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MARTINHOE - 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.

Martinhoe belonged to the Hundred of Sherwill

The original spelling has been preserved

Anthony Bale Henry Gube John Pile, sen
John Bale Richard Gube John Pile, jun
Richard Bale Richard King jun Richard Pile
Richard Bayley Anthony Kinge Robert Pile
Anthony Berrie Richard Kinge jun Alexander Richards
John Blackmore Richard Loveren Holles Richards
Richard Blackmore sen. Anice Millar George Rooke
Richard Blackmore jun. Richard Norman Richard Rooke
Richard Blackmore Thomas Norman Thomas Score
Roger Bromham David Ownes Nathaniel Scratenger
William Cooke Alexander Parken Thomas Scratenger
William Cotes Philip Pigge Richard Thorne
Thomas Darlinge Edward Pile Stephen Thorne
John Daniell Eammanuel Pile Thomas Thorne
Humphrey Fleminge John Pile, tailor -

(All the above names in the same hand)

Richard Bayley - Rector

Richard Norman - Churchwarden

 

* 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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