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CHURCHSTOW - THE PROTESTATION RETURN OF 1641

 

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.

 

 

Churchstow - the main road

Churchstow - the main road

© Richard J. Brine

 

The Protestation Returns are arranged by parishes

which are grouped in Hundreds*

Churchstow belonged to the Hundred of Stanborough

(The original spelling has been retained.)

Arthur Baron William Hingston Nicholas Putt
John Baron William Horesman Richard Putt
John Barons Lewis Horteman Roger Putt
Thomas Beale Thomas Jarvis John Ryder
Andrew Beare John Knowlinge William Shephard
Philip Binmoore James Lee Christopher Sherwell
John Castleman John Lee Laurence Sparkwell
Matthew Castleman Philip Lee John Sparkwill
William Coat Thomas Lee Christopher Squire
John Cook Tristram Lee William Stidston
John Coyt Walter Lee Philip Talman
Simon Coyt William Lee Richard Tilman
Richard Denlow John leigh James Terrie
Roger Denlow Thomas Lidston John Terrie
William Downynge Thomas Lidston Thomas terry
Athur Foster William Luccraft William Terry
Richard Foxworthy Zacheus Merifild Bernard Thorne
Ralph Hartland James Nicholls Arthur Webber
Alexander Hept Henry Pinwell Arthur White
John Hingston Simon Pinwell Thomas White
John Hingston Thomas Pinwell John Winmoy
Owen Hingston Robert Pittin  
Thomas Hingston Peter Pridean  

All the above 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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