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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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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.  An indexed transcription is available in the West Country Studies Library in Exeter.


The Protestation Returns are arranged by parishes which are grouped in Hundreds*

Lapford belonged to the Hundred of North Tawton

(The original spelling has been preserved)

Arscott, Hugh Hoare, Ralph Pope, William
Ballamy, George Holland, John Porthridg, Richard, jun.
Bater, John Holland, Robert Prest, Nicholas
Bearman, John Kelland, Christopher Prist, Richard
Bolton, Thomas Kelland, John Prist, Richard
Bowdon, John Kelland, Richard Prist, Robert
Burt, Francis Kelland, William Radford, James
Bury, Mr. Humphrey Kentsbeare, George Rattenbury, George
Bury, Mr. John Kentsbeare, Nathaniel Raymont, Robert
Can, Diggory Kentsbeare, Thomas Rogers, George
Challis, Christopher Lee, Christopher Rowdon, Durrant
Challis, John Lee, Robert Rowdon, Richard
Challis, Roger Lee, Roger Rowe, John
Cooke, Richard Lee, William Rudge, John
Cornew, Robert Lyne, Howell Rudge, Thomas
Dabb, Peter Martin, John Raymont, Richard
Davie, John Milford, Richard, sen. Searle, Nicholas
Densham, Christopher Milford, Richard Searle, Richard
Densham, Christopher Milford, Robert Snell, John
Densham, John Milford, Thomas Seely, Mr. Thomas, Clerk
Densham, Peter Molland, George, sen. Shapton, James
Densham, Robert Molland, George, jun. Sapton, John
Densham, Robert Moore, Simon Shapton, Richard
Dyer, Nicholas Nean, Thomas Snell, Anthony
Eare, Justinian Newcombe, William Snell, Thomas
Ellis, Hugh Norrish, John Sowdon, Hunphrey
Gibbings, John Norrish, John William Tolly
Gibson, Geoffrey Norrishe, Abraham Richard Tucker
Gratley, Robert Northcott, John John Venner
Grible, George Nott, Mr. John Thomas Welch
Grible, John Oldinge, George, sen. Welley, John
Grible, Robert Oldinge, George, jun. Wesland, Robert
Gunter, Robert Oldinge, John Whit, George
Gunter, Robert, jun. Parker, George Whit, Robert
Harrell, William Parker, Robert Whit, Thomas
Harryes, Thomas Parthridg, Edward Whit, William
Hayne, John Parthridg, James White, John
Heale, Thomas Partridge, Richard, sen. Williams, Nicholas
Heale, William Pitwood, Gilbert Woodward, Christopher
Heywood, Scipio Pope, Christopher  

Signed by 

Humphrey Bradford - Minister

John Shapton - Constable

John Snell - Overseer

Christopher Densham - Churchwarden


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