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BICKINGTON - THE PROTESTATION RETURN OF 1641

 

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 parishes

which are grouped in Hundreds*

Bickington belonged to the Hundred of Teignbridge

(The original spelling has been retained )

William Ambrose John Ferris Francis Prowse
Nicholas Barde Thomas Ferris Thomas Pynsent
Emmanuel Bonde John Ford Matthew Richards
John Bovie William Ford jun Richard Savage
Richard Bovie James Furse William Slowly
William Bovie John Furse John Smeardon jun
John Bowden Nicholas Furse Michael Stephen
John Butler William Furse Humphrey Stonell
William Bymore Benjamin Fursland Geoffrey Sweetland
Bartholomew Bynmore Hugh Fursland Robert Tamlyn
Daniel Bynmore Walter Fursland John Tayler
John Bynmore Hugh Finch John Vance
John Cance jun George Hare Hugh Whiteway
Nicholas Chamberlane John Harell John Whiteway
Roger Codford Nicholas Harell Richard Whiteway
Clement Cole Thomas Harell Thomas Whiteway
Arthur Couch Thomas Harell William Widgen
John Couch James Harris John Wollacott
John Couch Aristobulip Kerton John Worth
Nicholas Couch John Kerton Edward Wotton
Richard Couch William Kerton sen John Wotton
William Couch William Kerton jun John Wotton
Andrew Crout Francis Lambshed John Wotton
John Crowt John Lambshedd John Wotton
John Crowt jun Richard Langworthie Thomas Wotton sen
George Cullyn Richard Luscombe Thomas Wotton jun.
Henry Dugdale Clement Luscombe Thomas Wotton

(son of William)

Paris Dugdale John Luscombe William Wotton
William Dugdale John Maior Zachary Wotton
Alan Farse John Maunder -----
William Farse Simon Morie -----
     

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

 

William Woolcombe - Minister

Bartholomew Binnard - Churchwarden

John Smeardon - Constable

John Leach - Constable

John Furse - Overseer

John Lamshead - Overseer

 

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

 

 

 
 
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