Ship Money

Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664. Originally published by EJ Francis, London, 1878.

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, 'Ship Money', in Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878) pp. 466-470. British History Online [accessed 23 May 2024].

. "Ship Money", in Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878) 466-470. British History Online, accessed May 23, 2024,

. "Ship Money", Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878). 466-470. British History Online. Web. 23 May 2024,

Ship Money.

VI. 118. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen. They were informed that divers foreigners, dwelling within the City and Liberties, had not paid the moneys at which they were assessed towards the charges of the ships lately furnished for the King's service, as though they were exempted from such charges, being Non-freemen. They required the Court of Aldermen to call upon them to pay such moneys without further delay, and in the event of refusal to certify their answers to the Council. If, however, any of them were noblemen or Privy Councillors, they were not to be troubled with any such demand.
Whitehall, 29th January, 1626.

VII. 51. Petition of the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of the City of London to the King. By letters of the Privy Council of the 4th August, 1626, the City had been required to set forth twenty of the best ships in the Thames, fully furnished and victualled for three months, for the defence of the realm, and by a second letter of the 8th August, 1626, had been required to perform the same on their allegiance. By Act of Common Council the Petitioners had enacted that the charge should be borne by the inhabitants of the City. The ships had been accordingly furnished, and they had been forced to disburse large sums of orphans' money out of the Chamber, expecting to be forthwith reimbursed by the Citizens. Divers persons, out of opposition to that service, would not contribute, and had been distrained upon for non-payment, and vexed and molested the constables and officers with suits at Common Law, who in defence were forced to plead long pleas, which were very chargeable and troublesome both to them and the City. The Petitioners therefore prayed that some course might be taken for freeing the officers from such suits, and for reimbursing the Chamber by those who were assessed.

VII. 52. Order of the King in Council, referring the foregoing Petition to the Lord Keeper, (fn. 1) and the Lord Privy Seal, (fn. 2) to advise such a course as they should think fittest for the relief of the Petitioners.
Whitehall, 5th November, 1630.

VII. 132. Order in Council, requiring the Recorder to attend the King and Council every Sunday afternoon, to give an account of the proceedings concerning the business of shipping, (fn. 3) within the City of London, till the work should be perfected.
Whitehall, 14th December, 1634.

VII. 169. Order of the King in Council, directing that the Recorder and the Sheriffs should attend the Council every Sunday to give a weekly account of their proceedings touching the shipping to be sent forth by the City this present year for the King's service.
Whitehall, 14th February, 1635.

VII. 170. Order in Council, reciting that the Recorder, some of the Aldermen, and the Sheriffs of the City, had attended the Board, with an account of their proceedings in levying and collecting the moneys assessed for the setting out of shipping, and had also stated that divers persons not only gave dilatory answers, but refused to make payments, and that, as the King would not suffer such undutiful courses to be practised by any, he had commanded the Sheriffs and Officers of the City to enter the houses of such persons, take their goods in distress, and sell them for satisfying the sums assessed upon them.
Whitehall, 21st February, 1635.

VII. 179. Warrant from the Lords of the Council to Reignold Gunnell, one of the messengers of His Majesty's Chamber, directing him to repair to the places of abode of the persons named in the Schedule annexed, under the hand of the Clerk of the Council, who, being formerly resident in the City and Liberties, had not paid the assessments of Ship Money, and who, though summoned by Warrant to appear before the Council, had not attended, and to demand of them the money, and, if received, to deliver it to the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs; to take into custody any who refused to pay, and bring them without delay before the Council. The Warrant also recites that a further Schedule will be furnished to him by the Lord Mayor of the names of other persons who had left London without paying, and had left nothing whereon to levy, and directs him to take similar steps to obtain the money, and in default to summon them to appear before the Council.
Whitehall, 30th April, 1636.

(The Schedule of names is not given.)

VII. 189. Report from the Judges to the King upon the case and question signed by him, and enclosed in his letter concerning Ship Money. The opinion states that when the good and safety of the kingdom in general is concerned, and the whole kingdom in danger, His Majesty may, by Writ under the Great Seal of England, command all his subjects at their charge to provide and furnish such number of ships with men, victual and munition, and for such time as he shall think fit for the defence and safeguard of the kingdom, and that by law he might compel the doing thereof in case of refusal or refractiousness. That in such case His Majesty was the sole judge both of the danger and when and how it was to be prevented and avoided.
Dated 7th February, 1636.

