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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*

Atherington belonged to the Hundred of North Tawton

The original spelling has been retained

Robert Atken Thomas Grater John Nichols
Balthazar Ayre, gent. John Hales Thomas Olger
Edward Bannd Christopher Hancoke John Ovarley
George Bannd Joseph Harris Robert Padden
John Barnfild Hercules Heard Thomas Padden
Robert Beale William Headinge sen. Laurence Pearse sen
Nicholas Berry William Heardinge jun. Laurence Pearse jun.
Roger Boston William Heman Thomas Pearse
Richard Boucke Arthur Hayman William Pearse
William Browne Gilbert Holloms John Pende
George Budd Henry Houlle Richard Pender
John Budd George Hyde Robert Pender sen.
Miles Bullen Arthur Isaac, gent. Robert Pender jun.
Henry Busell Arthur Jaell Thomas Pillwen
Christopher Cawse Philip Joanes Henry Reed
Richard Cawsie Thomas Joanes John Rogerman
Robert Cawsie William Juell Arthur Ruseter
John Coale Richard Kelley sen. Thomas Ruston
Philip Coale Richard Kelley jun. John Saige
Robert Coale sen Robert Kelley Macklen Saige
Robert Coale jun. Francis Lee Humphrey Sercom, gent.
Simon Coale James Ley John Shooute
Henry Cobble John Ley Abraham Snowe
Arthur Cockley Joseph Ley Philip Snowe
Anthony Coman John Leye John Stanberie
Simon Cottell Bartholomew Locke John Steere
Charles Couch Christopher Locke Thomas Steere
Hugh Coume John Lounday Thomas Symons
Richard Couniber John Luckcom Roger Tannor
Arthur Courtis Robert Luckcom John Tom
John Courtis Thomas Luckcom Laurence Torsell
Thomas Courtis Christopher Lugg William Trip
William Courtis John Lugg John Vicary, clerk
Humphrey Davie Thomas Mackdipe Philip Vos
Arthur Donne Richard Maden Henry Walter
John Donne Gilbert Marten Hugh Walter
Robert Ferett Anthony Martyne Thomas White
Francis Fringe Henry Mellhushe Elias Wilkin
John Galsworthy Richard Moon James Williams
John Gifford, gent. Anthony Moon John Willmett
Arthur Grater Davy Nicholl Roger Witheridge, clerk
Richard Grater John Nichols John Woolacott


Lewis Vicary - Rector

John Gyffard - Churchwarden

Philip Coale - Churchwarden

George Hyde - Constable

Robert Coale - Overseer

John Landye - Overseer


* 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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