Protestation of 1641
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The Protestation was an attempt to avert the English Civil War. In July 1641, Parliament passed a bill authored on May 3 requiring those over the age of 18 to sign the Protestation, an oath of allegiance to King Charles I and the Church of England. No one could hold a Church or state office without signing.
The speaker of the House of Commons sent a letter to sheriffs of each county. They and the Justices of the Peace had to take the Protestation. From there, each parish incumbent was to read the Protestation in church to his parishioners and have each one sign. This took place during February and March 1642, after which the returns were sent to Parliament. Those among the population who could not write marked a cross against their names. Those who did not wish to have their names used in support were also listed in the Protestation.
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