against arbitrary power. John Maynard I appears to have withdrawn his support in 1681, and Bastard never stood again, perhaps because his views on exclusion had changed. He remained a j.p. under James II, and gave the same affirmative answers as Thomas Reynell on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, ‘provided that the Protestant religion be secured’. He was added to the lieutenancy in February 1688 but removed after a few months. He accepted the Revolution and continued on the commission of the peace; but he did not long survive, and was buried at West Alvington on 2 July 1690. The next member of the family to sit was John Pollexfen Bastard, knight of the shire from 1874 to 1816.4