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DUNSFORD - 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.

Dunsford belonged to the Hundred of  Wonford

The original spelling has been preserved

Christopher Abram Gregory Happer William Polham
John Avente Matthew Harper Andrew Preston
Nicholas Awstine Alan Hayes Robert Preston
George Baylie Geoffrey Hayes William Roche
Thomas Bennet John Hedgland Jonas Rogers
John Bennett James Hill Henry Rogers
Geoffrey Berrye John Hill John Sakine
John Borage Walter Hill Andrew Sellye
William Borage William Hill Laurence Sellye
Thomas Boveridge William Hubberd Laurence Sellye
John Bremelcomb Edward Jeffery John Shilston
William Bremelcomb Edmund Jefford Mark Shilston
Humphrey Brolcomb Nathaniel Jefford Pewter Shilston
Richard Brookinge John Jeffrey Thomas Shorcombe
Charles Browninge Henry Jenkine John Smalridge
Thomas Burd Peter Jervis John Smalridge
William Burd James Joyce Richard Smalridge
William Burd John Knight William Smythe
Thomas Coke Thomas Knight Humphrey Southcomb
John Cole John Lake Nicholas Stoneman
John Collysole Richard Lake Richard Stoneman
Stephen Collysole Thomas Lake James Strange
Humphrey Colridge Richard Langbridgee John Syms
Nicholas Colridge William Langbridge Humphrey Tallman
William Colridge John Laskey Edward Tapper
William Colrdige William Legg William Taverner
John Connett Robert Legge Peter Tincomb
John Connot William Maye James Tozer
James Cornish John Miller John Trulock
Robert Dade William Molloms Thomas Wadlie
Robert Davye George Moore James Wadlye
Edward Deeme Giles Morley Humphrey Wallacsett
Robert Deymont Thomas Mortemer Richard Watlers
Thomas Downinge Nathaniel Mortimer John Weeks
Samuel Dowrish Henry Mortymer Thomas Weller
John Edmont Simon Mortymer Andrew Westcott
Stephen Edmont Thomas Mortymer John White
Nathaniel Ellacott William Mosley Edward Wils
Richard Elliott James Narracott Austin Woodley
Nicholas Esworthye Thomas Narracott Thomas Woodlye
Thomas Ewens Thomas Narracott John Woodlye
Humphrey Flowd Thomas Nycols John Wylliams
Matthew Ford Edward Odem John Wyter
Thomas Fulfords John Owen John Yendall
William Garnett Andrew Payne John Yeo
George Gaskine John Payne Robert Yeo
George Hamline Nicholas Payne -
Humphrey Hamlyn William Perrye -

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

? Garnett - Vicar

Robert Mortemer - Churchwarden

John Sheares - Churchwarden

Thomas Browninge - Constable

John Browninge - Overseer

Leonard Cann - 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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