Oaths of Allegiance: Bow, 1723

By Rita Balado, Carole Herbert and Trish Rodbourne


We are currently looking at a case brought to the consistory court in 1728 by John Pitts against the parishioners of Nymet Tracy for moving the pulpit in the parish church without obtaining a licence from the bishop. It is likely that several of the oath takers were involved and it must have been a drain on the church resources and a worry to the parishioners. The following are noted in the churchwardens' accounts: William Western for 4 journeys to Exon. for attending the court £00-12-00, Peter Cooke for court charges against John Pitts £12-06-02, and Daniel Marden (a courier), 22 journeys to Exon. to attend the Bishop's court against John Pitts.

We are still continuing our work, but are thinking from the evidence and information gathered that the oathtakers in Bow tended to be people with land or businesses or status who wished to protect their assets being seen to be politically correct. It is interesting that in the neighbouring parish of Clannaborough with a small population John Wreyford and his wife took the oath of allegiance despite being Protestant dissenters. We found information for 60 of the 65 oath takers 11 of whom were women. We used parish registers, parish deeds, the churchwardens accounts, overseers to the poor records, replies to Bishop's visitation queries for 1744, freeholders lists, documents for the Consistory Court for 1722, 1728, the Protestant Mercury 1714, 1739, 1740 and Bow applications for schoolmasters' licences (DHC, Moger PRS10/A).

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