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ASHREIGNEY - 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 king and to Parliament. 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 parishes

which are grouped in Hundreds*

Ashreigney belonged to the Hundred of North Tawton 

The original spelling has been preserved

George Alford John Heale of Lake William Pitwoode
George Alford jun. Philip Heale Ambrose Radford
John Avery, gent. Richard Heale John Radford
Thomas Bewes Thomas Heale Hannibal Rattenbury
Anthony Bishopp William Heale sen. John Robarts
George Blackmore John Heddon William Rowdon
John Blackmore sen. Anthony Hele sen. John Rumpson
John Blackmore jun. William Hele jun. George Sage sen
Peter Blackmore Anthony Hill George Sage jun
Thomas Blackmore Francis Hill John Sage sen
William Blackmore James Hill John Sage jun
William Bobbage sen Nicholas Hill Hugh Saule
John Bolbage jun. Philip Hill John Saule sen
John Bolte John Hooper John Saule jun
John Bonde Thomas Hore Jeremy Scott
Andrew Borne Hugh Isaac John Shorte
John Brewer Richard Isaac Anthony Shutt
William Bury Henry Jope Hugh Shutt
Francis Channte, gent Thomas Jope James Shutt
Edward Cole Henry Jorie John Shutt
Francis Cole Henry Joslyn John Shutt
John Cole Hugh Joslyn John Shutt
Samuel Cole Philip Joslyn Simon Shutt
Henry Cudmore Thomas Joslyn, mason William Shutt sen
Giles Davy Thomas Joslyn William Shutt jun.
Thomas Davy William Joslyn John Smyth
John Davyes Peter Kympe Achilles Steere
Leonard Dingles John Langbridge William Steere
Azarias Dobb Edward Lupton Anthony Thorne
John Dobb Francis Lupton John Thorne
Alle Dockett Roger Lupton Philip Turner
John Dodge Joel Lyde George Tylor
Samuel Endmore Nicholas Mare Hugh Tylor
John Fnyen William Mare Henry Underdowne
Dennis Forde Richard Molland Joseph Underdowne
John Forde Hugh Moore sen Richard underhill
Achilles Gaye Hugh Moore John Verchilde
William Gaye John Moore Richard Verchilde
John Gosse Mark Mutchill Thomas Webber
William Gridgworthy Walter Mutchill John Whayte
John Harrell Thomas Nethaway Francis Whitlock
Anthony Heale jun. John Norrish sen Henry Whitlocke
Christopher Heale John Norrish jun John Whitlocke
Francis Heale John Norrish David Wilcocke
Gamaliel Heale William Norrish Edward Wilcocke
Hannibal Heale Hugh Paddon Hugh Wilcocke
Hannibal Heale Robert Paddon Philip Wilcocke
Hugh Heale Roger Paddon William Wilcocke
John Heale, butcher Thomas Paddon Nicholas Wylmots
John Heale of Hole Peter Pearse Ambrose Wytherowe

(The above are all in the same hand; the following four are signatures)

William Coles - Curate

Henry Underdowne - Churchwarden

William Shutt - Constable

Hugh Moore - Constable

 

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

 

Taken from the transcription by A.J. Howard published in 1973 which is available in the West Country Studies Library, Exeter.                                                                                                             Courtesy: Devon County Council

 

 
 
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