A tax that was traditionally levied on coastal areas for the building and maintenance of the navy, and for the local's protection from raiding. Charles I extended ship money so that it was due from inland areas as well.
Fact of the Day
Elizabeth I could cost her hosts so much on her visits that some tried to shut up their houses and stay away to prevent it. This did no good for the earl of Lincoln: Elizabeth broke into his Chelsea residence, had a feast, and then charged the bill to Lincoln.