Publication Date



Richard III of England, fiscal policy, Yorkist-era royal budget


Influenced by the “new” fiscal historiographical agenda of the 1990s, this article pioneers a radical reconstruction of the Yorkist-era royal budget. This demonstrates that the increased role of demesne revenues managed by the royal chamber in financing total expenditures under Edward IV, which was famously applauded by B. P. Wolffe, signally failed to provide for long-term fiscal stability. The removal of Edward’s French pension in 1483 led to a substantial deficit which compelled Richard III to contravene his brother’s pledge to “live of his own”. Richard’s sustained attempts, during 1483-4, to resurrect and revise controversial late Lancastrian attempts to secure permanent lay taxation failed, in a general climate of hostility to Ricardian rule. This resulted in a series of desperate royal attempts, in 1484-5, to levy loans, and to reform the administration of the chamber and the exchequer, prior to the early Tudor restoration of a “tax state” capable of funding an explosion in expenditures.*