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PEARD, GEORGE (1594?–1644), parliamentarian, born about 1594, was the son of John Peard of Barnstaple, Devonshire. Peard was admitted to the Middle Temple on 23 June 1613, and represented his native town in the two parliaments called in 1640. In the Short parliament he attacked ship-money with great boldness, calling it ‘an abomination,’ an expression which he was obliged to explain and withdraw (Clarendon, Rebellion, ii. 68; Commons' Journals, ii. 9). In the Long parliament he took an active part in the proceedings against Strafford, and made long speeches against the etcetera oath imposed by the canons of 1640, and against Lord-keeper Finch (Speeches and Passages of this great and happy Parliament, 4to, 1641, p. 313; Notebook of Sir John Northcote, p. 98; Sanford, Studies and Illustrations of the Great Rebellion, pp. 339, 344). He signalised himself also by moving that the Grand Remonstrance should be printed, and by the disrespectful comments on the royal family (Gardiner, Hist. of England, x. 76; Clarendon, Rebellion, v. 178). In June 1642 he contributed 100l. towards raising an army for the defence of the parliament, and promised 20l. a year towards the expenses of the Irish war (Commons' Journals, ii. 544).

On the outbreak of the civil war Peard returned to Barnstaple, and became the guiding spirit of the preparations for its defence against the royalists. He was deputy recorder, and afterwards recorder, of the borough, and advanced various sums of money towards the cost of its fortifications. But the west in general fell into the power of the king's forces in the summer of 1643, and Barnstaple, in spite of ‘the petulancy of Master Peard,’ surrendered to Prince Maurice in August 1643 (Mercurius Aulicus, 27 Aug. 1643; Cotton, Barnstaple during the Civil War, p. 213). Peard fell ill soon after the surrender, is said to have been imprisoned for some time in Exeter gaol, and died during the following year. His monument, surmounted by a portrait-bust, is in St. Peter's Church, Barnstaple, and his epitaph is given at length by Cotton (p. 282).

[Cotton's Barnstaple and the Northern part of Devonshire during the great Civil War, 1889.]

C. H. F.