Cornwall Protestation Returns 1641 - 1642

 The returns relate to the years 1641- 42, around the start of the Civil War. The Protestation was an Oath of loyalty to Parliament and to the King, and was originally drawn up and taken by the members of the House of Commons on 3rd of May 1641, the following day the protestant Peers in the House of Lords also swore it.
n the 30th July the House of Commons passed a resolution that all who refused the Protestation were unfit to hold office in Church or Commonwealth. The scope was widened so that it should be sworn by all adult males, in some parishes officials also recorded females, in others it seems some families had only the Head signing or making a mark.
uring the earlier stages of the return, collecting signatures and marks to swear loyalty; seemed to go hand in hand with a "Collection in Aid of Distressed Protestants in Ireland". A valid reason for Catholics to avoid it perhaps?. Avoidance could be difficult though, as a team or bench of local dignitaries (constables, magistrates, clergy, overseers etc) who would know of most inhabitants of the parish - heard their Protestation Oath & witnessed it.

 The Protestation Oath:
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.     

 The meaning of the words : Protestation and Condign at the time of this Oath. Click Here

 Omissions from the Cornish Protestation Returns:
All Parishes are included, except : Jacobstow, St. Austell, Truro, St. Neot, Isles of Scilly.
Although the Isles of Scilly are not shown as omitted, and the remaining Parishes in the Hundred of Penwith are all included, unfortunately for Scillonian genealogy researchers the information for the islands is nowhere to be found. ( unless of course you know better? please, please, e-mail me if you know the whereabouts of Protestation Returns for the Isles of Scilly. ).
Despite the 5 missing Parishes we are still very fortunate that so much of this valuable genealogical information is available to us in Cornwall, for many other Counties the Protestation Returns are very patchy, in some Counties very little survives.

 Location: A printed collation of work by R.M. Glencross & H.L. Douch, edited by T.L. Stoate in 1974 entitled "Cornwall Protestation Returns" is available for your perusal at the Cornwall Record Office, Truro. It has no I.D. or "piece number" but is on the open shelving behind the reception desk. This tome not only has lists of names in each Parish, it also has a county wide surname index.!

 Further reading: details of the returns & taxes of this period can be found in "The Protestation Returns 1641-42 and other contemporary listings" by Jeremy Gibson and Alan Dell published by the Federation of Family History Societies. ISBN 1 86006 006 4.


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