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SHEEPWASH - THE PROTESTATION RETURN OF 1641

 

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 parishes

which are grouped in Hundreds*

Sheepwash belonged to the Hundred of Shebbear

(The original spelling has been retained )

Arthur Balkewell Aninias Grater Robert Perkins
Bartholomew Balkwell Robert Henton Leponard Perkins
Robert Balkwell John Hoccaday John Perryn
Roger Beaton Robbert Hoccaday Richard Peryn
Edward Beckelake Philemon Hole Peter Phillipps
Stephen Burdon George Horne Thomas Rowe
William Cocke Robert Horne Philip Quicke
Arthur Cooke Henry Jakeman Edward Rattenburie
Lewis Cuttinge Jacob James Robert Rawleigh
Francis Dabb John Jasper Richard Risdon
John Dawe John Jolleife Richard Risdon
Humphrey Durante Robert Jolleife John Scambe sen.
Joseph Durante William Kinseman John Scambe jun .
William Forde Thomas Legge Richard Scambe
John Glawne James Limebeare John Shorte
John Glawne John Limebeare Thomas Shorte
John Glevile Richard Limebeare John Smale
John Gliddon Anthony Lovier, Gent Thomas Symons
Nicholas Gliddon Leonard Lovier, Gdent Arthur Thorne, Gent
Nicholas Gorforde Emmanuel Morcombe Benedict Venton
Richard Gorford Humphrey Morcombe John Vednton
John Gowforde Paul Moyse William Westelake
William Gorman Thomas Par John Wills
 

William Mylton, an attorney of the law has not returned from London

(The above names are in the same hand; the following four are signatures)

John Collacott - Curate

Francis Dabb - Churchwarden

Robert Rowleigh - Constable

Thomas Short - Overseer

 

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

 

 

 
 
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