Personal Rule: Finance

  • Created by: Kate H
  • Created on: 08-04-15 14:44

Rule without Parliament

Customs reduced by merchant's refusal to pay tonnage and poundage-requires action

Customs reduced by war; still at war with France and Spain; peace in 1629 and 1630

Boycott of trade by merchants collapsed as it became apparent there would be no parliament and there would be no MPs to argue for them

Needs to find alternative to parliamentary subsidy, but things which would not be seen as illegal because could not afford to jepordise the support of the JPs.

Few options for Weston who was driven to exploit prerogative rights 

1 of 8

Customs Revenue

Peace and Trade

  • Peace brought commercial oppertunities; traded in arms, foodstuffs and military and naval supplies
  • With Dutch excluded, England obtained a near monopoly of the Iberian trade as well as continuing to trade with the north- Spanish needed trade after routes blocked by war
  • Unprecedented heights of  prosperity by the 1630s

Customs Revenues

  • With this prosperity there was a corresponding increase in crown revenue, two thirds of which accounted for by cutoms
  • This increase meant that by the end of the 1630s Charles was effectively solvent before 1629 debt of 1 million
2 of 8


Weston wanted to curb royal expenditure

Waste and extravagance

  • Royal household accounted for £260,000/year, about 40% of king's income
  • Size- employed between 1800 and 2600 people 
  • Waste- king had 24 meat dishes twice daily
  • Each day's ration allowance would have kept 2000 people for a year
  • Restricting diet would have saved £80,000/ year

Political risk and Weston's achievements

  • Reform to expensive politically
  • Many servants supplemented income through excessive ration allowance
  • Weston managed to halt upward curve of expenditure but few significant economies and no structural reform of finances
  • More due to increasing customs and prerogative rights that the crown was nearly solvent 
3 of 8

Prerogative Rights 1

Distraint of knighthood

  • One of the most successful ways of raising money
  • Raised £170,000, equiv. of 3 susbsides by end of 1630s
  • 'very greivous and no less unjust'
  • Unfair- those who were too young ; obselete custom- although legal
  • Lost loyalty for such a short term gain- false mine

Forest Law

  • Dubious application
  • Rockingham forest enlarged from six to sixty square miles
  • Earl of Salisbury fined £20,000

Land enclourse fines

  • Landowners fined up to £4000 for enclosing land
  • Did not even remove the enclosures for the good of the people
4 of 8

Prerogative Rights 2


  • Increased to a maximum of £35,000 in 1617-22
  • Unpredicatable and unfair, as with many other prerogative rights
  • Hated by aristocrats, whose support would be essential

Other unfair methods

  • Less important financially but still caused grievances
  • Proclamation against remaining in London without permission-justification was that gentry were needed in their localities/ one man fined £1000
  • Fined for building too near the captial 


  • Unfair, attacks on property, very group whose support was vital to the king
  • Abuse of prerogatives. Earl of Clare tried in Star Chamber for saying this

False mines- not sustainable sources 

5 of 8

Monopolies and Grants

1624 Statue of Monoplies

  • Broke it by exploiting a loophole that let him grant them to companies
  • Bitterly resented
  • Every £100,000 raised for king, £750,000 into pockets of patent holders

Soap monopoly (popish soap)

  • Espeically unpopular- prices rose, quality deteriorated and Catholics in the company, £29,000 a year by 1636

Licenses to export grain

  • Provked violence; private gain above interests of wider community

Office holders (people who won monopolies)

  • Neglected duties as they had them for life; won because King owed them or payed

Finance strains loyalties

  • Revealed in attacks of Long Parliament, rejoiced when William Noy died, taint of money into every transaction- lack of loyality and obedience
6 of 8

Ship Money

  • Levied in 1634 on coastal towns and everywhere in 1635
  • Every year until 1640, although it did all go to Navy, emergancy seemed questionable
  • 1638 Somerset grand jury complained "new invented ways"- innovation, against tradition
  • Raised £190,000/year and rate of non-payment just 2.5% in the first three years
  • Lots of opposition
  • Collection the duty of sheriff - heavy burden, and weakened support among gentry 
  • New ratings systems to spread burden of tax- Essex 1640, 3000 on rol for subsidy but 14500 assessed for ship money
  • More euitable but meant more people affected- easy target for parliament
  • Hampden's Case 1637>refused to pay. 5/12 judges refused to find for it> moral victory and justified opposition from the nation
  • 1638 amount collected fell by 20%
  • Coincided witi attempt to impose new prayer book on the Scots
  • Increases suspicion about it use- worried it would be used to oppose the Scots
  • By 1639 also demanding money for militia to figh the Scots and payment fell to 20%/
  • Could only be sustained when local elites gave their cooperation> collapsed
7 of 8

Opposition to Financial Policies

Seems to be going well

  • Calm on surface in 1637 "our times here are so quiet"
  • Country at peace, King in excellent health no sucession fears

Why there was a lack of opposition

  • Absence of parliament> no forum to express opposition freely
  • Fear of punishment>Pyrnne, Burton and Bastwick in 1637
  • Emigration rather than opposition> 1630 11 ships with 700 left for the New World. Providence Island Company > active Puritan opponents, John Pym, Earl of Warwick

Evidence of widespread discontent

  • Disputes over assessment sincreased when ship money became annual tax 1636
  • Titinhull hundred, home of critc Robert Phelips, produced more ratings disputes than any other hundred in the country

Isolation of the King

  • Court indfferent or ignorant to the effect of his policies- same opinion. P. would have warned
8 of 8


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all British monarchy - Tudors and Stuarts resources »