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BERE FERRERS - THE PROTESTATION RETURN 1641/42

 

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.

Bere Ferrers belonged to the Hundred of Roborough

The original spelling has been preserved

James Adamer George Gawde Laurence Ryder *
John Adames John Gawde John Sannders
Thomas Alling Richard Gawde Isaac Sargent
Pasco Bailye* William Gawde William Shepherd *
Francis Bawdon Diggory Goode Robert Sylvester
Nicholas Baylee John Harris Henry Skidston *
John Bayles Pasco Harris Nicholas Skinner
Laurence Baylie Richard Harris Christopher Smaly
Robert Bailie Robert Harris William Sowdon
Richard Baylye Thomas Harris sen. James Sprye
Stephen Baylye Thomas Harris Henry Stacie *
James Bennet Richard Hart  John Stacie *
Leonard Bennet Edward Harvey Robert Stacie *
John Berslie Richard Hawking * William Stacie *
Edmund Blackdon William Hawkins * Richard Stacy
Henry Blacke Walter Heale Richard Stacy
Thomas Blackedon John Hele Henry Stacye
William Borne Richard Hele John Stacye
Humphrey Bowdon Richard Helman Philip Stapledon
Roger Bray Nicholas Hiching William Stapledon
William Bray George Hichings Richard Steeven *
Thomas Braye William Hill Ambrose Stephen *
John Broking James Horne John Stephen
David Burges Ralph Huchings John Steven
John Burges John Huckdon Laurence Steven
John Canning, jun. Samson Hurne Laurence Steven
John Canning sen. Robert Huxton Richard Steven
Bartholomew Carse William Jeffery Robert Steven
Robert Carse Alexander Jerman Scoble Steven
Anias Champlyn John Kencutt * Walter Steven
Ambrose Clarke Ciprian Knight Walter Steven
Arthur Clarke Ferdinand Knight William Steven *
Edward Clarke Hugh Knight Richard Stevens
John Clarke * Roger Knight Roger Stevens
John Clarke Thomas Knight Edward Stidston
John, Clarke jun. William Lang Matthew Stockman
Nicholas Clarke Walter Litleber Richard Stockman
Nicholas Clarke Oliver Lugger Robert Stockman
Nicholas, Clarke, jun. Oliver Lugger jun. Walter Strang
Nicholas Clarke * Christopher Mallacke * John Summers
Oliver Clarke John Martyn Thomas Symes
Richard Clarke Ezekiel Mathew John Symms *
Richard Clarke John Mathew John Symones
Roger Clarke William Mathew John Taggabury
Roger Clarke Edward Matthew John Talbot
Thomas Clarke Henry Matthew John Talbot
Thomas Clarke Robert Matthew Richard Talbot
William Clarke Thomas May Daniel Tawlye
William Clarke Thomas Moyse Roger Tawlye
John Clocke Henry Naylor Stephen Tawlye
John Cloke * Richard Naylor John Towle
Laurence Cloke Thomas Naylor Nicholas Towle
Laurence Cloke Thomas Naylor, jun. Daniel Towlye
Laurence Clooke * Thomas Naylor sen. Benjamin Tredaman
John Corter John Nealer * Laurence Trenaman
John Davy sen. John Nole Anthony Ward
Diggory Derry Richard Northligh Robert Warren *
Charles Dodge John Parr Jasper Wate
Ferdinand Dodge John Payne Henry Weare
John Dodge, jun. Richard Peeke Thomas White
Simon Dodge William Peeke John Williams *
Henry Donnick Nicholas Peirce John Williames
Richard Donnick Alexander Pierse Richard Williames
Robert Donnick John Pike Richard Williames
Elias Dorridge Walter Pike Robert Williames
Gilbert Dotting * Thomas Pyne * Thomas Williams *
John Downe John Pynsens * Thomas Williams jun.
Elias Dunridy Richard Randell Thomas Williams jun.
Henry Dynder Humphrey Remond William Williams
John Edgcombe * John Renolde Ciprian Wills
John Edgcomb Richard Repe Henry Wills
Nathaniel Edgecombe John Rich sen. * John Wills
Peter Edgecomb John Rich jun. * Ralph Wills
John Elford Elias Riche Richard Wills
John Facey * Burnell Rider * Roger Wills
Robert Foord * Edmund Rider William Wills *
John Foote * John Rider William Wills, jun.
John Foote Robert Rider John Wood
John Forde * Roger Rider Thomas Wood
John Foster Thomas Rider Walter Wylles
Edward Fox * Richard Roberts Nicholas Yelland
Richard Garde James Roope Nicholas Yolland

John Pyne - Rector

 Those marked * are signatures; all other in the same hand

 

* 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 StudiesLibrary, Exeter.                                                                                         Courtesy: Devon County Council

 

 
 
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