Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Way Back Wednesday: Robert MURCH 1687

Robert MURCH, my 7th great grandfather, was born in 1687 in Ottery St Mary, Devon, UK.  In the 17th century, the population was swept up in the incidents relating to the Civil War between the supporters of the King (Charles I) and Parliament (Oliver Cromwell).  Names of battles at Nottingham, Edge Hill, Marston Moor, and Naseby were familiar to most.  But the Civil War was not only fought in faraway counties; it was also fought in Devon.  Royalist regiments under Lord Wentworth were camped at nearby Bovey Tracey, with Parliamentary forces under General Fairfax at Crediton and Moreton, and on 9 January 1646 was the Battle of Bovey Heath.

Plagues such as the Black Death and the Great Sweat, together with bad harvests and outbreaks of cholera which had previously been the biggest killers, were as nothing compared to the up-to-10% that were killed in the Civil War battles in the country.

But in 1688, there was a revolution in England of a different kind.  This was a revolution of religions.  In 1689 the Declaration of Rights confirmed that Catholics were barred from the throne of England.  The Toleration Act allowed ' hold services in licensed meeting houses and to maintain their own preachers (if they would subscribe to certain oaths) in England and Wales.' (The Victorian Web, David Cody, Associate Professor of English, Hartwick College).

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