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BIGBURY  - 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.

Bigbury belonged to the Hundred of  Ermington

The original spelling has been preserved

William Ayshford, Gent Thomas Mathew Nicholas Stone
John Balkwill Edward Mathews Thomas Stone
Richard bardon Bennett Nosse William Stone
Samson Bardon Robert Nosse Adam Sture
William Bardon Robert Nosse Hugh Tabb
John Bound Robert Nosse John Tabb
Michael Brotheridge William Nosse Ralph Trebell
Bennett Browne John Palmer James Treeby
Henry Burleigh, Gent John Parnell John Treeby
Richard Cawker Roger Parnell Thomas Treeby
William Cawker John Pearse Henry Turby
William Cawker Andrew Phillips, Gent Arthur Turtey
William Chrispin Andrew Phillips Amos Turtey
Cornelius Cooke James Phillips George Turtey
Richard Coyte John Phillips Hugh Turtly
Fabian Deinant John Piles Phillip Turtly
John Dier John Pleish Philip Turtly
John Elliote Daniel Pomeroy Thomas Turtly
John Elliote George Pomeroy Arthur Wackham
William Elliote John Pomeroy Arthur Wackham
Andrew Fosterd William Pomeroy Daniel Wackham
Andrew Froud Andrew Pranse Hugh Wackham
John Froud William Putt John Wackham
William Gilbert Nicholas Randell John Wackham
John Harris Nicholas Randell, jun. John Wackham
Philip Harris Andrew Rogers Nicholas Wackham
John Harvie John Sander Richard Wackham
James Harwood Thomas Sander Robert Wackham
John Harwood Thomas Sander Thomas Wackham
Simon Hatch Arthur Sheapherd, Gent Thomas Wackham
Richard Hill Edward Sheapherd William Wackham
George Hungston James Sheapherd , Gent William Wackham
Hugh Horne James Sheapherd jun. Gent Christopher Ward
John Hutchinge John Sheapherd Ambrose Warringe, Gent
John Kinge John Sheapherd jun. Cornelius Webber
Thomas Kitt Philip Sheapherd John Webber
Thomas Kitt Thomas Sheapherd Peter Webber
William Laniby Thomas Sheapherd Thomas Webber
William Lanns William Sheapherd Ralph Whitell
Richard Laughdon, Gent. William Sheapherd Maximillian Willes
John Leigh William Sheapherd Thomas Willes
John Leigh John Shinwill Hugh Willinge
Philip Leman George Solacke Stephen Willinge
Robert Marwood Henry Squibs Stephen Willinge
Robert Marwood Nicholas Stitson William Willinge
William Marwood John Stone -

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

John Rumbelow - Rector

George Leigh - Constable

John Marwood - Constable

William Elliote - Churchwarden

John Wackham - Churchwarden

John Solacke + Overseer

William Wackham - Overseer

 

* 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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