English tax levied by the crown on coastal cities for naval defense in time of war. First levied in medieval times, the tax required payment in the form of a number of warships or their equivalent in money. It was revived in 1634 by Charles I to raise extra revenue. He issued six annual writs (1634–39) that extended the imposition to inland towns and sought to establish it as a permanent tax. Its enforcement aroused widespread opposition and added to the discontent leading to the English Civil Wars. In 1641 the tax was declared illegal by Parliament.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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