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The King's Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England by Robin R. Mundill

The King's Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England - Robin R. Mundill

 

Clifford's Tower, York where 150 Jews died.

Description: This title considers the Jews of medieval England as victims of violence (notably the Clifford's Tower massacre) and as an isolated people. In July 1290, Edward I issued writs to the Sheriffs of the English counties ordering them to enforce a decree to expel all Jews from England before All Saints' Day of that year. England became the first country to expel a Jewish minority from its borders. They were allowed to take their portable property but their houses were confiscated by the king. In a highly readable account, Robin Mundill considers the Jews of medieval England as victims of violence (notably the massacre of Shabbat haGadol when York's Jewish community perished at Clifford's Tower) and as a people apart, isolated amidst a hostile environment. The origins of the business world are considered including the fact that the medieval English Jew perfected modern business methods many centuries before its recognised time. What emerges is a picture of a lost society which had much to contribute and yet was turned away in 1290.

1 Colonisation and confinement 1
2 Jews and the economy 21
3 A community within a state 43
4 Saints and martyrs 67
5 Christians and Jews 97
6 Church and Synagogue 123
7 Dissolution and Diaspora 145

Opening: There is still much mystery concerning the arrival of the Jews in Britain. One of the earliest students of Anglo-Jewish History, D’Blossiers Tovey, writing in 1738, admitted that historians did not agree when Jews first set foot in England’s countryside.Historians are unlikely ever to pinpoint exactly when Jews first came because the evidence is piecemeal. It is likely that a few Jews had set foot in this land well before 1066. In the mid nineteenth century, a Jewish historian, Moses Margoliouth, claimed that Jews were settled ‘on British soil, long ere Saxon, Dane, or Norman coveted the possession of the British Isles’. While this might be an unprovable boast it is still worth musing on. Yet the problem of whether followers of the Jewish faith actually took up residence here prior to 1066 is still open to debate.

It appears that there is little known about Jews in England in ancient times, and every single pointer and find from the past is meticulously listed here. There are sentences that include 'more likely is the possibility that[..]' and some of the cited sources seem to be less than forensic.

I wanted to know more about the Jews as people living in England yet Mundill, for the most, just wanted to give me £SD transactions. Still, The King's Jews was interesting when those monetary details were skimmed over.

Jacob's Pillow aka Stone of Scone



NONFIC NOVEMBER 2015:

CR White Mughals
CR A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
3* Rome and the Barbarians
CR Field Notes From A Hidden City
3* The King's Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England
CR A History of Palestine 634-1099
CR Charlotte Brontë: A Life
3* The Alhambra