England in 1638

Written by: Leo Lawton

December 31, 2018

In the early 1600s it was within the rights of the English king to tax those shires that bordered on the sea for money to build ships during a time of war. In 1634 King Charles I placed a tax on all shires, inland as well as those bordering the sea. This was in a time of peace, and with no Parliament approval. The population was aghast, and some shires refused to collect taxes or pay the king. In 1635 King Charles made a second attempt to collect taxes from the shires, and yet again in1636 there was a third attempt. The people were in rebellion against this attempted taxation by the king with no approval sought or given by Parliament. There were threats of arrest of those who would defy the king.

The Lawton family of Bedfordshire likely were among those who were threatened, as it was in 1638 that George and Thomas, along with Thomas’ wife and daughter, disappeared from England in some manner, and were next found in the newly forming Rhode Island community of Portsmouth in early 1639. These two brothers were the progenitors of a large family that continues to exist nearly 400 years later. Thomas is the direct ancestor of nearly all Lawton’s in northern New York.