Ship Money Fleet

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Ship Money Fleet
Royal Navy White Squadron Ensign 1630 to 1702.gif
White Ensign of the Navy Royal 1630-1649
Active1635–1641
CountryFlag Kingdom of England.gif Kingdom of England
BranchNavy Royal Ensign to 1625a.gif Navy Royal
TypeFleet
RoleCruising, and Patrolling
Size27 ships.[1]
Part ofNavy Royal
Garrison/HQEngland.
Commanders
FirstAdmiral: Algernon Percy

A Ship Money Fleet were the annual fleets sent out by King Charles I of England between 1635 and 1641 to assert the sovereignty of the Narrow Seas which at that time were plagued by piracy and with the local fisheries being plundered by Dutch fishing busses.[2]

History

Ship Money Fleet's were the annual fleets sent out by King Charles I of England between 1635 and 1641 to assert the sovereignty of the Narrow Seas which at that time were plagued by piracy and with the local fisheries being plundered by Dutch fishing busses. These fleets got their name from the fact that they were financed by the levy of a tax known as ship-money. No English parliament was sitting at that period and the king levied the tax by his own decrees.[3]

Such a tax had been levied previously, frequently during the 15th and 16th centuries and again in 1626 when a fleet had been fitted out during the war with Spain. The form of the tax was to assess each port and maritime town with a sum of money which the mayor had to raise however he thought best. Later, as the cost of succeeding fleets grew greater, the levy was made on all towns and parishes throughout the country.[4]

These ship-money fleets achieved the object for which they were designed, clearing the English waters of the many pirates who were operating in them and policing the east coast herring fisheries so efficiently that almost all illegal fishing by the Dutch was stopped. But as the annual levy of ship-money grew, it became more and more difficult to collect as resistance to paying it spread.[5]

Parliament was recalled in November 1641 and in January of the following year the House of Lords declared ship-money illegal. This brought Charles I into a head-on collision with Parliament, and in the fleet fitted out in 1642 all captains with royalist sympathies were removed from their commands. It was a signal for the start of the English Civil War.[6]

In Command

Admiral of the Ship Money Fleet

  1. Admiral Robert Bertie, 1st Earl of Lindsey, 26 May 1635 – 23 March 1636.[7]
  2. Admiral Algernon Percy, 10th Earl of Northumberland, 23 March 1636 – 1638.[8]

Vice-Admiral of the Ship Money Fleet

  1. Vice-Admiral William Monson, 26 May 1635 – 23 March 1636.[9]
  2. Vice-Admiral Sir John Pennington, 23 March 1636 – 1637.
Rear-Admiral of the Ship Money Fleet
  1. Rear-Admiral Sir John Pennington, 26 May 1635 – 23 March 1636.
  2. Rear-Admiral Sir Henry Mervyn, 23 March 1636 – 1637.[10]
Flag Captain of the Ship Money Fleet
  1. Captain Thomas Rainsborough or (Rainborowe), May 1635 – 1637.[11]

References

  1. Dyer, Florence E. (1 January 1937). "The Ship-Money Fleet". The Mariner's Mirror. 23 (2): 198–209. doi:10.1080/00253359.1937.10657235. ISSN 0025-3359.
  2. ship-money fleets. Oxford Reference. Retrieved 2 Jun. 2020, from https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100502355.
  3. Oxford Reference
  4. Oxford Reference
  5. Oxford Reference
  6. Oxford Reference
  7. David Plant, ( 24 September 2015). Biography of Robert Bertie, Earl of Lindsey, BCW Project http://bcw-project.org/biography/robert-bertie-earl-of-lindsey
  8. Haivry, Ofir (2017). John Selden and the Western Political Tradition. Cambridge, England.: Cambridge University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-107-01134-2.
  9. "The Royal Navy A History Volume II". lib.militaryarchive.co.uk. p. 88. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  10. "MERVYN (MARVYN), Sir Henry (1583-1646), of Fonthill Giffard, Wilts. and the Middle Temple, London | History of Parliament Online". www.historyofparliamentonline.org. The History of Parliament Trust. 1964–2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  11. Jones, Whitney Richard David (2005). Thomas Rainborowe (c. 1610-1648): Civil War Seaman, Siegemaster and Radical. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England.: Boydell Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-84383-121-1.