BOCKLAND, Maurice (1648-1710), of Standlynch, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. 20 Apr. 1648, 3rd but o. surv. s. of Walter Bockland. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. 1664; I. Temple 1667; M. Temple 1669; Padua 1669. m. (1) 10 Feb. 1673, Joan (d. 10 Jan. 1689), da. of John Penruddock of Compton Chamberlayne, 3s. d.v.p. 6da.; (2) Mabella (with £2,000), da. of Sir Robert Dillington, 2nd Bt., of Knighton, I.o.W., 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1670.1
Commr. for assessment, Wilts. 1673-80, 1689-90, j.p. 1680-June 1688, Oct. 1688-?d., dep. lt. 1683-June 1688, Oct. 1688-?d.; freeman, Salisbury 1680; commr. for inquiry, New Forest 1692; maj. of militia horse, Wilts. by 1696-?d.2
Bockland did not stand for Downton on his father’s death, although he was of age, nor, so far as is known, did he contest the next vacancy. But he defeated Charles Raleigh in a by-election caused by the death of Henry Eyre, and took his seat in the last session of the Cavalier Parliament. Shaftesbury apparently allowed the ‘doubly worthy’ he had accorded to Eyre to remain for Bockland. But, apart from being named to the committee investigating suspicious noises in Old Palace Yard, he was inactive. He retained his seat without a break till 1695, winning six successive general elections, though so far as is known he was a silent Member in this period. In the first Exclusion Parliament he was again classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury. A moderately active Member, he was appointed to six committees, including those for the speedier conviction of recusants (of whom his mother was one), for security against Popery, and two concerning the import of Irish cattle, acted as teller for the adjournment on 10 Apr. 1679, and voted for the exclusion bill. He was again moderately active in the second Exclusion Parliament, in which he was named to seven committees. Although he continued to support exclusion, he managed to fall foul of Shaftesbury in some way. His colleague Sir Joseph Ashe wrote:
I have been present when all our great businesses have been debated, and I can truly say Mr Bockland as to the main matters hath gone very right, and in his discourses with me hath shown his opinion to be against Popery and a Popish successor as much as any man. I think in one or two private causes he hath not gone with the House, but ’tis not to be imagined that every man in those private concerns must come up to the pin which the Earl of Shaftesbury placeth.
The ground of Bockland’s offence is nowhere stated, but it may be conjectured to lie in his loyalty to the Church (as in the case of Sir William Portman) and his kinship with the Earl of Bristol (John Digby). Shaftesbury wrote at least three letters to the people of Downton before the 1681 election, but to no avail. Bockland was re-elected, though apart from his nomination to the committee of elections and privileges he is not known to have taken any part in the Oxford Parliament.3
Bockland was totally inactive in James II’s Parliament. To the first question on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws he replied evasively that if he were chosen burgess he would serve the King faithfully and loyally, and to the second that he thought it not consistent to give a positive answer, it having no immediate relation to the former. In the Convention he was again moderately active, serving on 27 committees. The most important were on the Lords’ proviso to the bill of rights, on the delay in the relief of Londonderry, on war expenditure and on the mutiny bill. He supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations and apparently remained a Whig under William III. Bockland died in 1710, after losing his interest in Downton to wealthier patrons; but his son Maurice sat for various Hampshire boroughs as a government supporter from 1733 to 1754.