During the spring of 1641 there was great unrest in Parliament with discord between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and plots and sub-plots against both the King and Parliament itself. In May 1641 Parliament agreed upon the following Protestation Oath
“ I, ?--- ?--- do in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow and protest to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully I may, with my Life, Power and Estate, the true reformed Protestant Religion, Expressed in the Doctrines of the Church of England, against all Popery and Popish Innovations, within this Realm, contrary to the same Doctrines, and according to the Duty of my Allegiance, His Majesties Royal Person, Honour and Estate, as also the Power and Privileges of Parliaments, the Lawful Rights and Liberties of the Subjects, and every person that maketh this Protestation. in whatsoever he shall do in the lawful Pursuance of the same; and to my power. and as far as lawfully I may, I will oppose and by all good ways and means endeavour to bring to condign punishment all such as shall, either by Force, Practice, Counsels, Plots,, Conspiracies, or otherwise, do 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, Fear nor any other Respect shall relinquish this Promise, Vow and Protestation."
On the 6th May 1641 a Bill was introduced in the House of Commons imposing the signing of the Protestation on all Englishmen of 18 years and above. All who refused to sign were deemed unfit to hold office in Church or Commonwealth.
At the end of February or the beginning of March 1641 incumbents read out the Protestation in the parish churches. The parishioners then signed or made their mark before him and the other officials present, who testified that the oath had been taken, or refused. Many women took the Protestation Oath. Many Roman Catholics refused.
The only safe assumption as to whether a man could or could not write is where it says he made his mark. Many incumbents wrote the whole list of names. In many family groups every name was written by one person. Do not assume that a man could write even if it does not say he marked.
This work is a transcription of a transcription and is therefore open to human error. As always the original documents should be consulted. The original Protestation Returns are held in the Parliamentary Archive in the House of Lords Library.
Source: "Cornwall Protestation Returns 1641" from a transcript (circa 1914) by Reginald Morshead Glencross, additional material by H L Douch, edited and published by T L Stoate 1974