Copies of the signatures of twelve Judges are appended:—

John Bramston, John Finch, Hum. Davenport, John Denham, Ric. Hutton, Wm. Jones, Geo. Croke, Tho. Trevor, Geo. Vernon, Ro. Berkley, He. Crawley, Ric. Weston. (fn. 4)

VIII. 140. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of the City of London, Lords of the Manor of the Borough of Southwark, forwarding a Writ of His Majesty, in which, being no less than for the honour and safety both of the King and kingdom, and the securing and clearing of commerce, His Majesty required their utmost diligence; and directing them to appoint a place of meeting with the others nominated in the same Writ, and go on with the work according to the tenour thereof. In the assessment they should take care to proceed equally and indifferently.
31st October, 1634.

Note.— The Writ is not entered, but the marginal note is as follows:—"Letter from the Lords for executing His Majesty's writ for providing a ship within Southwark."

VIII. 141. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor, Commonalty, Citizens, and Sheriffs of the City of London, in similar terms to the preceding Letter.
31st October, 1634.

Marginal note.—"Letter from the Lords for execution of His Majesty's writ for providing of ships within London."

VIII. 194. Order in Council, upon complaint of the Lord Mayor that the inhabitants of the Liberty of St. Martin's-le-Grand delayed to pay their assesment for Ship Money to the City as they had formerly done, pretending they were a Liberty apart from the City. The Order directs the inhabitants to pay not only the 100l. set upon them this year by the City, but also hereafter all other assessments rated by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs for shipping, to the said City and not elsewhere; and authorizes the Sheriffs, in case of refusal, to enter the Liberty, and there to assess and levy what they should be rated to pay towards the business of shipping.
3rd September, 1637.

VIII. 201. Warrant from the Star Chamber "To., one of the messengers of His Majesty's Chamber," to the same effect as No. 179, Vol. VII.
17th November, 1637.

VIII. 209. Order in Council, directing the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, and their officers, to observe the several directions given to the Sheriffs of counties for enforcing the payment of Ship Money.
8th June, 1638.


  • 1. Coventry.
  • 2. Earl of Manchester.
  • 3. This impost, which ultimately caused Charles I. so much trouble, was suggested to him, in 1631, by Sir William Noye, Attorney General, who had found, among the records in the Tower, not only writs compelling the ports, on certain occasions, to provide ships for the use of the King, but others obliging their neighbours of the maritime counties to contribute to the expense. Writs were issued to London and the different ports, October 20th, 1634, ordering them to supply a certain number of ships of a specified tonnage, sufficiently armed and manned, to rendezvous at Portsmouth on the 1st of March, 1635. The writ is set out in 'Howell's State Trials,' vol. iii. p. 830–2, and also the proceeding of the Common Council, and their petition to the King against it. By this contrivance the King obtained a supply of £218,500, which he devoted to providing a fleet. Twelve of the Judges decided the King had the right to make the levy. In the speech of Lord Keeper Coventry to the Judges assembled in the Star Chamber on the 14th of February, 1636, he stated that, "In the first year, when the writs were directed to the ports and the maritime places, they received little or no opposition; but in the second year, when they went generally throughout the kingdom, although by some well obeyed, have been refused by some, not only in some inland counties, but in some of the maritime places." John Hampden refused to pay the tax, and was cited in the Court of Exchequer, June 12th, 1637 (see 'State Trials'). An Act of Parliament was passed 16th Charles I., 14, 1640, declaring the whole proceeding illegal.
  • 4. John Bramston, Lord Chief Justice of the K. B; John Finch, Lord Chief Justice of the C. P.; Humphrey Davenport, Chief Baron of the Exchequer; John Denham, Baron of the Exchequer; Richard Hutton, Justice of the C. P.; William Jones, Justice of the K. B.; George Croke, Justice of the K. B.; Thomas Trevor, Baron of the Exchequer; George Vernon, Justice of the C. P.; Robert Berkeley, Justice of the K. B.; Francis (not Henry) Crawley, Justice of the C. P.; Richard Weston, Baron of the Exchequer. Although the signatures of Sir George Croke, Sir Humphrey Davenport, Sir Richard Hutton, and Sir John Denham, appear to the above opinion when the case of John Hampden was brought judicially before them and the other Judges, they on the 12th of June, 1638, gave judgement against the Crown, as did Sir John Bramston also on technical grounds. The Long Parliament in December, 1640, impeached all the concurring judges then alive for high treason, and they were fined, and, in some instances, imprisoned and removed from their offices.