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BRADFORD PROTESTATION RETURN

 

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.

Bradford belonged to the Hundred of  Black Torrington

The original spelling has been preserved

Eelirzar Anderdon John Fynnamore Robert Northcot
John Anderdon Jonas Fynnamore Nicholas Peace
Robert Anderdon Bartholomew Gawson William Peatherick
John Arscott Richard Gerne sen. Robert Perkins
John Beabor Richard Gerne jun Thomas Perkins
Digory Bearman Robert Gerne Thomas Pounsford
William Bickford Gent Roger Heayne John Robins
George Bradford Charles Hockedie Richard Robins
Robert Browne Robert Jeffrey William Robins
George Bryant Robert Jewell William Roche
George Bryant Robert Jewell Simon Seller
John Bullin Nathaniel Jylbert Christopher Seale
John Colwill William Kinsman Johnathan Squeire
Peathevick Colwill John Leach George Stevens
Richard Colwill John Lile Edward Streat
Thomas Colwill John Lucas Robert Thomas
Thomas Cottle John Marchant William Troughton
John Dennys William Maynerd Andrew Wallize
Walter Drew Richard Meager John Way
John Furber Robert Morley Alan Worth
Henry Fylbert Humphrey Northcot ------

(All the above names written in the same hand - the following four are signatures)

Thomas Saltern - Rector

Richard Gerne - Constable

Robert Jeffrey - Churchwarden

Robert Jewell - Overseer

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

 

 
 
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