Charles I's financial policies - absolutism or just good housekeeping?
Balancing the Books
- During Charles' Personal Rule royal finances were predominantly managed by 3 key individuals: Richard Weston, Francis Cottington, and William Juxon.
- Financial position of the crown slowly improved due to avoiding war rather than efficient management of royal finances.
- The 3 key individuals cut back on royal expenditure at court, e.g pensions & annuities were reduced by 35%.
- Applied recusancy laws more rigorously & by 1635 were bringing in £27,000pa through this method.
- The trio managed to achieve a 25% increase in ordinary revenue to more than £600,000pa by 1635.
- The annual crown deficit fell to just £18,000 but the total royal debt remained at over £1million.
Searching for the 'King's Mines'
- Article 12 of the Magna Carta, states that the King could not raise taxes without consent from P.
- The Attorney General, William Noy, attempted to find forgotten laws, lapsed practices, & medieval precedents by which Charles could raise private revenue.
- Critics of the King argued that what Charles did as a result of Noy's efforts was to introduce new taxes without P's consent.
- Charle's financial problems were exaggerated because he wanted to maintain his extravagant lifestyle.
Rents from Crown Lands
- Held by Charles through inheritance or confiscation.
- Rents were at fixed rates & inflation had eroded their value.
- The Crown had sold alot of land since the 1550s so Charles had limited land from which to generate such revenue.
- Under the guidance of Cottington & Weston, Charles consistently increased revenue raised through the sale of Crown lands.
- By the beginning of James I's reign annual income from CL's had fallen to £87,000pa.
- Crown's right to purchase food & other necessities below market value. Paid eithe rin kind or in cash.
- Some counties opted to fulfill purveyance by offering livestock or crops. Other counties opted to pay the Crown money - known as Composition.
- Purveyance also included the right to take carts & horses to transport goods.
- Purveyance had largely been a provision for during wartime, so that the King could get supplies and food for his soldiers.
- This policy proved highly unpopular & met with widespread resistance in the counties, with some complaints brought to court in Essex & Somerset.
- Charles did suceed in reducing his expenditure by £30,000pa between 1630 & 1635 by exploiting this practice.
- Established the Crown as 'ward of court' for any heirs of landowners below the age of 21 if male or 14 if female. The Crown looked after the ward/s & ran their estate until they came of age.
- Governed by Sir Robert Naunton & later Francis Cottington, enabled the Crown to make a profit from these estates or the sale of wardships to relatives.
- Master of the Court of Wards, Charles' income from wardships increased by £84,000pa by 1640.
- The Crown was…