ship money

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Originally, an occasional sum of money paid by English seaports to the crown to meet the cost of supplying a ship to the Royal Navy. Charles I revived the tax in 1634, while he was ruling without Parliament. From 1635 he extended it to the inland towns, and raised up to £200,000 a year as a result. In 1637 John Hampden was taken to court for refusing to pay and claimed that Charles needed Parliament's approval to levy such a regular tax. The judges decided by seven to five in Charles's favour, but the narrowness of the victory encouraged widespread refusal to pay tax afterwards. The Long Parliament made ship money illegal in 1641.

Subjects: History.

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