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ASHCOMBE - THE PROTESTATION RETURN OF 1641/2

By the end of 1640, King Charles I had become very unpopular.  Parliament forced him to make changes in the Constitution which gave them a bigger say in how the country was governed. From then on, Parliament was split into two factions - Royalists (Cavaliers) who supported the King and Parliamentarians (Roundheads) who wanted political and religious reform.

On 3 May 1641, every Member of the House of Commons was ordered to make a declaration of loyalty to the crown. This was ratified next day by the House of Lords. They called it their Protestation against " an arbitrarie and tyrannical government" and another order was made that every Rector, Churchwarden and Overseer of the Poor had to appear in person before the JPs in their Hundred to make this Protestation Oath in person. It was to  be a declaration of their belief in the" Protestant religion, allegiance to the King and support for the rights and privileges of Parliament".

They then had to go back home to their own parish where any two of them were to require the same oath of allegiance from all males over the age of 18. The names of all who refused to make the oath were to be noted and assumed to be Catholics.

We have, in the Devon Protestation Returns, a set of amazing documents - something akin to a census even though no women or children are named.  A transcription is available in the West Country Studies Library in Exeter.

 

The Protestation Returns are arranged by parish.

Ashcombe belonged to the Hundred of Exminster

The original spelling has been preserved

Richard Arenett Peter Downe Samuel Rennels
Thomas Bande Robert Downe George Rugge
Tristram Bande James Drake James Shenton
John Bawden John Frend Nathaniel Shenton
John  Bendill John Grosse Thomas Shenton
James Bonde Richard Headon Thomas Skene
Daniel Brooke John Kingwell Bartholomew Smith
Stephen Carpenter John Kingwell John Stevens
Richard Clampit Joseph Kingwell Otho Strong
Philip Clappe Peter Lambesheade Richard Thomas
George Coleman Nicholas Leaker James Toash
Richard Coleman William Moalle John Toash
Thomas Coleman Edward Molle Richard Toash
John Cove Thomas Moore Joseph Vyn
Thomas Cove Edward Pallmer Robert Weareman
Daniel Downe Richard Palmer John Whiteborne
Emmanuel Downe James Parre John Witchalls
Henry Downe Stephen Parre John Wyne
John Downe John Rendle -----

(The above names are in the same hand; the following five are signatures)

 

John Shinton - Parson

James Parre - Constable

George Molle - Churchwarden

John Parre - Overseer

James Clyffe - Overseer

 

* For many centuries, Devon was divided into 32 administrative districts or Hundreds for land tax purpose.

 

 

 
 
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