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428 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 



THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS FROM 
ENGLAND IN 1290. 

(Concluded from p. 258.^ 

IX. — The Jews in Relation to the Church of the 
Thirteenth Century. 

The Popes of the earlier part of the Middle Ages had 
found enough employment for their energies in the effort 
to maintain their own position in Christendom ; and they 
had neither the wish nor the power to seek a conflict with 
a race that remained wholly outside the Church. In the 
twelfth century there was no other general Church Law 
directed against the Jews than that which forbade them to 
live in the same houses with Christians, and to have Chris- 
tian servants. 1 In England especially, Churchmen of the 
twelfth century showed towards the Jews a tolerant spirit, 
and made no effort to augment their unpopularity or to 
diminish their privileges. The examples of Anselm, and of 
his contemporary, Gilbert of Westminster, show that in the 
attempts made at that time by men of high position in the 
Church to convert the Jews, no method was employed 
except that of reasonable persuasion. 2 Churches and 
monasteries took charge, at times of danger, of the money, 
and even of the families, of Jews. Such friendly inter- 
course as existed between Jews and Christians was 
allowed to go on without any attempt at ecclesiastical 
interference. 3 

1 See the Decrees of the Third Lateran Council of 1179, Mansi, Concilia, 
XXII., 231. 

2 St. Anselm, Epistola, III., 117 (Migne, Patrologim Cursus Completus, 
Vol. 159, columns 153-155 ; Gilbert of Westminster, Duputatio Judaici 
cum Christiano (Ibid. 1005-1036). 

3 Chronicles of Stejrien, Henry II, and Richard I. (Rolls Series), I., 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 429 

The accession of Innocent the Third to the pontificate 
brought about a rapid change in the attitude of the 
Church towards the Jews. Innocent was the first to ad- 
vance, on behalf of the Papacy, the claim that the Lord 
gave Peter not only the whole Church, but the whole 
world to rule, 1 and he endeavoured with a merciless 
enthusiasm, from which all unbelievers and heretics in 
Christian countries had to suffer, to make good his claim, 
and to establish in Europe one united Catholic Church. 
He took his stand on the doctrine, which his predecessors 
had held 2 in a modified form, and without ever acting on 
it, that the Jews were condemned to perpetual slavery on 
account of the wickedness of their ancestors in crucifying 
Christ ; and he thought that they ought to be made to feel, 
and their neighbours likewise, that it was only out of 
Christian pity that their presence was endured in Christian 
countries. 

The position of the Jews at the time of Innocent's acces- 
sion to the pontificate was very far from being such as his 
theory required. They had magnificent synagogues, they 
employed Christian servants, they married, or were said to 
marry, Christian wives ; they refused, in what some Chris- 
tians regarded as a spirit of outrageous insolence, to eat 
the same meat and to drink the same wine as the Gentiles, 
and they made no secret of their disbelief in the sacred 

310 (among the victims of the massacre at Lynn in 1190 was quidam 
Judceus, insignis medious, qui et art-is et modesties sucb gratia Christianis 
quoque famttiaris et honorabilis fueraf) ; Gervase of Canterbury (Kolls 
Series), I., 405. (The Jews help the monks of Canterbury in their struggle 
with the Archbishop in 1188) ; Rotuli Litter arum Clausarum (Record 
Commission), I., 20S. (Rex, fye., domino Lineolniensi Episeopo, 8;c; 
mandamus nobis quod non permittatis injuste eatalle Judceorum receptari 
in ecalesiis m diocesi vestra, February 28th, 1205) ; Chronica Jocelini dt 
Brakelonde (Camden Society), p. 33. (a.d. 1190, Abbas jussit solempniter 
excommunieari illos qui de eetero receptarent Judeos vel m hospicio 
reeiperent in villa Santi JEdmundt) ; Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin 
England, 269. ("English Jews drink with Gentiles."') 

