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AXMOUTH - 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.

Axmouth belonged to the Hundred of Axminster

The original spelling has been preserved

John Abbot Robert Foard Thomas Pine
John Abbot Robert Foard jun. Walter Pope
Peter Abbot Geoffrey Ford George Quick
John Abbott John Ford John Quick
Joseph Abbot Robert Ford sen. Robert Quick
William Abbott Thomas Fawne William Quick
John Alford Walter Fox William Quicke jun.
John Ayre Bernard Frankland Richard Quirke
John Baker John Franklyn Robert Renway
William Bartlett John Gaich William Restoricke
William Bartlett jun. Alexander Gaich John Restoricke
John Bowditch William Gaich Richard Rowland
? Byrd  Jacob Garland William Roze
Peter Byrd John Gouppie John Sampson
Richard Carswell Robert Gouppie Thomas Sandfford
Robert Case Edward Hacker Henry Savage
Malachi Caverly John Hacker Thomas Seward
Robert Chappell William Hacker James Shire
Robert Chapple William Hawker Francis Smith
John Chesway Edward Holwill Geoffrey Smith
Thomas Chesway Richard Holwill John Smith
Richard Clark Thomas Holwill Thomas Smith
John Cleark sen. John Howard Robert Souther
John Cleark Thomas Howard John Starr
Edward Clearcke Hugh Leaves John Stoakes
William Clerk John Lugge Thomas Stocker
Thomas Clittery John Lyd George Tanner
Robert Coad Richard Mallacke jun John Tanner sen.
Thomas Coad Richard Mallacke John Tanner
George Coard John Mallacke Richard Tucker
Andrew Collendon Walter Mew John Turner
Robert Collins George Moon Robert Turner
Nathaniel Collines John Moone H. Trevillian
William Coussines William Moone John Way (Clerk)
Richard Crowe Peter Nuton James Webber
William Crowe Richard Orchard John Weekes
John Dore George Osborne Richard Weekes
John Durant John Parker Thomas Weekes
Nathaniel Dyke Hercules Pine -

This information was written into the Parish Register by Nathaniel Dyke, incumbent of Axmouth 1639 - 1649. No other copy has been found.

 

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

 

Taken from the transcription by A. J. Skinner of the Parish Registers which is available in the West Country Studies Library, Exeter.                                                                                                Courtesy: Devon County Council

 

 
 
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