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JACOBSTOWE - 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.

Jacobstowe belonged to the Hundred of  Balck Torrington

The original spelling has been preserved

William Bend Oliver Gone Thomas Punder
John Bickle John Holmes Richard Rook
John Bowden William Jewell Richard Rooke, jun.
Richard Bowden John Kellend John Smale
John Bradley Philip Lane Richard Southcomb
William Bread sen. George Lethbridge, Gent George Summers
William Brend jun Thomas Lethbridge, Gent Edward Turner
John Brock Thomas Medland Francis Turner
Richard Brocke William Medland George Turner
Richard Brocke Henry Moses Richard Turner
Samuel Cane John Nealor William Turner
Richard Crispin Philip Nealor Richard Weekes
Richard Coleman Samuel Nealor John Weimouth
John Crooker Richard Nethercot Matthew Westlake
William Downe John Oliver Robert Whiteheare
Ananias Eme Alexander Philip Christopher Wilkey
John Founsford Hugh Pollard, Gent ----

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

Michael Porter - Rector

John Smale - Constable

George Sumer - Churchwarden

Richard Rooke - Overseer

Richard Weeks - Overseer

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

 

 
 
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