Ship Money

Charles I ruled as King from March 1625 to his execution by Parliament on 30th January 1649. His reign was marked by ever increasing opposition and eventually by the outbreak of a Civil War.

In Essex the general religious feeling was Puritan by the reign of Charles. There were some indications of this change as early as the tenure of Takeley Vicar, Robert Lukin. Several prominent Takeley men complained that Lukin did not “preach the word of God truly and soundly, for which he is constrained to recant his errors, yet he continueth falsifying and corrupting the Scriptures”. By the time Thomas Heard became Vicar the protests had become much stronger and Heard was accused of being a common drunkard etc…. refused to deliver the Sacrament to his parishioners for not kneeling near unto it within his easy reach… he hoped to live to see all Puritans hanged”

Heard was deprived of his living, but lived to see the Restoration of Charles II. I am doubtful of the truth of the many accusations as an almost identical accusation was made at the same time against the Vicar of Great Bentley in Essex.

The conflict between Charles and his Parliaments led to his attempt to govern without calling any parliaments. However he needed money and several methods dating back to the Middle Ages were re-introduced.  One of these was the imposition of Ship Money on the whole country as well as on the coastal towns and regions. There was wide spread opposition to this tax, and although Essex is not listed as one of the counties making a major protest it must have disagreed with it. The tax was levied on men and women who held land and were of sufficient monetary standing. Many of the lists that were compiled for the sheriffs to make the collection are now missing, so we are fortunate that for Takeley is still in existence in the Essex Record Office [E.R.O. T/A 42]

The order made in 1635 was to pay for a ship of 800 tonnes that was to be ready at Portsmouth by the first of March 1636. It is hardly surprising that Lord Keeper Finch complained “there is not alacrity and cheerfulness given to the obedience of his Majesty’s writ for Ship-money” By 1649 a reconvened House of Commons had voted ship money to be illegal.

As the date of 1635 is before the earliest parish registers for Takeley, the list gives us a very valuable indication of the Takeley residents who held land. There are 77 people on this list which is a very high figure for the area and suggest a large population.

Many of the people are already known to us. Heading the list is William Towse of Bassingbourne Hall who was assessed for 12s. This is not as high as the 14s that Walter Wibord or Wyberd of Colchester Hall had to pay. However some of the land held by Towse was in Stansted Mountfitchet. The highest payment was made by Helen Gamford, or Gaynsford, at £1-12s The Gaynsford family held the Manor of Takeley Parsonage and lived in a house that no longer exists, but is marked on the map in Parsonage road by the moat at the entrance to Chestnut Way.

Edwin Lukin, gent, [£1-6s] from Parkers farm, Robert Newman [£1], Robert White, [£1-5s],  and Mathew Brewer, [£1 £1-6s] were the other residents who paid over a pound. We do not know where Newman lived but much of Takeley Street is described as “formerly Newmans land”. Brewer was a member of the family who gave their name to Brewers End. They owned the maltings there and moved to live at Sheering Hall. Robert White and other members of the White family whose history has been recorded in a T.L.H.S. booklet are represented in the list.

Takeley raised £23-19s-8d in ship money. It came 9th of the 19 parishes in the Hundred of Uttlesford. It was a surprise to find how many of the names listed are already known to us. There are Ingolds, Ewin, Vale, Hadsley. Pamphlin, Cramphorne, Meade, Poole, Basey, Judd, Browne, and many others who have left wills, or whose names occur in deeds, and sometimes on the wrong side of the law in the Quarter Sessions records. There are 15 names that match the list of wills, but a definite identification is not possible because the same names are repeated for generations.

What is very noticeable is the large number of people [37] who were assessed at under 3s. Of these 18 were assessed at 1s. This indicates a large number of small households in Takeley between 1630 and 1640.
I hope by the next Newsletter to check the Indictments in the King’s Bench to see if any Takeley residents had refused to pay the tax

The list below is reproduced by courtesy of Essex Record Office and carries the reference number T/A 42/1.

Nia Watkiss

T/A  42  1635 Takeley list of ship money payments.  [Where the name of the property is known it is given in […]. The names in italics are those of houses that no longer exist, or the whereabouts is uncertain]

£ s d
William Towse gen                         - 12 - [Bassingbourne Hall]
Walter Wibord                                - 14 - [Colchester Hall, possibly originally Scapes]
Mrs. Helen Gamford [Gaynsford]  1 12 - [The Parsonage]
Edwin Lukin gent                           1 6 - [Parkers ]
Robert Newman                              1 - -
William Meade                               - 16 - [Stable, possibly in Takeley Street]
Margaret Ingold wid                       - 19 -
John White                                      - 13 -
Henry Ewin                                     - 15 -
John Howland                                 - 4 -
John Pamphlin                                - 16 -
Thomas Staines                               - 14 -
John Cow                                        - 8 4
Mathew Brewer                              1 6 -
John Hadsley                                   - 12 -
Jeffery Poole sen                             - 11 - [Little Park]
George Poole                                  - 6 -
Thomas Vale                                   - 6 -
James White                                    - 16 -
Gregory Newman                            - 1 -
John Smith                                      - 6 -
Robert Barnard                                - 14 -
George Hutton                                - 2 -
Robert White                                   1 5 -
Jane Wright wid                              - 3 -
William Staines                               - 2 -
Mary Staines                                   - 8 -
John Wood                                      - 12 6
John Williams                                 - 2 6 [Hills]
John Greene                                    - 2 -
John Champnes                               - 2 -
Thomas Basey                                 - 12 - [Cooks] 
John Browne                                   - 3 - [Horsleys]
John Judd                                        - 3 -
John Godfrey                                  - 3 -
John Bush                                        - 2 -
Francis Stanes                                 - 4 -
Thomas Sanders                              - 1 8
John Cramphorne                            - 4 -
John Samford                                  - 1 4
Edwyn Case                                    - 6 - [James at the forge, later The Trowell and Hammer, then The Reindeer, now Pinkneys]
William Parseley                             - 11 - Parseley was at [Fayerhead, als The Cock]
Abraham Reeve                              - 1 -  
Jeffery Poole jun                             - 2 -
John Silvester                                  - 2 -
Thomas Sibby                                 - 1 -
Thomas Ingold and Walter Ingold - 3 -
John Laver                                      - 4 -
Pullings                                           - 2 4
Reynold Foster                                - 6 -
Widdowe Laver                              - 1 4
John Leaper                                     - 1 4
Richard Lane                                   - 1 4
Richard Preston                               - 1 6
Thomas Mumford                           - 1 -
Richard Wyatt                                 - 3 -
Agnes Mardon wid                         - 5 -
Philippp Glascock gen                    - 1 -
John Wray                                       - 1 -
John Dowsett                                  - 2 -
Francis Wager                                 - 4 -
Henry Rumbald                               - 1 -
Henry Cawdle                                 - 1 -
Robert Momford                             - 1 -
Raphe Stoakes                                 - 1 -
John Clarke                                     - 2 -
John Peacocke                                 - 1 -
William Williams                            - 1 -
Thomas Speller                               - 1 -
John Marden                                   - 1 -
Thomas Browne                              - 1 -
Widdowe Browne                           - 1 -
Thomas Ingold                                - 1 -
John Champion                               - 1 -
Michael Brewer                              - 1 6
Widdowe Clarke                             - 1 6
23 19 8


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