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WEMBWORTHY - 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 king and to Parliament. 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.

which are grouped in Hundreds*

Wembworthy belonged to the Hundred of North Tawton and Winkleigh.

(The original spelling has been preserved)

Richard Bartlett Enoch Heywod Thomas Searle
Philip Beere Nathaniel Hill Owen Sheers
John Botfild Francis Hoye, gent. Lewis Skibboll
George Botfyld Peter Lake John Smyth
Hilary Bowdon Walter Lane Roger Southwood
Roger Bradford John Leighe Andrew Squire
George Burradge Amos Lot John Steven
John Callard John Lybbit Thomas Stile
Anthony Chapman Timothy Marke Thomas Stile
George Clarke John Marsford Timothy Stuckey
James Collacott Walter Mason John Toope
Richard Cremer Thomas Morrice Peter Vanstone
Andrew Cudmore Humphrey Newcombe John Vicary
John Densham Henry Norrish John Wade
Roger Densham John Paddon John Watkings
John Dilland Thomas Paddon Walter Watkins
Lewis Doggins Roger Pannacott Charles Webber
Henry Ford Ambrose Pitwood Robert Webber
George Fursdon John Pitwood, sen. John Westwaye
William Fursdon John Pitwood, jun. Humphrey Wilkings
Silvanus Furse Robert Pitwood Richard Wills
John Geere William Ponsford George Yorne
Andrew Goose John Quicke John Younge
Anthony Grater Francis Saule  
Peter Hartnoll Robert Saule  

Signed by Hugh Pike, Clerk

 

* 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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