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MARYSTOWE - 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.

Marystowe belonged to the Hundred of Lifton*

The original spelling has been preserved

John Badlam John Grilles Bartholomew Reddacliffe
Gideon Basely John Grilles John Reddacliffe
Pasco Basely Davy Ham John Reddacliffe
Richard Bickell Ambrose Harris Bartholomew Ribtow
Edmund Blachford Edward Hawkins John Robins
John Blachford William Hawkins Ralph Rowse
Joseph Bowden Bartholomew Hill Vincent Rowse
Arthur Burly William Homes Bartholomew Searginnt
John Burnard John Honnedon John Skelly
Jepharie Creese John Hooper Simon Soper
George Davie Ralph Hornabrooke William Torlittle
John Deane Davy Jackeman Michael Tuddie
Robert Dinner John Johns James Turner
Nicholas Doidge John Maynard Thomas Walkey
John Downe Lewis Maynard James Whitborne
John Foster Nathaniel Maynard Michael Willes
Arthur Gerry Oliver Maynard John Williams
Richard Glanfeild Thomas Mohun John Williams
William Greene Edward Nasam Thomas Williams
James Gregory John Oliver Barnabas Wise
Bartholomew Grilles Nicholas Pellow Henry Woolridge
Bartholomew Grilles William Pengelly ? Woolridge

Bernard Hernaman - Rector

William Burkett - Constable

Arthur Holman - Constable

 

* 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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