The Tudor Revolution in Government: Administrative Changes in the Reign of Henry VIII

By G. R. Elton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE REFORM OF THE AGENCIES OF FINANCE

1. The financial administration in about 1530

We have already traced the history of the financial machinery from Richard II to Wolsey, from the decay of household finance in the late fourteenth century to its revival in the late fifteenth and its apogee in the statutory general surveyors of the 1520's. It will, however, be advisable to preface the account of the reforms begun by Cromwell and continued by his successors with a summary description of the financial administration as it stood about the time of Wolsey's fall. We are fortunate in possessing a document which makes such a description easy. The paper is headed 'A Memoriall for the Kinges Highnes, declaring the kynde of thingis Wherin Risith yerelye aswell his Certein Reuenue as his Casuall Reuenues, and who be officers to his highnes in that behalf'.1 Some additional notes on it in Cromwell's hand, and the fact that one of the last two paragraphs was first drafted by Cromwell himself, suggest strongly that he was responsible for having it drawn up; the state of affairs it describes (without the new revenues taken from the church) dates it into the early part of his ministry. It is probable that when he first took charge of affairs he found it necessary to acquaint himself in detail with the financial administration and had the statement prepared both for his master and for himself. It gives a detailed and clear account of the sources of the royal revenue, though it does not arrange them by administrative departments. The revenues themselves are divided into two parts -- certain and casual, terms which had a perfectly precise meaning in the technical language of the day. Certain revenues were the fixed items of income whose yield never varied, such as rents and the like; while casual revenues, though possibly as regular, varied in yield from year to year. The customs

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1
SP I:67, ff. 32-7 ( L.P. v. 397); L.P. date it towards the end of 1531. The paper is given in full in App. 11, B.

-160-

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The Tudor Revolution in Government: Administrative Changes in the Reign of Henry VIII
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Patr I Matrique v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter I - The Last Phase of Medieval Government 10
  • Chapter II - The Bureaucrat Minister 66
  • Chapter III - The Reform Of The Agencies of Finance 160
  • Chapter IV - Privy Seal, Signet, and Secretary 259
  • Chapter V - The Privy Council 316
  • Chapter VI - The King's Household 370
  • Chapter VII - The Administrative Revolution 415
  • Appendix I - Cromwell and the Mastership Of the King's Wards 428
  • Appendix II - Documents 431
  • Index 443
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