Elizabethan Finance 1558-1603

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Finance in Elizabeth I's reign

At the beginning of her reign, the government revenue came to approx. £200,000 a year from both the Crown's ordinary revenue and parliamentary taxes.

The ordinary revenue came from customes duties, rents of crown lands and fuedal dues (e.g. monolpolies, wardship and church income)

Parlaimentary subsidies were around £140,000 each.

Elizabeth managed to use this money to pay off her fathers debt, which she succeeded in by 1574. She managed to accumulate a small reserve of £300,000 by 1584, which was very unusual for a monarch.

When the Anglo-Spanish war began in 1585 (due to the Treaty of Nonsuch between England the Dutch) little did the government know it would cost Elizabeth over £4.5 million- that reserve quickly evaporated..

The Crown remained solvent in these ways:

  • The sale of Crown Lands averaged £40,000 a year for the last 12 years of Elizabeths reign.
  • The prizes found at sea averaged £15,000. However, these werent always successful,a nd sea commanders didn't always share the booty e.g. Earl Essex and Lord Howard gave their plunder to their men from the Cadiz expedition in 1596.
  • Finance also effected Foreign policy e.g. Elizabeth preffered to attack spanish silver ships that go on a…


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