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HOLCOMBE BURNELL PROTESTATION RETURN

(known today as LONGDOWN)

 

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.

Holcombe Burnell belonged to the Hundred of Wonford

The original spelling has been preserved

Thomas Bangaine William Hubbart John Towill sen
Christopher Browne Robert Lake John Towill jun
Alexander Bury Anthony Moxhey John Townsinge
Robert Bysse Richard Morrish Robert Townsinge
Christopher Caseleigh William Oldwin Robert Townsinge
Robert Ellacott John Pearse William Townsinge
William Ellacott John Ponsford Robert Wescott
Michael Gaffery Anthony Rowsewell Robert Wescott
John Hept Thomas Stanye William Wescott
Henry Hoare John Syman John Westcott
Richard Hoare Robert Symon -----
John Hubbart John Taylor -----

(The names are written in the same  hand

the following five are signatures))

 John Shilston - Vicar

James Hill - Constable

James Caseleigh- Churchwarden

Robert Pope - Overseer 

John Ellacott - Overseer

 

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

 

 

 
 
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