Ship Money

(330 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

Ship Money was a ploy by means of which Charles I hoped to circumvent Parliamentary restraints on his revenues. The tax had been originally levied on coastal cities in medieval times to fund the construction of warships for maritime defence. Parliament having been dismissed by Charles in 1629, he had limited ways of obtaining revenue, so in October 1634 he issued a writ to raise Ship Money against the prospect of a possible war. In 1635 the writ was reissued, and writs were issued successively until 1640, and applied to inland as well as to coastal towns, making it evident that Charles intended the tax as a general and non-parliamentary way of generating revenue.

In 1635 John Hampden, M. P. (1594-1643), refused to pay 20s in t…

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Editors. "Ship Money". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 November 2005
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]