The city of London — ‘a large, excellent and mighty city of business’, as Frederick, Duke of Würtemberg, saw it in 1592 — towered over all other English cities during the sixteenth century. In the great subsidy of 1543–4, the last comprehensive assessment before the lay subsidies became something of a farce, London paid fully thirty times as much tax as Norwich, the wealthiest city in the provinces, and well over forty times as much as Bristol, the third city of the kingdom. Even the suburb of South-wark, across the river, paid more tax than Bristol. London contributed as much on that occasion as all the other towns of England put together, from Norwich down to the smallest place that functioned as a local market-centre for its own countryside. Relatively speaking, Elizabethan London took a larger place in the economy of the nation than the London of the twentieth century.
KeywordsSixteenth Century Governing Body Timber Frame Taxable Wealth Privy Council
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