In post-Reformation England the making of oaths was used by governments to assure loyalty and to flush out opponents to a particular religious and political cause. On occasion this would have involved certain Lapford villagers

One particular period of oath taking, 1714-1723, is particularly well recorded. Oaths were used during this troubled time to prevent Catholics from taking any political hold on power. In 1714, the Rector of Lapford, as a clergyman, was required to sign make two anti-Catholic oaths: an Oath of Abjuration (agreeing that the Catholic House of Stuart had no claim to the British throne) and a declaration against the Catholic belief of transubstantiation.

In 1715 The Papists Act required certain other individuals, including any suspected Catholics, to sign the Oath of Arbitration and, in addition, an Oath of Allegiance (to the King) and an Oath of Supremacy (effectively an anti-Catholic declaration). The Rector of Lapford made the oaths in Crediton and two other wealthy Lapford gentlemen, John Reed and William Gater, signed at Chittlehampton.

In 1723, the three oaths were embodied in The Oath Act. Everyone over the age of 18 was expected to sign by Christmas Day 1723. In Devon only 1 in 5 signed the oath—probably as punishment only applied to land and property owners. Exorbitant taxes had to be paid by those who refused to make the oaths, and those who failed to declare property had it confiscated. 63 villagers from Lapford and nearby Nymet Rowland signed the declarations under the Oath Act in October 1723. Some signed in Witheridge church, but the majority did so at The Bell Inn, in Chulmleigh.

Below is a listing of all known oaths taken between 1714 and 1723 by villagers from Lapford and Nymet Rowland

NameWhere signedDate
Benjamin Pearse, rector of Lapford & Nymet Rowland [Signed]North Tawton1714 (04 November)
Benjamin Pearse, Rector of Lapford and Rector of Nimet Rowland of Lapford [Signed]Crediton1715 (02 January)
Thomas Lethbridge of Nymet Rowland [Marked]Chittlehampton1715 (23 November)
William Gater of Lapford [Signed]Chittlehampton1715 (23 November)
John Reed of Lapford [Signed]Chittlehampton1715 (23 November)
Benjamin Pearse, gent of Lapford [Signed]Witheridge Parish Church1723 (05 October)
Mary Densham of Lapford [Marked "MD"]Witheridge Parish Church1723 (05 October)
Elizabeth Pearse of Lapford [Marked "E"]Witheridge Parish Church1723 (05 October)
Robert Brutton of Nymet Rowland [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Susanna Brutton of Nymet Rowland [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Northcot (Northcote) jun of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Mary Cooke of Lapford [Marked "C"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Dorothy Molland of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Agnes Molland of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Agnes Densom (Densam) of Lapford [Marked "A"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Elizabeth Sowdon of Lapford [Marked "S"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Ann Sowdon of Lapford [Marked "S"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Elizabeth Vellacot (Vellacott) of Lapford [Marked "V"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Ann Densam of Lapford [Marked "D"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Eleanor Partridge of Lapford [Marked "P"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Thomas Partridge of Lapford [Marked "P"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Roger Partridge of Lapford [Marked "P"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Thomas Lethbridge of Lapford [Marked "L"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Reed of Lapford [Marked "R"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Cooke of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Simon Moore of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Densham of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Densham of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Samuel Densham of Lapford [Marked "D"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Roger Densham of Lapford [Marked "D"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Robert Cooke of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Richard Sharland of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Rowdon of Lapford [Marked "R"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Prist of Lapford [Marked "P"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Jane Cocks of Lapford [Marked "C"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Mary Cooke of Lapford [Marked "C"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Samuel Molland of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
George Road of Lapford [Marked "R"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Hockins of Lapford [Marked "H"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Searle of Lapford [Marked "S"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Shorland of Lapford [Marked]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Molland of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Molland of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Roger Brayley of Lapford [Marked "B"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Benjamin Challis of Lapford [Marked "C"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Thomas Sowdon of Lapford [Marked "S"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Mathew Densham of Lapford [Marked "D"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Thomas Densham of Lapford [Marked "D"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Henry Stoneman of Lapford [Marked "S"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Tapp of Lapford [Marked "T"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Roger Reed of Lapford [Marked "R"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Packer of Lapford [Marked "P"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
James Hele (Healle) of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
John Welson of Lapford [Marked "N"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Roger Challice of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Ann Hele of Lapford [Marked "H"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Northcot of Lapford [Marked "N"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
James May of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Walter Tossell of Lapford [Marked "T"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Damaris Mann of Lapford [Marked "M"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Mary Kelland of Lapford [Marked "K"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
George Mathers of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
Richard Sowdon of Lapford [Marked "S"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Packer jun of Lapford [Signed]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (22 October)
William Gater of Lapford [Marked "G"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (23 October)
Robert Burridge of Lapford [Marked "B"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (23 October)
Robert Docket (Dockett) of Lapford [Marked "D"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (23 October)
Mathew Olden of Lapford [Marked "O"]Bell Inn, Chumleigh1723 (23 October)

Data in this database was originally transcribed by Friends of Devon Archives
©Friends of Devon’s Archives
http://www.foda.org.uk/oaths/intro/introduction1.htmations/intro/introduction1.htm