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BRIDESTOWE - 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.

Bridestowe belonged to the Hundred of Lifton

The original spelling has been preserved

Roger Austine, gent. Leonard Gubbin James Saunders
Arthur Beckalake John Hawton Ellis Seilly
John Beckalake Walter Hawton John Sheer
Henry Bidlake, gent. Thomas Hockadaye Walter Sinkell
John Blachford Edmund Howell John Smyth sen.
Walter Blachford Michael Jefferye John Smyth jun.
Richard Brey Robert Johnes William Smyth sen.
Nicholas Burrough Pancras Knight William Smyth jun.
Sir Shilstone Calmadie, Kt. Robert Lillicrap Edmund Soper
Josais Calmadie Esq Walter Lillicrap John Soper
Shilstone Calmadie, gent. John Macka La Hane Peter Soper
Walter Colling Daniel Marten Thomas Standon
William Coone Daniel Mayior Thomas Stockman
Edward Crossman William Mill Richard Tapplye
John Crossman Hugh Mungey John Taverner
Thomas Crossman Andrew Newcome Thomas Taverner
William Crossman James Newton William Trebell
Walter Cruse Roger Newton William Treloder
John Dachcome Thomas Newton Stephen Vine
John Dod Peter North Toby Walkey
Richard Dod Hugh Parson Peter Walter of Bidlake
Philip Doidge Humphrey Peckord Peter Walter of Verworthie
Robert Doidge William Pelly Peter Walter jun.
Roger Dowe George Person William Walter
Alexander Ebsworthie Samuel Poade John Weekes
Paul Ebsworthie, gent Richard Prust John White
Peter Ebsworthie sen.,gent.  John Redstone sen. John White
Peter Ebsworthie jun, gent. John Redstone jun. John Wilkey
Peter Ebsworthie of Ebsworthie Edward Reed Richard Williams
Richard Ebsworthie Thomas Reed Stephen Williams
George Freece Robert Roundle Thomas Williams
Richard Frend John Rowndell Thomas Wonacott
John Gill Edward Saunders John Yolden
William Gill Ezekiel Saunders Richard Yolden

James Tooker - Curate

William Ebsworthie - Constable

Richard Tapson - Constable

Walter Gill - Overseer

Henry Horne - Overseer

Richard Tickell - Overseer

John Quint - Churchwarden

(All 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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