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DODDISCOMBSLEIGH - 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 king and to Parliament. 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.  An indexed transcription is available in the West Country Studies Library in Exeter.

 

The Protestation Returns are arranged by parishes which are grouped in Hundreds*

Doddiscombsleigh belonged to the Hundred of Exminster

(The original spelling has been retained)

Oliver Aggitt Henry Godslande Thomas Petherbridge
James Amery Richard Godslande Andrew Phillips
Henry Barnell Stephen Godslande Carile Potam
Richard Belworthy John Grandlande Richard Potten
Daniel Berry jun. William Hains Thomas Potter
Henry Berry William Hiney Alexander Radforde
Henry Berry William Hiney John Risedon
William Berry Christopher Jeffrey George Rolston jun.
Gregory Bremblecombe William Langworthy Andrew Shilston
John Cannett sen. Richard Lee Walter Shilston
John Cannett jun. Benedict Legge John Skinner
William Cannett John Leman John Smaleridge
Henry Caseley Robert Lowton Richard Smaleridge
Francis Chrispin Benedict Luckis Robert Smaleridge
John Chrispin Christopher Luckis Arthur Soper
Peter Chrispin John Luckis John Southcombe
William Chrispin William Luscombe Richard Steephens
Hugh Cole William Maior John Strange
Philip Cole George Martyn Walter Strange
John Coleman Nathan May William Tapper
John Collmes Walter May John Weare
John Collridge Michael Miller John West
John Cornish John Milles John Whitelocke
John Daye Michael Mole Richard Whitelocke
Ralph Doddridge John Morse John Willes
Gilbert Dollinge Richard Morse John Willes
George Ellacott John Necke Richard Willes
Jeremy Ellacott William Parker sen. Thomas Willes
William Floude William Parker jun. Walter Willes
John Forde Bennett Payne Walter Williames
Christopher Fore William Perry  
Richard Glandfeild Thomas Petherbridge  
 

Mr. Robert Bayley, a popish recusant does absolutely deny to take the protestation

Signed by 

Michael Dollinge - Rector

Henry Berry - Churchwarden

William Babb - High Constable

William May - Overseer

John Willes - Constable

David Berry - Overseer

George Rolston - Constable

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