1 Moeller, History of the Christian Church, Middle Ages (Eng. Tr.), 
p. 279. 

* Mansi, Concilia, XXII. 231. 
VOL. VII. F F 



430 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

history of Christianity. Moreover, they were suspected of 
exercising a considerable influence on the growth of the 
heresies which it was the chief work of Innocent's life to 
combat. The Vaudois, the Cathari, and the Albigenses, all 
kept up Jewish observances, and were said to have learnt 
from the Jews their heretical dogmas ; the Albigenses, 
indeed, were accused of maintaining that the law of the 
Jews was better than the law of the Christians. And, 
nevertheless, Christian kings supported the Jews in every 
way. They countenanced their usury, they refused (so, 
at least, Innocent said) to allow evidence against them on 
any charge to be given by Christian witnesses, and they 
even employed them in high offices of State. In view of 
these facts, Innocent thought that a great effort of repres- 
sion should be made, and he wrote to the King of France, 
the Duke of Burgundy, and other monarchs, asking for 
their assistance in the work of reducing the Jews to that 
condition of slavery which was their due. He decreed in 
his general Church Council that Jews should be excluded 
in future from public offices, and that they should wear 
a badge to distinguish them from Christians; and he 
renewed the old regulation of the Church, which required 
them to dismiss Christian servants from their houses. In 
order to ensure that the last provision should be observed, 
he decided that any Christians having any intercourse 
with Jews that transgressed it should be subject to excom- 
munication. For the enforcement of his other anti-Jewish 
measures he relied on the help of the temporal power in all 
Christian countries. 1 

The declaration of war made by Innocent III. was a 
terrible calamity for the Jews; but though it affected at 

1 Letters of Innocent (Migne, Patrologice Cursus Oompletus, Vols. 214- 
217) ; Lib. VII., 186 ; Lib. VIII., 50, 121 ; Lib. X., 61, 190 ; Corpus Juris 
Canoniei (Leipzig, 1839), II., 747-8 ; G-raetz, Gesohichte der Juden, VII., 
7, 8 ; Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyev, Age, 183 ; Halm, Gesohichte der 
Ketzer, III., 6, 7 ; Hurter, Gesehiehte Papst Innocenz der Britten, II., 234 ; 
Grtidemann, Gesehiehte des Erziehnrtgswesens, u.s.w., I., 37 ; Rule, History 
of the J)igtdsition, I. 10, 17. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 431 

once the whole of Christian Europe, still its evil results 
might have passed away in time. Popes were but men 
and politicians ; and just as Innocent had, by the publica- 
tion of his wishes and decrees concerning the Jews, set 
himself in opposition to his predecessors, so might his 
successors, in their turn, moved by different feelings or 
taking a different view of the interests and duties of the 
Church, set themselves in opposition to him, and go back 
to the old lenient opinions and practice. But within a 
few years of the death of Innocent, the work of attacking 
the Jews ceased to be in the hands of any one man, and 
passed over to a body of men habitually influenced not by 
personal or political considerations, but only by what they 
conceived to be the interest of religion, and filled with a 
hatred of the Jews more fierce and fanatical and steadfast 
than that of the Popes could ever have been. 

The Dominican order was formally constituted in 1223, 
and from the earliest years of its existence devoted itself 
to the task of rooting out unbelief from the Christian 
world. The work that its members at first professed 
to regard as peculiarly their own was that of preaching, 
but on the Jews their preaching had no effect. With an 
ingenuity and determination worthy of the order that in a 
later century was to provide the Inquisition with its. chief 
ministers, the Dominicans devised and carried out another 
plan of action. Assisted by converted Jews who had joined 
them, they undertook the study of Hebrew, and their 
master, Raymundus de Pefiaforte, induced the King of 
Spain to build and endow seminaries for the purpose. 1 
Armed with this new knowledge, they were able to attack, 
first, what they represented as the foolish and pernicious 
contents of such Jewish books as the Talmud, and 
secondly, the stubbornness of the Jews who refused to 
accept the doctrines of Christianity, the truth of which 
the Dominicans professed to be able to demonstrate from 

the Old Testament. Two incidents which must at the 

__________„___ j 

1 Graetz, Gesehichte der Juden, VII., 27. 
F F 2 



432 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

time have been famous throughout Europe illustrate their 
method of warfare. In 1239 Nicolas Donin, a converted 
Jew who had become a Dominican friar, laid before 
Gregory IX. a series of statements concerning the Talmud. 
Helped, no doubt, by all the influence of his order, he 
induced the Pope to issue bulls to the Kings of France, 
England, and Spain, and the bishops in those countries, 
ordering that all copies of the Talmud should be seized, 
and that public inquiry should be held concerning the 
charges brought against the book. In England and Spain 
nothing seems to have been done, but in Paris the Pope's 
instructions were carried out, and, at the instigation 
of the leading Dominicans, St. Louis ordered that all 
copies of the Talmud that could be found in France 
should be confiscated, and that four Eabbis should, on 
behalf of the Jews, hold a public debate with Donin, in 
order to meet, if they could, the charges that he was 
prepared to maintain. In the course of the debate, which 
was held in the precincts of the Court and in the presence 
of members of the Royal family and great dignitaries of 
the Church, Donin asserted that the Talmud encouraged 
the Jews to despise, deceive, rob, and even murder 
Christians, that it contained blasphemous falsehoods con- 
cerning Christ, superstitions and puerilities of all kinds, 
and passages disrespectful to God and inconsistent with 
morality. The Rabbis answered as best they could, but 
the court of Inquisitors decided that the charges had been 
substantiated, and ordered that all the confiscated copies 
of the Talmud should be burnt. After a delay of about 
two years the Auto-da-fe took place, and fourteen cartloads 
of the Talmud were sacrificed. 1 The other famous 
incident of the kind took place in Spain. Pablo Christiano, 
a converted Jew, who, like Donin, had joined the 
Dominicans, challenged the Jews of Aragon to a dis- 
cussion on the differences between Judaism and Chris- 

