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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials



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.

which are grouped in Hundreds*

Spreyton belonged to the Hundred of Wonford

(The original spelling has been retained )

John Arscott William Hore Nathaniel Risdon
William Ballyhill William Lynscott Philip Rodes
William Batttishill John Man Thomas Rodes
Richard Brooke Sidrach Man Bartholomew Rowe
John Cadlake William Man Edward Rowe
Alexander Can Henry Mane Robert Rowe
Edward Can Peter Manly Thomas Rowe
John Can James Mannder William Rowe
Richard Can Bartholomew Martin William Rowe
Thomas Can George Martyn William Shillston
Walter Can Roger Martyn Andrew Shilston
William Can William Martyn George Smale
William Cockle William Martyn John Smale
William Cockle Daniel Moore William Smale
William Dickes jun Edmund Moore David Small
Thomas Eastebrooke Hugh Moore Daniel Tayler
Christopher Ednacott Bennet Nethercott John Tayler
Bartholomew Grosse Giles Pibes Thomas Tayler
William Grosse Hugh Pine Robert Taylor
John Gribble Richard Preston Elias Tremlett
Giles Heare Hugh Pyend William Tremlett
John Heare William Pyend Robert Tucker
John Heywood John Raddon John Vynecole

(The above all in the same handwriting)

Signed by 

William Dickes - Vicar

Nathaniel Risdon - Constable

William Lake - Overseer

John Baker - Overseer

Thomas Hore - 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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