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HIGH BICKINGTON - 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.

High Bickington belonged to the Hundred of North Tawton

The original spelling has been preserved

John Acland Roger Gyles John Penter
Lewis Acland William Foxe Nicholas Pow
John Addenton Gent Nicholas Geene Mr Richard Pridiese
Thomas Addenton Gent Michael Goodman Roger Pulley
Andrew Allforde Michael Goodman John Pyncombe
John Barnes Thomas Goodman Jasper Quicke
John Barnfilde Richard Grimslade William Quicke
Peter Barnpole Thomas Gyninge Philip Saige
Henry Barry Henry Halse John Sander
John Barry John Hanford John Shapland
Philip Barry John Hanford Leonard Shorte
Simon Beare James Harris William Shorte
Henry Blackford Robert Harris Nicholas Shutt
William Botfilde John Harrison gent Thomas Smale
Thomas Bowen Arthur Heale George Smyth
Daniel Bragg Henry Heale Matthew Sticke
John Bragg William Heale John Stribline
Tristram Bragg William Heale William Stribline
Henry Briante John Hearde Rise Tamsas
John Bright Francis Hearne Michael Taylder
William Buggs John Hearne Nicholas Taylder
Paderick Cawsey John Hearne Philip Taylder
Thomas Cawsey Michael Hearne Peter Treby
Henry Cole Thomas Hearne Arthur Tremeane, Gednt
John Cole John Hill John Vamstone
Richard Cole Thomas Hill Matthew Vanstone
Henry Courties William Hockinse Tobias Vanstone
William Courtis Pentecost Hyde Thomas Walse
Francis Cowman Richard Hyde Thomas Warde
John Cowman Evan Jones Austin Ware
John Cowman Theophilus Juell Anthony Webber
John Crocker William Juell Joseph Willis
Hugh Curtis James Kelley Thomas Willmat
William Davy William Kocke Thomas Willmatt
William Davy Philip Kockleade Thomas Willmott
Gregory Dell Thomas Lewes John Willmott
James Dell Anthony Loveband John Woolacomb
Philip Dencombe Constantine Padden John Woolacott
John Dobb George Pender Joseph Woolacott
Roger Dobb Morgan Phillips Richard Woolacott
William Dobb William Phillips Samuel Woolacott
John Downe George Pillavine Simon Woolacott
Matthew Downe Eusebius Pollard Thomas Woolacott
Andrew Fewen George Pollard, Gent Thomas Woolacott
John Fewen Richard Pollard Esq. William Woolacott
Michael Fewen John Pooke Edward Youldon
Robert Fewen Matthew Pooke John Youldon
Bartholomew Fletcher Thomas Pooke ----
John Gyles John Pow ----

(The names are written in the same  hand -

the following eight are signatures)

 John Shill - Curate

John Bragg - Constable

Philip Tracey - Constable

Edmund Dobb - Churchwarden 

Maurice Hollamore - Churchwarden

Anthony Eyre - Overseer

John Rowcliffe - Overseer

 

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

 

 
 
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