James I and Finance

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"How far were James I's financial problems of his own making?"


James I had serious financial problems throughout his riegn, there were a number of different factors that contributed to this.

Inheritance and Finance System

James had inherited £100 000 from Elizabeth

Elizabeth was not generous in rewarding courtiers

Elizabeth had sold off crown lands

Individuals exploited the system causing corruption

James depended on Ordinary Income

Monopolies, Impositions were the biggest problems with the system

For example, Sufolk charged with corruption and embezzlement in 1618

James was reliant on fuedal dues


In the First Parliament 1610-10, their second session granted £400 000 subsidy which was unusually genrous and misled James about what he could expect from Parliament in the future

Set a president

Were slow to accept new changes, were too conservative

The Great Contract of 1610: Parliament rejected the contract which was a loss of an oppurtunity to transform England's administrive system and place royal finances on a sound basis, a more systematic way of extracting financial support in place instead of leaving it to the more chancier and unpopular purveyance and wardship


Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk was Lord Treasurer from 1614-1618: despite trying to gain money through the sales of honours (earldoms were sold for £10 000) he was charged with corruption and dismissed, convicted of embezzlement. He was…


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