Internet Shakespeare Editions


Court finances

The main sources of crown revenue:


  1. Selling lands

    Elizabeth often avoided resorting to parliamentary taxation by selling crown lands, but this naturally weakened the resource base of the monarchy inherited by her spendthrift successors.

  2. Privileges

    1) wardship
    The Court of Wards and Liveries sold the wardships of underage heirs and collected annual payments from their guardians for the estates they managed.
    2) purveyance
    The crown could purchase supplies for the court at a fixed price below their actual value, or collect a payment in lieu of supplies.
  3. Licences

    For example, the Earl of Essex held a monopoly on the sweet wine business; and acting companies needed to obtain licences in order to perform.