Who in Thorncombe did not sign the 1723 Devon Loyalty Oaths and Why?

By Eve Higgs

Parish Reconstitution

In order to explore the reasons behind Thorncombe's low turn-out, a list of those aged over 18 who were likely to be living in Thorncombe Parish in 1723 was drawn up. The list, a reconstitution of sorts, drew material from the following sources spanning 1674-1723.

Given none of the paupers listed in the overseers' accounts signed the 1723 oath roll, it can be implied that the qualification of holding or renting property worth over £10 per annum was applied in Thorncombe Parish. Details of quarterly rentals due listed in the 1724 rental show none meet the £10 property holding eligibility criterion. However, Francis Gwyn is among those listed as a Sadborow tenant, which suggests the existence of multiple leases. Other individuals may also have rented land from the Forde Abbey Estate which abuts Sadborow. Alas rental lists from Forde Abbey for this period do not appear to have survived to provide evidence to explore this theory.

The problems of multiple duplicate forename/surname combinations notwithstanding, a significant proportion of individuals whose baptisms had been registered in Thorncombe Parish but who were otherwise unaccounted for, was identified. Further analysis identified groups of missing marriers, fathers whose children were baptised, but whose names did not appear elsewhere in the parish registers. This suggested the presence of significant numbers of migrants and dissenters in the community in 1723, for whom it was difficult to account without further evidence from other sources.

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  1. Stoate, Devon Hearth Tax Return. [back]
  2. DHC, 13/THORNCOMBE, Noble, A., Transcription of Parish Registers for Thorncombe, (1966). [back]
  3. Dorset History Centre, PC/THO3.1, Thorncombe Overseers Accounts 1722-1747. [back]
  4. Dorset History Centre, D/RGB/LL153, Thorncombe Rental 1724[back]