Foreign Fines

From the Historic Photo Archive for Sudbury N.E. view of the Church of St. Peter’s, Sudbury, Wm Ruffell

The right to trade in Sudbury.

In 1813 the Corporation were in grave financial difficulties as the result of losing a case about admission to the freedom, and having to pay costs. As a source of funds they doubled the fee for purchasing the freedom, and increased the weekly ‘foreign fine’ for shopkeepers who were not freemen from two shillings to three shillings. This was incorporated in an order, or bye-law, which was to continue in force for 20 years.

For the previous 35 years ( and at some earlier periods) the Corporation had demanded that anyone opening a shop in the town should either purchase his freedom or pay the foreign fine. All were expected to purchase the freedom of both Borough and Commons. Most of those faced with this demand had sooner or later taken up the freedom.        

 Allan W. Berry