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WEARE GIFFORD  - THE PROTESTATION RETURN 

 

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.

Weare Gifford belonged to the Hundred of  Shebbear

The original spelling has been preserved

Richard Adams William Eyre William Pallett
John Attwill jun John Fall  Anthony Passmore
Nathaniel Attwill Richard Fall John Passmore
John Baker John Fallant Bartholomew Pugsley
Thomas Banbery John Farrie Richard Pugsley
John Bartlett David Farrier Walter Rewe
Lewis Bathe John Farrier John Richards
William Beare John Feale William Risdon
Emmanuel Berrell John Feard John Robin
George Bidder Hugh Fortescue Esq. Valentine Rolle, Gent
Matthew Bragg Richard Fortescue Gent John Sande
Richard Britton Peter Gorbard Robert Slowman
Thomas Britton Christopher Gorvard Philip Southcott
Thomas Burnbery Richard Griffin Oliver Spraye
George Chipleige Esq James Griffiths Walter Tayler
Robert Chillcott Richard Hancocke JenkinThomas
George Clarke John Hooper Roger Tooker
Arthur Cole John Jelhan William Tooker
Thomas Cole Arthur Kindsman Anthony Treble
William Cole John Kindsman Thomas Veale
Edward Colliberr Joshua Lambert William Vraye
John Cooper George Lamprey William Wadland
William Cooper Thomas Lane Arthur Williams
Leonard Cudmore Edward Mills Christopher Yeo
Thomas Daniell Richard More Francis Yeo
Morgan Davie Thomas Mountstevens Jonathan Yeo
William Davie William Mugford William Yeo
Augustine Eyre George Mussell - - - -
Ezekiel Eyre Richard Mussell - - - - 

All the above names in the same hand.The following two are signatures:

John Atwill - Clerk

Henry Cleverdon - Constable

 

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

 
 
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