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DUNKESWELL 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.

Dunkeswell belonged to the Hundred of  Hemyock

The original spelling has been preserved

Gawen Anton Nicholas Hale Roger Prowse
Thomas Ayshfor Davye Harrys Henry Pulman
James Backaler Thomas Hine Hannibal Rawe
Joseph Baker Amos Horwood Henry Rawe
William Baker Nicholas Horwood John Rawe sen.
John Bellett Thomas Horwood John Rawe jun.
John Bond Robert |Hutchings John Rawe
John Bowerman John Lesker William Rawe
George Bradbeare John Lewes William Rutley
Bartholomew Bropion John Manley Robert Salter
Nicholas Brownsey Peter Mannley Thomas Salter
Edward Bruford Ellis Mansell Edward Sander
Abraham Caddey John Mansell Richard Serle
John Chamberlen Michael Mansell Bartholomew Smith
Nicholas Collord Richard Mansell Edward Smith
Thomas Coumb James Marke William Smith
Humphrey Coumb sen Alexander Marshall Robert Southwood
Humphrey Coumb jun. Thomas Marshall John Streat
James Coxe John Mason Richard Vycary, Gent
John Coxe sen. John More John Vycary
John Coxe jun. John Mychell Robert Wasley
Richard Coxe Robert Mychell Clement Webber
Richard Coxe Richard Pring Edward Weley
John Darke Robert Pring Nicholas Weley
Edmund Davye Henry Potter John Welland
Robert Davye James Prowse Elmer Wise
John Dawe John Prowse sen. ---
Henry Grefen John Prowse jun. ---

(The above names are in the same hand, the following four are signatures)

Prosper Blauney - Minister

Honyball Rawe- High Constable and Warden

Andrew Whithorn - Petty Constable

Theophilus Marwoode - Overseer

* 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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