English Public Finance from the Revolution of 1688: With Chapters on the Bank of England

By Harvey E. Fisk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
The King's Prerogative

WILLIAM took possession of all the royal properties and sources of revenue and grafted on to these the Norman feudal system of land tenure.

As King, William claimed the royal demesne, the royal forests and the perquisites of royalty, described above, enjoyed by his Anglo-Saxon predecessors.


The Royal Demesne

This was of vast extent. There were three divisions:-- the forests which formed the King's hunting grounds and were secured against intruders by a savage code of special regulations known as the forest laws, the land held by the King's rural tenants and thirdly the holdings of urban tenants. This latter division included most of the cities, boroughs and towns of the Kingdom which originally had been founded on the folklands. The rents of these towns were collected by the sheriffs.

All of the tenants of the royal demesne were liable to assist the King on any occasion of special expense--even to the tenth part of their goods.


Feudal Aids

As feudal lord he claimed the so-called feudal aids, namely, the right to levy a tax for his ransom should he be taken prisoner by an enemy; the right to receive a generous contribution from his people when his son was invested with the privileges of knighthood; and of a corresponding contribution upon the marriage of his eldest

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