1 Revue des Etudes Juives, I. 247, 293 ; II. 248 ; III. 39 ; Noel Valois, 
Guillaume d'Awnergne, pp. 118, 137. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 433 

tianity, and induced James I. to compel them to take 
up the challenge. The famous Nachmanides came for- 
ward as the representative of his co-religionists. Pablo 
undertook to show that the Old Testament, and other 
books recognised by the Jews, taught that the Messiah 
had come, that he was "very God and very man," 
that he suffered and died for the salvation of mankind, 
and that with his advent the ceremonial law ceased to 
be of any effect. Nachmanides denied that any of these 
propositions could be substantiated from the Jewish 
sacred books. For four days the disputation was carried 
on in the presence of the king and many great personages 
of Church and State. Of course the verdict was that the 
Christian disputant had beaten the Jew. 1 

The method of conducting these two controversies showed 
that the Dominicans were determined to use every possible 
weapon against the Jews. The Talmud, a huge, hetero- 
geneous and unedited compilation, contains passages 
which are trivial and foolish, and others, written by men 
who had memories of persecution fresh in their minds, 
which express bitter hatred towards the " Gentiles," that is, 
the Romans who had taken Jerusalem, and had destroyed 
the nationality of the Jewish race. It was easy for an 
opponent to pick out such passages, to assert that what 
was said against the " Gentiles " expressed, not the feelings 
of the victims of persecution against the Romans of the 
second century, but the feelings of all Jews towards all 
non-Jews, at every time and at every place, and to convince 
an uncritical audience that those who held in honour the 
book that contained such passages were enemies of religion, 
against whose influence it behoved all Christian powers to 
guard the faithful. Similarly, by compelling the Jews to 
take part in a discussion concerning the prophecies of the 
Old Testament, the Dominicans imposed on them the choice 
between the two alternatives of betraying their religion by 

1 Histoire Litteraire Ac la France, XXVII., 562-3 ; Graetz, Geschichte, 
VII., 131, 135. 



434 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

acquiescing in what they believed to be a false interpreta- 
tion of their scripture, or else of proclaiming publicly their 
disbelief in doctrines which were at the very foundation 
of Christianity. The effect on the ruling classes in. Europe 
of the two discussions just mentioned must have been very 
great. And the Dominicans were continually carrying on 
the same work, though, of course, seldom before audiences 
so distinguished. Pablo, for example, travelled about Spain 
and Provence, compelling the Jews, by virtue of a royal 
edict that had been issued in his favour, to hold disputes 
with him on matters of religion. 1 Many other members of 
the order devoted their lives to the same pursuit, 2 and thus 
did their best to fill the rulers of the Church with a dread 
of the terrible consequences that the existence of Judaism 
threatened to the Christian religion. 

And, unfortunately for the Jews, their religion began to 
be feared at the same time as cruel and powerful fanatics 
like Innocent and the Dominicans were doing their best to 
cause it to be hated. There is good reason to believe, 
though detailed evidence is not abundant, that towards the 
end of the Middle Ages Judaism exercised over the super- 
stitions of other faiths the same fascination as in the first 
century of the Eoman Empire. Thomas Aquinas believed 
that unrestricted intercourse between Jews and Christians 
was likely to result in the conversion of Christians to 
Judaism, and for that reason he thought it right, in spite 
of the general liberality of his opinions concerning the 
Jews, that intercourse with them should be allowed to such 
Christians alone as were strong in the faith, and were more 
likely to convert them than to be converted by them. 3 " It 
happens sometimes," wrote a Pope of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, " that Christians, when they are visited by the Lord 
with sickness and tribulation, go astray, and have recourse 

1 G-raetz, Geschichte der Juden, VII., 135 ; J. Jacobs, Inquiry into the 
Sources of the History of the Jews in Spain, xviii., 18. 

