Protestation Returns 1641
Transcribed from original returns on microfilm by Tony Higgins.
English Revolution (1640-60) began in November 1640 when Charles 1st.
summoned Parliament to help him out of a financial crisis. Charles was
very unpopular and was forced to agree to radical reforms which gave
Parliament a more prominent roll in the constitution.
The political crisis escalated and the "Long Parliament" split into two opposing parties in the Autumn of 1641, forming the King's party of Royalists (Cavaliers) and the Parliamentarians (Roundheads), who demanded further political and religious reforms. The events of 1640/41 led to the Civil War which began in August 1642.
It was agreed and ordered on the 3rd May 1641, that every Member of the House of Commons should make a protestation (declaration of loyalty), which the House of Lords also agreed to the following day.
The Commons ordered the printing of the protestation and preamble on the 5th May 1641 and this was distributed by the Members to their counties. The Protestation was to be made by everyone and the Rectors, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor had to appear before the Justices of the Peace in their Hundred to make their protestation and, on returning to their parishes, any two of them were to witness the taking of the Protestation Oath by all males over the age of 18 years. All names were listed and anyone who refused was to be noted.
The protestation itself reads:-
I,-------- do, in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow, and protest to maintain, and defend as farr as lawfully I maye, with my Life, Power and Estate, the true Reformed Protestant religion, expressed in the Doctrine of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations, within this Realme, contrary to the same Doctrine, and according to the duty of my Allegiance, His Majesties Royal Person, Honour and Estate, as alsoe the Power and Privileges of Parliament, the lawful Rights and Liberties of the Subjects, and any person that maketh this Protestation, in whatsoever he shall do in the lawful Pursuance of the same; and to my power, and as farr as lawfully I may, I will appose and by all good Ways and Means endeavour to bring to condign Punishment all such as shall, either by Force, Practice, Councels, Plots, Conspiracies, or otherwise, doe any Thing to the contrary of any Thing in this present Protestation contained: and further, that I shall, in all just and honourable ways, endeavour to preserve the Union and Peace betwixt the Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland: and neither for Hope, Feare, nor other Respect, shell relinquish this Promise, Vow and Protestation.
(Note: Ornate letters and unusual spellings introduce uncertainties.)
A note of all the Names that have taken the Protestation:
William Wilkins Sen
William Wilkins Jun:
Matthew Romayn – Rector, Stoke Gaylard
Richard Bunter – Churchwarden
Edward Cox – Overseer
Thomas Goodfellow – Overseer
We whose are here subscribed were present at the taken of the protestation of these men, whose names are here set down.