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BUCKLAND FILLEIGH - THE 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.

Buckland Filleigh belonged to the Hundred of Shebbear

The original spelling has been preserved

John Acland William Haine Edward Pare
Anthony Bealey Thomas Haslen Christopher Phenimore
Joseph Beaten Christopher Hatherly Thomas Phenimore
Laurence Bound Diggory Hawkens Edward Piper sen
Richard Brock Andrew Heale Edward Piper jun
Robert Burden William Holland, Gent Richard Piper
John Busse Hugh Holman Humphrey Predyap Gent
Henry Colles John Holman John Ratoley sen
Stephen Currey, Gent Anthony Honey Robert Ratoley
Lewis Durrant William Huchins Benjamin Risdon
Robert Durrant Richard Hucstable Daniel Skinner
John Fortescue Esq. John Jolley Walter Skinner
William Fortescue, Gent Roger Knight John Sweet
John Gilbert George Leves sen. Hugh Thorne
Richard Gilbert George Leves jun. William Tomes
Edward Glidden Robert Madge William Tucke
Paul Gradden Robert Maie Stephen Vanstone
William Gradden William Milford Owen Willyams, clerk
John Graden Nicholas More Henry Wilson, jun.
George Grenden Richard More James Wilson.
John Haine Walter Norman -----

Henry Wilson - Rector

John Huchins - constable

Joseph Risdon - Churchwarden

George Burden - Collector

Thomas Nichols - Collector

(All the names are in the same hand)

 

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

 

 
 
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