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KNOWSTONE PROTESTATION RETURN OF 1641/42

 

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.

Knowstone belonged to the Hundred of South Molton

The original spelling has been preserved

Richard Anstye Jonas Kelley Thomas Rowe
William Anstye Andrew Lake Henry Seaman
Richard Battin John Lake sen. John Seaman sen
Amos Bickner John Lake jun. John Seaman jun.
James Bisse Joseph Lake Peter Seaman
George Brooke Thomas Lange John Shapcott
Robert Bruer Thomas Lewes John Shapcott jun.
Thomas Burges Geoffrey Locke Paul Shapcott
Peter Bussell John Locke Robert Shapcott
Robert Bussell Geoffrey Luxton sen. Hugh Shirwill
John Campe Jehosofatt Marley Philip Staddon
John Chilcott George Milton Robert Staddon
Philip Chilladon John Moore George Tar
Roger Coles John Morrish John Toocker
Richard Crooke Robert Morrish William Towte
John Davye Amos Morse Robert Troote
Justinian Eare John Nott Ambrose Vycarye
James Ellacott John Parsons Edward Vycarye
John Elworthy John Pawlmer John Vycarye
William Elworthy John Peckard John Vylacott
Thomas Eyare Humphrey Pedsley Thomas Vylacott
English Goole John Pincombe Richard Walter
Thomas Gredslade John Pitman Daniel Westerne
Gabriel Hodge Ciprian Plinton Joseph Wilcokes
John Hodge Thomas Pollard George Woode
Nicholas Hodge William Pollard John Woode

 John Berrey is at London; John Avent, Robert Hodge and John Staddon are away; Philip Hill is sick and Thomas Grinslade did not take the protestation.

(All the above are in the same hand - the following are signatures)

Daniel Berry - Vicar

Peter Busell - Constable

George Brooke - Overseer

Henry Seaman - Churchwarden

 

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

 

 

 
 
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