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EXMINSTER - 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.

Exminster belonged to the Hundred of Exminster*

The original spelling has been preserved

(Look out for Ellet (Elliott) and "Radwaye" (Reddaway) - local pronunciations!)

John Aiscewe John Griffin jun. George Pottle
Nathaniel Aishford, gent. Lewis Griffen John Pottle
Robert Babb William Griffen William Pottle
John Baker Roger Grove William Pottle
Richard Barlyben William Guy Thomas Preston
Charles Bastone James Hall Walter Pulley
Henry Bawden William Hall Richard Radwaye
William Bennett Henry Harris John Randall, gent.
Robert Bond John Hartwill George Ratcliffe
Thomas Box, gent. Josias Hartwill Tristram Ratcliffe
John Browne Christopher Hendy Hugh Reyment
John Brutnoll Walter Hill James Roberts
John Burden John Hodge Samuel Robins
Humphrey Cann Benjamin Hooper William Robins
Gilbert Carpinter George Hooper Edmund Rodes
John Carpinter jun. George Hooper John Roe
Richard Carpinter John Hooper John Rowe
Samuel Carpinter Richard Hooper Roger Rowland
Simon Carpinter Thomas Hooper Peter Sainthill, gent.
Thomas Carpinter Anthony Hoppine jun. John Sampford
Thomas Carpinter Richard Hoppine William Sampson
William Carpinter William Hoppine George Sanders
John Cobley Anthony Hoppyne George Sannders
Gregory Cockram William Horne

Simon Sannders

 (son of George)

George Collings jun. George James Robert Scutt
William Collings sen. Peter Jessen George Shutt
William Collings jun. Mark Jordan George Shutt
Nicholas Conett Philip Knight Robert Smith sen.
Matthew Coombe Philip Knight jun. Robert Smith sen.
James Cornish John Lambshead Robert Smith jun.
Nicholas Cornish John Lane Richard Stockey
Roger Cornysh Richard Lane NicholasTaylor
William Cove Tristram Lane Bernard Thorne
Lewis Crediford John Langdon, gent. Henry Tothill, gent.
Nicholas Crosman Richard Langley John Tothill sen.
William Cuttiford Matthew Lowton  William Towill
John Cuttiforde Otho Lowton Samuel Triggs
Emanuel Deniford George Lucombe Benjamin Trobridge, gent.
Robert Downeman John Mann John Tucker
Henry Downing Peter Marke John Tuckett
Richard Drewe Roger Maye William Tuckett
Nicholas Ellard John Meane Nicholas Turner
John Ellett John Meane William Varder
William Ellett Thomas Milford Nicholas Veall
Bartholomew Elston Simon Monnsdon sen. John Waltham, jun.
Nicholas Endecott Simon Monnsdon jun. Thomas Waltham, gent.
John Eveleighe William Monnsdon Josias Warren
Edward Farthinge William Nicholes Samuel Warren
Thomas Ford Richard Paddon William Weekes
Christopher Fowler Gilbert Pearse George Welch
Ambrose Frost Nicholas Penkivell Thomas Westcott
George Frost Anthony Peryman John Willes
John Fynch George Peryman Richard Willes
Andrew Gawlsworthy John Peryman Abel Williams
Humphrey Geere, gent. John Peter Esq. John Williams
Edmund Gosse Peter Pethebridge Richard Wilson
Mark Goulesworthy Thomas Poell

Edward Wiott, gent.

(absent)

Thomas Gribble Hugh Poolinge John Wood
John Griffen Thomas Pope Thomas Yeo

(The above name are in the same hand - the following five are signatures) 

 

Christopher Farimouth - Curate

Robert Crockhay - Constable & Churchwarden

John Tothill -  Constable

Philip Skynner - Churchwarden

Thomas Bennett - Overseer

John Nott - 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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