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BLACK TORRINGTON - 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.

Black Torrington belonged to the Hundred of Black Torrington

The original spelling has been preserved

Faithfull Averye Gregory Frye Robert Oliver jun
Nicholas Axworthye John Frye Thomas Oliver
Wiklliam Badge Leonard Frye Edmund Paige
Clement Ball Lewis Frye John Paige
Tristram Basset Lewis Fylberte Richard Paige sen
Lewis Battyn Abraham Gilberte Richard Paige jun
John Beale John Gilberte Thomas Paige
John Bicke sen Lewis Gilberte John Palmer
John Bickle ( of East Chille) Lewis Gilberte William Parishe
John Bickle jun John Glasse John Parsons jun
Robert Bickle Esq Thomas Glawen Thomas Parsons
Robert Bickle jun. John Gorforde William Parsons
Roger Bickle John Gusham George Pine
Thomas Bickle Thomas Gusham Edmund Poalet
William Bickle Henry Hatherly John Poslette
Richard Blighte Lewis Hatherlye Samuel Quicke
John Brand sen. Thomas Hayne Alexander Rewe
Hugh Brande John Heane Stephen Rewe
John Brande Lewis Hele John Risdon
Thomas Brande William Hele Lewis Risdon
John Brooke sen John Hesed sen Robert Risdon
John Brooke jun John Hesed jun Nicholas Rolston
George Browne Philip Hooper Robert Rowcliffe sen
George Browne Rice Hopkins jun Robert Rowcliffe jun
Robert Browne Richard Hopkins sen William Segar
Shadrach Browne John Hopper Fulke Smale
William Browne sen. Oliver Hopper George Smale
William Browne jun John Hutchins John Smale
Humphreyt Burdon Richard Jeffrye John Smale jun
John Burdon sen James Jenkin Robert Smale sen
John Burdon jun Evans Johns Robert Smale jun
Leonard Burdon Christopher Kinge Robert Smale (of Leigh)
Lewis Burdon Humphrey Kinge Esq. Thomas Smale
Williuam Burdon Humphrey Kinge jun William Smale
William Button John Kinge Gweorge Soper
Humphrey Calwell William Kingwell Peter Soper
William Chugge Emmanuel Lavackedaye Richard Soper
John Cloake Humphrey Loveis Gent Robert Squire
Arthur Collins William Luxmore William Stenlake
Jeremhy Colwell Laurence Madge John Stronge
Robert Colwell John Maye John Tantron
Samuel Davye William Maye Joseph Tanton sen
Robert Dawe Michael Mitchell Joseph Tanton jun
William Densam Roger Morris Richard Thomson
Abel Downe Richard Mounsell George Tillye
Nathaniel Downe William Norlye Simon Tillye
Ambrose Drewe Richard Norlye Edward Waterman
Robert Dunne George Oliver Richard Waterman
Christopher Elburye John Oliver (of East Chill) Samuel Webber
John Elburye John Oliver jun. Rowland Williams
Robert Elburye Robert Oliver (of East Hill) ---
Abraham Frye Robert Oliver sen ---

John Wedstcombe Glazier of Colridge being here at work has taken the protestation with us.

John Parsons the elder being sick of body and afflicted in mind abhors popery in practice and profession and therefore does desire further time to consider the protestation until God shall better enable him being thereunto required.

Oliver Axworthie sen. and Oliver Axworthie jun. have not taken the protestation. We hear they are fled for debt.

(The above names etc. are written in the same  hand; the following seven are signatures)

John Courtier - Minister

Humphrey Smale - Churchwarden

William Cockram - Overseer

Robert Hesed - Overseer

George Smale - Overseer

Stephen Coham - Constable

William Bastin - Constable

* 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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