THE PROTESTATION RETURNS FOR ST ALBANS 1641/1642 Transcribed by the Seventeenth Century Population Research Group
of the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society The Protestation was initiated by the House of Commons during the reign of Charles I as an oath of loyalty at the time of political crises prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. The aim of the Protestation was to drum up loyalty first to the Church of England, secondly to the King, thirdly to Parliament and fourthly, to the lawful rights and liberties of subjects.(1) It was requested that all males over the age of eighteen take the oath and returns were made to Parliament.
Organisation of the swearing was in the hands of local dignatories and parish officers. The return for St Albans is now in the House of Lords Record Office and has been transcribed by the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society Seventeenth Century Research Group. The return is introduced in the following way:
The Burrough of St Albans
and part of the Liberty thereof
in the County Afforesaid
To the Right Honorable the House of Commons
now assembled in Parliament
The certificate of William New Maior of the Burrough
aforesaid and John Robotham Esq two of His Majesty’s Justices
for the Burrough and Liberty aforesaid as followeth
That according to the letters from the said house unto us directed under the hands of the right worshipful William Lenthall Esq Speaker of the said house we our selves have taken the protestacon and have called before us the Ministers Churchwardens and Overseers for the poore and Constables of every parish within our said division who have likewise taken the protestacon aforesaid in our presence videlicet.
After this introduction the names of the vicars of each parish, the churchwardens, overseers of the poor and the constables are given and these have been included in the accompanying lists.
The return is organised by wards. Six hundred and eighty names are listed on the return for the three parishes which form the Borough of St Albans, the Abbey, St Michael’s and St Peter’s. The spelling of names has been standardised, using the extensive data accumulated by this Research Group. Further information about the individuals listed regarding their status, families and occupation, if known, may be obtained from the Society.
A Whiteman, The Protestation Returns of 1641-1642 in Local Population Studies No.55 Autumn 1995.