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BEAFORD - 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.

Beaford belonged to the Hundred of Shebbear

The original spelling has been preserved

Edward Alford William Geaton Leonard Pearne
John Alford Andrew Grater Robert Pearne
Ralph Alford Arthur Grater Henry Pickford
Thomas Alford Emmanuel Grater Abraham Pinkcombe
Hugh Berry Malet Halse Arthur Pinkcombe
Michael Brailey William Halse, Gent John Reede
William Brailey Anthony Heardinge Robert Reede
William Browne John Huddle Edward Rowe
Nicholas Chaple Bartholomew Johns George Rowe
Anthony Chapple John Johns John Rowe
John Chapple sen. Robert Johns Timothy Short
John Chapple jun William Johns William Shut
John Cooksleigh Nicholas Jorden Hannibal Skinner
Thomas Cooper Thomas Jorden Philip Skrigon
Humphrey Copleston sen. Thomas Loveband George Snell
Humphrey Copleston jun. Richard Marten George Stevens
John Copleston Anthony Mitchell jun. William Stevens
John Davy Ezechias Mitchell John Thomas
David Dennis Richard Mitchell, gent John Thorne
John Dobb Richard Mitchell, jun Nathaniel Toake
Anthony Dyllinge William Mitchell Roger Trymlett
John Dymand John Nott, sen. Philip Viccary
Richard Ellis Peter Parsmoore John White
Christopher French Sturley Parsmoore Edmund Wraiford
Andrew Frost Elias Pearne  Bartholomew Yeo
Henry Geaton James Pearne -----
John Geaton jun. John Pearne ------

Robert Buckland - Rector

Anthony Mitchell - Constable

John Grater - Churchwarden

All the above names in the same hand

 

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

 

 
 
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