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EXBOURNE - 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.

Exbourne belonged to the Hundred of Black Torrington

The original spelling has been preserved

John Acklande Richard Doune Giles Maunder
Walter Arscott Richard Doune Thomas Mayor
John Ausburne William Doune John Medland
Robert Avery William Downe Robert Medland
Richard Badcocke James Drew James Mortimer
Simon Baker George Eastbrooke Thomas Mortimer
Roger Bellomy Simon Eastbrooke John Nosworthy
Arthur Bickle Simon Eastbrooke William Nosworthy
John Bormane William Eastbrooke William Olliver
Bezaliel Bricke William Eastbrooke Edmund Peale
John Brocke Robert Ellot William Pearce
John Brocke George Franke Ezekiel Pottenbury
Mark Brocke John Gale Richard Pottenbury
Michael Brocke John Gale John Price
Moses Brocke William Gale Nicholas Rattenbury
Richard Brocke William Gale John Rudde
Richard Brocke William Gale William Searle
Richard Brocke Joshua Gregory Richard Smale
Simon Brocke Roger Heathman Mark Snell
Simon Brocke Christopher Hender William Thomas
Walter Brocke John Hobs Richard Tumbles
William Brocke Thomas Hoccaday William Tumbles
Richard Butcher Robert Hole John Westlake
John Clement John Holmes Nicholas Westlake
Richard Clinnocke Richard Homes Nicholas Westlake
William Collins John Hunt Simon Westlake
John Coombe David Joanes George Westway
Robert Commbe John Jordane George Westway
John Creemer John Jordane Roger Westway
James Cupper Hunphrey King Simon Westway
William Denaford John Kinge Simon Westway
John Doune John Lange Roger Whitehaire
John Doune Willilam Lillicrap Moses Williams
Leonard Doune William Lopus John Worden

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

Thomas Finney - Clerk

Nicholas Westlake - Constable

George Westway - Churchwarden

Simon Baker - Overseer

William Tumbles - 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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