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CHARLES - 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.

Charles belonged to the Hundred of  Shirwell

The original spelling has been preserved

Peter Baren George Harrys William Lee
Edmund Barrowe William Harrys George Lewes
John Barrowe Philip Hawkin Clement Leworthie
Richard Barrowe Thomas Hwkridge John Leworthye jun
Elias Bearde William Heddon Thomas Locke
Humphrey Blackmoore Thomas Hobbes Christopher May
Philip Boyle Christopher Huxtable Hugh Mayne
William Buckingham Christopher Huxtable David Moggridge
William Clatworthie Christopher Huxtable Elias Muxworthie
Richard Comer Edmund Huxtable John Muxworthie
Lewis Discombe George Huxtable Roger Muxworthie
Daniel Edger John Huxtable William Pillowin
John Edger John Huxtable sen. George Rude
Christopher Goulde John Huxtable jun. Richard Skinner
John Goulde sen. John Huxtable Jasper Smithe
John Gouylde jun Richard Huxtable Thomas Wilkey
Maskelyne Goulde Richard Huxtable jun William Wilkey
John Greeneway Nathaniel Kingsland John Willams
John Gulley Walter Kingsland ------
George Hamlyn William Lavers ------

(The above names are written in the same  hand; the following five  are signatures)

George Kellie - Clerk

Clement Rude - Constable

John Leworthie - Churchwarden

John Huxtable - Overseer

Thomas Davie - Overseer

 

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

 

 
 
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