A petition against royal taxes from the town of Woodbridge in Suffolk, February 1627
(Catalogue ref: SP 16/55/59)
Please consider the reasons which they humbly offer to your Lordships to excuse them not doing what was required of them, which are as follows
First… it is a poor county town …
Secondly, they have always been charged, with the rest of the county:
For the raising of money to build the late king’s building at Newmarket;
Towards the cost of paying for his Majesty’s household;
Towards the repairing and watching of beacons;
Towards the cost of gunpowder and watchmen and the wages of soldiers and officers in the troop for all five weeks training;
Towards the store of gunpowder, matches and bullets to be provided;
Towards the carts, providing several tools and horses for all of them;
Towards the cost of 3000 men to march into Kent upon any warning or danger;
And 5000 men upon the coast of Suffolk and 4000 men to march to Yarmouth on similar occasions;
And towards all other costs that the county is charged with.
Thirdly, there are only eight or nine ship owners in the town, and those are only coal ships. The townspeople said that the shipping belongs to Newcastle, London and other far-away places. And the ship owners of Woodbridge have been held back in the last two years because their ships have been taken into his Majesty’s service (where some of them still are), to the value of at least £800, for which they have not yet received payment. …
Fourthly, the town consists of gentlemen and others who live on their land and craftsmen who have no connection to the sea. If a heavy charge is imposed on them, more than upon the countryside, they will be ready to abandon the town. Then the town will be in quite a bad state.