Problems James I faced 1603

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  • Created by: em
  • Created on: 17-04-14 17:59



  • Courtiers and officials’ salaries were so low - relied on patronage

  • Elizabeth: parsimonious to not run into debt - so high demand from unsatisfied courtiers

  • James was a foreign king - need to reward supporters to keep them loyal

  • James faced opposition too e.g. the Main Plot 1603

  • Parliament: increasingly assertive and to protect its ‘privileges’

  • However he was too generous - devalued gift and encouraged further demands

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  • a King in an age of royal extravagance has to look wealthy to royal competitors and peers - first grade king

  • James inherited Eliz’s £400,000 debt (but can be payed off with subsidies)

  • Political/financial system long overdue for reform

  • Eliz didn’t have an heir so didn’t update of rents, assessments for subsidies and custom duties - by 1603, worst economy in Europe

  • E.g. a 50 year lease on some crown property agreed at £68/yr but actually worth £1,071

  • Eliz sold crown lands and offices - impoverished James and needed to employ more people to control them

  • local elites (valued land) under-assessed themselves and neighbours - reduced subsidies, mid-16th cent= £130,000 fell to £55,000 by 1628

Wife and family - cost of royal household: £64,000 (1603) to £114,000  (1610)

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  • Catholics - hoped James would be more lenient

  • Puritans - more troublesome and growing in numbers - hoped James coming from presbyterian Scotland would further Reformation and wanted to ‘purify’ Church of Catholic vestiges
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Foreign policy


  • inherited a dragging war with Spain

  • Alliance with Dutch (expensive) and strong connections with Denmark (wife was Danish) - angered Spanish

  • German Protestant leaders too weak and eager for England - so under pressure and expected to play active role in leading

  • ‘rex pacificus’ worked in Scotland but not in England because it was important

  • this attitude soured relations with Parliament

  • Ireland - serious tensions among native Catholic populations - suppressed rebellion in 1590s

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