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INSTOW - 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.

Instow belonged to the Hundred of Fremington

The original spelling has been preserved

William Adams John Hamond David Penky
John Austin Henry Harknet Abraham Perry
Henry Babacom John Harkwel Howel Powel
William Backway Edward Harries Robert Prist
Henry Baldon George Harries William Pullmore, gent.
John Barngood John Harries Edmund Renalls, gent.
Peter Barry Peter Heard Edward Rennells, gent.
Anthony Beaple James Hill Hugh Rennells, gent
John Beaple Robert Hollwell George Robarts
Thomas Beaple William Horwood James Rudd
William Beard Thomas Howel Arthur Sanders
John Beere Martin Hucstable Obidiah Sanders
Oliver Beere William Hunt Hugh Shepard
Robert Bowden John Huppar Henry Sherland
Edward Branne George Jenkin James Sherland
Thomas Bristin Walter Jinkins Edward Simons
Anthon Burges Griffith Johans Edward Simons
Roger Burges John Johns John Simons
John Chapple Griffith Jones John Simons
John Cocke Henry Jones Nicholas Simons
Thomas Cocke William Jonns Christopher Sloly
William Cocke William Kingsland Robert Smalden
Humphrey Copelston, gent. John Langdon George Smale
Pasco Crocker Hasse Lewis Nicholas Thorne
John Dark John Lewry Davy Tomas
Jenkin Davy Matthew Long John Trowtt
Nicholas Dening John Madg Oliver Uphill
John Dining George May Philip Upreight
John Downe John Mechell Oliver Watts
George Elemett William Medland Richard Weslad
Roland Emland George Michel John Wetherdy
Anthony Emysland Richard Millar David Wetheridg
Richard Fensom Richard Millar Edward Wetheridg
Edward Ferne Robert Molltton Roger Wetheridge
John Fishly Gabriel Muscot Roger Wetheridg
Oliver Fishly George Musell William Wheland
Obidiah Flemer John Musell Obidiah Whitt
Anthony Frie Anthony Nicholl George Whitte
William Frier Henry Nichols John Whitte
George Fyshly Theophilus Oaks Hugh Wilkins
John Fyshly Walter Oens Thomas Wilkins
Arthur Garland Ciprian Owens William Wilky
John Gawen Walter Owens Anthony Williams
James Geples William Pareare -
John Grine Richard Peard -

Signed by

Jonathan Hanmer - Rector

George White - Constable

Richard Miller - Churchwarden

Richard Westlade - Overseer

David Wetheridge - 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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