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FENITON - 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.

Feniton belonged to the Hundred of Hayridge

The original spelling has been preserved

Robert Abbotte Philip Goulde George Skynner
John Ashforde Stephen Goulde George Skynner sen.
Philip Baker Edward Kellwaye George Skynner jun
Robert Baker Michael Knolls John Skynner
Thomas Baker Thomas Maye Josias Skynner
James Bayley Robert Moore Michael Skynner
John Bayley Robert Moore jun. Nathaniel Skynner
Thomas Bayley William Moore Philip Skynner
Richard Bidgood Laurence Palmer William Skynner
William Borrowe Nicholas Palmer William Skynner
George Bronscombe James Parvatte Roger Sprague
Ricfhar Burnarde John Prew Ellis Stockham
John Byshoppe Walter Prew Thomas Stokes
Thomas Carnell Humphrey Priddis Andrew Till
Humphrey Clogge James Priddis Christopher Till
William Cotterell Laurence Salter Humphrey Till
William Cotterel jun Robert Salter William Till
George Dawe William Salter Walter Trosse, Gent.
Robert Ellis George Sannder Richard Vildewe
William Ellis Henry Sannder William Vildewe
James Favantt John Sannder James Warren
John Farvant Thomas Sannder John Warren
Christopher Fley Martin Sannders William Warren
John Fley Charles Short George Westcotte
William Fley Alexander Skinner Walter Westcotte
William Goulsworthy Humphrey Skinner Barnard Wright
John Gouylde Alexander Skynner Philip Wright, Gent

Charles Churchill - Minister

Fastian Braden - Constable

William Salter - Churchwarden

John Fley - Churchwarden

James Bishoppe - Overseer

Peter Barnscombe - Overseer

 

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

Taken from the transcription by A. J. Skinner of the Parish Registers which is available in the West Country Studies Library, Exeter.                                                                                          Courtesy: Devon County Council

 

 
 
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