POLLARD, Sir Hugh, 2nd Bt. (c.1610-66), of Eggesford, Devon.
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Family and Education
b. c.1610, 1st s. of Sir Lewis Pollard, 1st Bt., of King’s Nympton by Margaret, da. of Sir Henry Berkeley† of Bruton, Som. m. (1) Lady Bridget Vere, da. and coh. of Edward, 17th Earl of Oxford, 1da.; (2) c.1650, Mary, da. of William Stevens of Great Torrington, Devon, wid. of Henry Rolle of Beam, Devon, s.p. suc. fa. 1641.1
Lt. of militia ft. Devon 1629, capt. 1640, commr. of array 1642, oyer and terminer, Western circuit July 1660; j.p. Devon July 1660-d., Mdx., Surr. and Westminster 1662-d.; dep. lt. Devon c. Aug. 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-d., v.-adm. Oct. 1660-d., commr. for loyal and indigent officers 1662; ranger, Exmoor Forest ?1664-d.2
Maj. (royalist) 1642; col. of ft. by 1644-6; gov. Dartmouth 1645-6, Guernsey 1661-2.3
PC 29 Jan. 1662-d.; comptroller of the Household 1662-d.
Pollard’s family can be traced back in Devonshire to the 13th century, but the Marian Speaker was the first to enter Parliament. Pollard, expelled from the Long Parliament for his share in the Army Plot, was one of the most strenuous Royalists in the west during the Civil War. He compounded on a fine of £518, which was not paid till 1653. ‘Able to yield distressed majesty no further service for the present, [he] retired to his house at Nympton, where he spent the remainder of his fortune in hospitality among his friends and neighbours.’ Actually Pollard was one of the most active royalist plotters during the first half of the Interregnum; but after his total failure to give any assistance to Penruddock, whose rising was crushed almost on Pollard’s doorstep, he may have preferred to forget this episode, and he seems to have played no part in the Restoration.4
Pollard entered the Convention at a by-election for Callington on the death of Robert Rolle, presumably on his second wife’s interest, her first husband having been lord of the manor. He did not speak, and was named only to a committee on a private bill. He was returned unopposed for Devon in 1661, but his duties as governor of Guernsey kept him out of the House for the opening months of the Cavalier Parliament. In the reshuffle of Household appointments which followed the death of Lord Cornwallis (Sir Frederick Cornwallis), he became comptroller. Clarendon relates that he was chosen to manage government business in the House, and by his magnificent hospitality he secured ‘a greater party in the House of Commons willing to be disposed of by him than any man that ever sat there in my time’. His noisy dispute with Daniel O’Neill about the rangership of Exmoor shows, however, that even loyal courtiers were not always ready to be ‘disposed of’ by Pollard. On 25 Jan. he brought the King’s reply to the address on corn prices, and later in the session he was ordered to carry two more addresses. But the drudgery of committee work was not for him; he was appointed to the elections committee in four sessions, and to three others of no political importance. By 1665 his financial position was desperate, though parliamentary privilege and court office sheltered him from its worst consequences. Clarendon dashed off a note to Arlington (who, as Sir Henry Bennet, had sat for Pollard’s own borough of Callington till a few months before) informing him that the King
was so sorry for the poor comptroller, who is more troubled for his creditors than for want of his own wealth, that he resolves to give him £5,000. ... It should be done on the ground of sums advanced by him for the King’s service.
Arlington, after an urgent reminder from Pollard, drew up the warrant in the required terms, but the careful preservation of Clarendon’s note among the state papers suggests that it was kept for use against the lord chancellor. On Arlington’s recommendation Pollard was virtually superseded as leader of the House by Thomas Clifford, one of those western men on whom Clarendon believed Pollard to have ‘a very particular influence’. He died on 27 Nov. 1666, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Administration of his estate was granted to a creditor. Pollard’s brother inherited the land, but had at once to sell it to his cousin, the son of Sir John Northcote, and the family became extinct in the legitimate line in 1701 without further representation in Parliament.5