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BISHOPSTEIGNTON - 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.

 

Bishopsteignton parish belonged to the Hundred of Exminster*

(The original spelling has  been retained)

Arthur Alford Andrew Eastcott Edward Mayne
Edward Alford Phillip Eastcott John Merdon
Elizeus Alford Thomas Eastcott John Merdon jun
Gregory Alford William Eastcott sen Peter Merdon
John Alford sen William Eastcott jun Richard Merdon
John Alford jun James Easton Andrew Molton
Michael Alford Nicholas Easton Gilbert Nicholl
Tristram Algar Thomas Easton sen James Paddon
Richard Arscott, Clerk Thomas Easton jun John Paddon sen
John Avenant John Evance John Paddon jun
Thomas Avenant Bartholomen Ewen Nicholas Paddon sen
Gregory Babb sen John Ewen jun Nicholas Paddon jun
Gregory Babb jun Nicholas Ewen Richard Paddon sen
John Babb William Ewen Richard Paddon jun
Thomas Babb George Ewyn Robert Paddon
Nicholas Ball Thomas Ewan sen Thomas Paddon
Nicholas Ball jun Thomas Ewan jun William Paddon
Richard Best Robert French Timothy Palmer
Thomas Best Thomas Geale sen William Phellips
Francis Body Thomas Geale jun Richard Phippin
Richard Bowden William Geale William Phraze
Thomas Bowden Thomas Grose John Pidsley sen
William Bowden John Hannyver John Pidsley jun
Mark Brecker Thomas Hart, Gent George Pinsent
Richard Brecker Gabriel Hellier Richard Quick
Nicholas Buckingham Thomas Hellier John Rendall
Thomas Colcher John Hill Mark Rendall
James Cole William Hill George Sanders
Richard Cole Robert Hooper Geoffrey Slarle
Otho Coltman Christopher Langley John Smith
Charles Comyn John Langley Gilbert Symons
Francis Comyn Peter Langley William Symons
John Comyn sen Richard Langley George Tapley
John Comyn jun Thomas Langley sen Samuel Toame
John Comyn jun Thomas Langley jun, Minister John Warde
Maximillian Comyn Henry Little sen Thomas Wedge
Richard Comyn Henry Little jun George Wescom, Gent
Thomas Comyn Richard Lowe Alexander Westlake
George Cornellius Richard Lyell John Whitborne
Gregory Cornellius John Maior Richard Whitborne
Richard Cornellius John Martyn Richard Whitborne jun
Michael Cove, Gent Richard Martin, Gent Richard Wilkin
Nicholas Cove Nicholas Mattervers William Wilkin
Richard Crost Gregory Mattervers William Wills
John Digges Thomas Mattervers -
 

Henry Westlake - Vicar

Thomas Whitborne - constable

Bartholomew Narramore - Constable

Michael Merdon - Churchwarden

Juell Phippen - Churchwarden

John Lyell - Overseer

Bartholomew Best - Overseer

Richard Easton - Overseer

Richard Paddon - Overseer

All the above names 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 Studies Library, Exeter.                                                                                                              Courtesy: Devon County Council

 

 

 
 
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