Sir John Pollard Willoughby (1799-1866), 4th Baronet, was born at Baldon House, Oxfordshire, on 21 April 1799, the younger son of Sir Christopher Willoughby (1748-1806), 1st Baronet. He was educated at the Merchant Taylor's School, 1809-1812, and, after serving for a brief time at sea, at Haileybury College, 1815-1818. Willoughby entered the Bombay Civil Service in 1819, and was appointed assistant resident at Baroda in 1820. In 1822 he married Eliza, only daughter of Colonel Michael Kennedy (d. 1831), a member of Bombay Presidency's army. He became political agent at Kathiawar in 1828, and held this post until 1835.
During the early 1830s, Willoughy acted as government prosecutor on a commission of enquiry investigating claims of fraudulent accounting and peculation against his predecessor as political agent, Colonel Fretcherville D. Ballantyne. Ballantyne, an old Indian army man, was well connected in Bombay and at home, and mounted counter claims against Willoughby, his principal accuser, who became increasingly aggrieved at the lack of support he received from the Bombay authorities. Ballantyne was eventually found guilty and fined.
Willoughby was Chief Secretary to the Government of Bombay, 1835-1846, and a member of the Bombay Council, 1846-1851. On returning to England, he was a member of the Court of Directors, 1854-1858. Following the death of his first wife, Eliza, in 1852, he married Mary Elizabeth Hawker in 1854, the fourth daughter of Thomas Hawker of Himley House, Staffordshire. Willoughby sat as Liberal-Conservative M.P. for Leominster, 1857-1858, resigning when he was appointed a member of the Council for India. On the death of his brother, he succeeded to the baronetcy on 23 March 1865. He died at his residence, Fulmer Hall, near Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on 15 September 1866.
From the guide to the Sir John Willoughby: Letter book, 1827-1835, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)