POLLARD, Sir John (1527/28-75), of Forde Abbey, Dorset, Horton, Glos., Trelawne, Cornw., and Bishopsgate, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1527/28, 1st s. of (Sir) Richard Pollard of Putney Surr., London and Forde Abbey by Jacquetta, da. John Bury of Colliton, Devon. m. Catherine, at least 3da.; at least 1s. illegit. suc. fa. 10 Nov. 1542. Kntd. 10 Nov. 1549.1

Offices Held

J.p. Devon 1558/59-d., q. by 1569, j.p. Som. by 1569; commr. eccles. causes 1559; visitor, diocese of Exeter 1559; pres. council of Munster 1568.2


John Pollard’s father provided for his boyhood governance by his uncles Sir Hugh Pollard and (Sir) Hugh Paulet, but in August 1543 his wardship and marriage were granted to Sir John Russell, Baron Russell. Russell’s defection from the Duke of Somerset was followed by Pollard’s knighting on the same day as his friend Arthur Champernon; the wardship grant was formally cancelled in December 1550 but Pollard was not licensed to enter upon his inheritance until nine days before the death of Edward VI.3

Pollard had by then sat in his first Parliament as senior Member for Plympton Erle. One of his relatives, the archdeacon of Barnstaple, was lessee of some property there from the family of the other Member, Richard Strode II, but Russell, now Earl of Bedford, was doubtless responsible for his nomination. His next appearance was in Mary’s second Parliament when with another of the earl’s protégés, George Ferrers, he sat for Barnstaple. His grandfather had been, and his uncle Sir Hugh Pollard still was, recorder of the borough, while he had more than one marital link with (Sir) John Chichester, its chief patron. As the owner of property there he also went some way towards satisfying the crown’s request for resident Members, although he is to be distinguished from a kinsman and namesake who lived at Barnstaple. It was doubtless yet another John Pollard, then knight of the shire for Oxfordshire and Speaker in the Parliaments of October 1553 and 1555, who in April 1554 was concerned with a bill for the election of university scholars and with a case of privilege raised by William Johnson I.4

Neither noble patronage nor local ties procured Pollard a seat in the second Parliament of 1554, but in the following year he was elected senior Member for Exeter. Not without connexions there, for the recorder was his cousin and an uncle was a prebendary in the cathedral, he must again have been a nominee, especially as he did not meet the city’s recent requirement that only resident freemen could be elected. The new Earl of Bedford was abroad, so that the nomination was probably made by Cecil, whom Bedford had empowered to act for him during his absence. The corporation did what it could to regularize Pollard’s position by making him a freeman immediately after his election. It was in this Parliament that he sat under the Speakership of his namesake, to whose difficulty in controlling the House he made his contribution. A member of Cecil’s parliamentary dinner-party and of the group which met to discuss the tactics of opposition, he voted against one of the government’s bills.5

Pollard seems to have remained in London after the Parliament was dissolved and by mid February 1556 he is known to have become involved in the Dudley conspiracy. He was one of those sent to the Tower on 29 Apr. but it was not until 4 Nov. that he was indicted and within another month he was released. His service in the French campaign of the following year doubtless helped him to obtain a pardon on 30 Jan. 1558 and to recover some of his property. While abroad he had witnessed the will of Sir William Courtenay II, who had been imprisoned and freed with him.6

The description of Pollard in the pardon as ‘late of Forde, Dorset alias late of Horton, Gloucestershire’ may reflect losses of property otherwise than by escheat. Forde itself had passed to his cousin Amias Paulet by 1558 and other possessions were sold piecemeal to meet debts which had probably originated with the wardship. Pollard’s lease of the manor of Trelawne, Cornwall, in 1561 gave him his new home. He sat in the first two Elizabethan Parliaments and it may have been the ill-health that prevented him from taking up his appointment to the presidency of Munster which kept him out of the next two. He did not die, however, until 1575.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/65/25. Vis. Devon, ed. Vivian, 598; PCC 27 Pynnyng, 47 Pyckering.
  • 2. CPR , 1560-3, p. 345; 1566-9, p. 350; 1569-72, pp. 222-3; N. M. Fuidge, ‘Personnel of the House of Commons of 1563-7’ (London Univ. M.A. thesis, 1950), 269; CSP Ire. 1509-73, pp. 392-3, 410, 429.
  • 3. LP Hen. VIII, xviii, xxi; CPR, 1553, p. 7; PCC 27 Pynnyng; Docquet bk. f. 21.
  • 4. NRA 4154, p. 156; LP Hen. VIII, xviii; PCC Admins. ed. Glencross, i. 107; N. Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple, 1712; 3972, ff. 20v, 42(2), 45(2), 55(2) et passim; CJ, i. 35.
  • 5. HMC Exeter, 362; Trans. Dev. Assoc. lxi. 194; Exeter Freemen (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. extra ser. i), 81; Exeter act bk. 2, ff. 142v, 143; F. Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, i. 19; SP11/8/7, 35; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 6. Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(1), 488; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xlii), 104; CSP Dom. 1547-80, p. 84; CPR, 1555-7, p. 456; 1557-8, p. 89; D. M. Loades, Two Tudor Conspiracies, 223-34. Loades, 212 and C. Read, Cecil, 109-10 confuse him with the Speaker.
  • 7. CPR, 1557-8, p. 89; 1560-3, pp. 153, 368; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xxix. 302-4.