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ASHTON - 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.

Ashton belonged to the Hundred of Exminster

The original spelling has been preserved

John Alford Thomas Edwards Matthew Mayger
Arthur Amery Thomas Edwards Matthew Osborne
Richard Babidge Nicholas Ellett Nicholas Parr
Peter Banden Richard Ellicombe Hugh Pearce
William Banden John Eyton Robert Pearce
Barnard Bennett Edward Floud Edward Preyton
Robert Bennett John Flouds Thomas Pynforde
Henry Berry Edward Ford James Renalls
Peter Binden Hugh Freer Matthew Rew
Edward Blachford Simopn Fume  Hugh Robbidge
Hugh Blachford William Gray Henry Robridge
George Blatchford Rees Griffin Arthur Rod
Theophilus Blatchford Paul Grosse John Rod
Theophilus Blatchford John Hall William Salter
John Bond William Hall Thomas Sherman
John Bowden Philip Hayward Bartholomew Sprey
Robert Bradford Henry Heading Hugh Staplehill
Anthony Burton Nicholas Holman Richard Surcum
Christopher  Chudleigh Thomas Holman Augustine Symons
George Chudleigh William Holman George Symons
Robert Connett George Honiwell John Way
Hugh Cudlery Richard Honiwell John Weymoth
Mathew Dod William Honiwell John Whildon
James Eayton Richard Howle Walter Wilkaines
James Edwards Richard Langaller Peter Wreford
Simon Edwards Roger Luxmoore John Wyon

(All the above names in the same hand)

The following is a signature

 

John Alford - Minister

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

 

 
 
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