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Bastard, John Pollexfen (DNB00)

BASTARD, JOHN POLLEXFEN (1756–1816), member of parliament for Devon, was born in 1756 at Kitley, near Plymouth. His family, settled in Devonshire since the Conquest, obtained the Kitley property about the end of the seventeenth century by the marriage of William Bastard with the heiress of Pollexfen of Kitley. John Pollexfen Bastard was the son of another William Bastard, who, as colonel of the East Devonshire militia, saved the arsenal of Plymouth when it was threatened by the approach of the French fleet in August 1779, and was gazetted a baronet on 4 Sept. following, but the title was never assumed by himself or his heirs. On the death of his father in 1782, Bastard succeeded to the family possessions, and to the colonelcy of the East Devonshire militia. In 1799 he prevented the destruction of the Plymouth docks and dockyards in a sudden revolt of the workmen. Without waiting for a requisition, he marched his regiment against the insurgents, and brought their rioting to an end. He received the thanks of the king and the ministry. He represented Truro in the House of Commons in 1783–4 and Devonshire from 1784 until his death, a period of thirty-two years, and approved Pitt's foreign policy, whilst occasionally opposing his domestic measures. In 1815 he went to Italy for his health, being conveyed in a vessel of the royal navy to Leghorn, where he died on 4 April 1816. His remains, brought back in a man-of-war, were buried in the family vault at Yealmpton, near Kitley, on 16 June, 1816. Colonel Bastard was twice married, but left no issue.

[Prince's Worthies of Devon, 1810; Gent. Mag. 1816; Généalogie de la Maison de Bastard, originaire du Comté Nantais, existant encore en Guienne, au Maine, en Bretagne et en Devonshire, fol., Paris, 1847.]

A. H. G.