HILERSDON, Richard (c.1639-1703), of Membland, Holbeton, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1639, 1st s. of Richard Hillersdon of Membland by Bridget, da. of John Harris of Lanrest, Liskeard, Cornw. educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1656. m. 11 May 1659, Anne, da. of Edward Nosworthy I of Truro, Cornw., 1s. d.v.p. 2da. suc. fa. 1652.1
Commr. for assessment, Devon 1666-80, 1690-?d., j.p. 1670-87, July 1688-?d.
Hillersdon came from an old but minor gentry family which took its name from a hamlet in North Devon. One of them represented Plympton, five miles from Membland, in 1478; but they did not regularly sit in Parliament. Hillersdon’s father took up arms for the King during the Civil War, compounding on his own discovery for £269. Hillersdon himself was returned for Plympton at the first general election of 1679, the last of his family to enter Parliament. Considered ‘honest’ by Shaftesbury, he voted for the first exclusion bill, but he was appointed to no committees and made no speeches. In the autumn election he made way for a more prominent opponent of the Court, John Pollexfen, and he was sufficiently obscure to be allowed to remain on the commission of the peace till 1687. He probably became a Whig collaborator under the influence of his brother-in-law, Edward Nosworthy II. He was approved as a j.p. in July 1688, and his son was commissioned into a predominantly Roman Catholic regiment during the Revolution. Apparently Hillersdon himself accepted the new regime, and continued to hold local office even after he moved to Totnes. His son died in or before 1693, whereupon he seems to have made over Membland to his son-in-law Arthur Champernowne†. His other daughter married Courtenay Croker, who sat for Plympton as a Whig from 1695 to 1702. His name disappears from the commission of the peace in 1703.2