Notes of the Judgment Delivered by Sir George Croke in the Case of Ship-money.

Last Updated: 20080918


This short document is very important in coming to a full understanding of the case of John Hampden in his trial for refusing to pay his assessment of 20 shillings for Ship Money. Its importance, and the clarity of Judge Croke's summary, are suggested by its publication as a book of some 30 pages—an expense extravagance in the 19th century—and by the fact that it was transcribed by Samuel R. Gardiner.

Sir George Croke (often spelled Crooke) was a judge of the King's Bench and Common Pleas. He was one of the judge's asked to give an opinion in the matter of Hambden's refusal to pay his assessed tax of Ship-money. Ship money was a tax originally laid on port towns to support a navy for their protection. Charles I revived it with a view to strengthening the navy without further erooding the government's shaky financial position. Under Charles I, the tax was levied over all England. Whether land-owners could legally refuse to pay this tax was one of the central constitutional questions of the 1630s.

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