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HIGH BRAY - 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 Bray belonged to the Hundred of  Sherwill

The original spelling has been preserved

John Abbott Nicholas Hancocke John Ridd
Henry Allen Henry Herder William Ridd
John Ash Elias Hollery Abraham Row
Christopher Barrow William Huxtable Abraham Scott
Christopher Barrow Richard Kedwill Abraham Scott
Humphrey Barrow Walter Kedwill sen. Henry Scott
Thomas Barrow Walter Kedwell jun . James Scott
Thomas Barrow jun. William Kedwill John Scott
Thomas Bawill Leonard Lande Richard Scott
John Beare Daniel Leorthy Roger Scott
Thomas Binddam John Leorthy Walter Scott
John Blake William Leorthy William Scott
John Bright William Mills John Sheare
Richard Bright Anthony Molle Henry Slade
Roger Bright Bartholomew Moore John Slade
Richard Bronham Bartholomew Muxworthy John Sloly
John Burges Daniel Muxworthy Christopher Sommerwill
Thomas Bushton Thomas Muxworthy John Sommerwill
Humphrey Clotworthy Walter Muxworthy Abraham Thorne
Thomas Clotworthy William Muxworthy Abraham Thorne
Roger Cookesley Nicholas Necke John Thorne
William Coombe John Nychoell James Tooker
Richard Dallin Thomas Nychoell Joseph Tooker
George Gibbons Simon Osmond John Treble
Robert Gibbs Edmund Parking William Treble
William Gould Richard Parking John Welsh
William Greenwaie Richard Pasmoore John Welsh
Thomas Greenway John Penrose Christopher Widlake
George Gubb Henry Poope - - - - 
Edward Hammond Leonard Pugsley - - - -
The High Bray Protestation Return does  not appear to have been signed by witnesses.  

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

 
 
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