2 Seriptores Ordinis Pradicatorum (Quetif and Echard), I., 246, 396, 
398, 594. 

3 Thomas Aquinas, Sv.mma Theologue, Secunda Secundse, Qusestio X. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 435 

to the vain help of the Jewish rite. They hold in the 
synagogues of the Jews torches and lighted candles, and 
make offerings there. Likewise they keep vigils (especially 
on the Sabbath), in the hope that the sick may be restored 
to health, that those at sea may reach harbour, that those 
in childbirth may be safely delivered, and that the barren 
may become fruitful and rejoice in offspring. For the ac- 
complishment of these and other wishes, they implore the 
help of the said rite, and in idolatrous fashion show open 
signs of devotion and reverence to a scroll, not without 
much harm to the orthodox faith, contumely to our Creator, 
and opprobrium and shame to the Universal Church." 1 

The anti-Jewish feeling that grew up from the causes 
that have just been described called into existence new 
institutions and measures designed for the purpose of 
humbling the Jews and checking the growth of Judaism. 
In compliance with the cruel request of Innocent, most of 
the monarchs of Europe compelled their Jewish subjects to 
wear a badge. 2 Local church councils, which hitherto had 
contented themselves with the attempt to enforce the old 
prohibition against the employment by Jews of Christian 
servants and nurses, now went further, and forbade 
Christians to allow the presence of Jews in their houses 
and taverns, to feast or dance with them, to be present at 
the celebration of their marriages, their new moons, and 
their festivals, and to employ their services as doctors. 3 
The Popes of the latter part of the thirteenth century 
appointed Dominicans in various countries of Europe to 
perform the duty of preaching to the Jews, and of holding 
inquisitions into their heresies, in the hope that with the 
help of the secular power they might stamp them out 4 

In England the relation of the Jews to the Christians 
underwent somewhat the same changes as in Continental 

1 Baronius, Annates Eceltsiastici (ed. Theiner), XIII., 87. 

2 Revue ties Etudes faiives, VI. 81 ; VII. 94. 

3 Mansi, Concilia. XXIII., 1174-6 ; Martene, Thesaurus, IV., 769. 

4 Deeping, 198 : Hahn, Oesehiehte der Ketzer, III., 13 ; Rule, History of 
tin; Inquisition, I. 27, 80, 81, 91, 332, 335-6. 



436 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Europe. Before the thirteenth century the Jews in Eng- 
land had, as has been said above, been free from molestation 
by the Church, 1 and their chief danger had been from the 
brutality and greed of the disorderly populace, of desperate 
outcasts, and of marauding Crusaders. 2 The first great 
attack made on them by any constituted power came 
from Stephen Langton, who, not content with passing 
at his Provincial Synod a decree which, in accordance 
with the regulations of Innocent, enforced the use of 
the badge and prohibited the erection of new synagogues, 
went so far as to issue orders that no one in his diocese 
should presume, under pain of excommunication, to have 
any intercourse with Jews, or should sell them any of 
the necessaries of life. The Bishops of Lincoln and 
Norwich issued the same orders in their dioceses. 3 Many 
other bishops in the reign of Henry III. did their best, 
partly by legislation in their diocesan synods and 
partly by the use of their personal and spiritual influence, 
to check intercourse between Jews and Christians.* Of 
course the king's guardians, in the interest of the royal 
income, a considerable part of which was derived from 
the Jewry, interfered to prevent the measures of Langton 
and his colleagues from being carried into effect. And 
Henry, when he took into his own hands the work of 
government, while, on the one hand, he showed his 
sympathy with the fears of the Church by building 
a house for the reception of Jewish converts, 5 and by 
lending the sanction of the civil power to the decree that 
ordered the use of the badge, 6 nevertheless followed the 
example that his guardians had set, and protected the Jews 
against the aggression of the Church. 

1 Supra, p. 428. 2 Supra, pp. 82, 83, 89. 

3 Wilkins, Magnce Britannice Concilia, I., 591 ; Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 
83 ; Rye, History of Norfolk, 87. 

* Wilkins, Magnce Britannia Concilia, I., 657, 693, 719 ; Letters of 
Bishop Orosseteste (Rolls Series), 318. 

5 Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, III., 262. 

6 Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 148. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 437 

There were many reasons which might have caused 
Edward to sympathise more strongly than his father 
had done, with the anti-Jewish feelings of the Church. 
He was a pious man and a pious king, filled with a sense 
of his kingly duty towards "the living God who takes 
to himself the souls of Princes." 1 He was a Crusader, 
though the great crusading age was over, a founder of 
monasteries, a pilgrim to holy places; and through his 
confessors he was in close connection with, and under 
the influence of, the Dominican order. 2 Some of his 
bishops were determined enemies of the Jews. John 
of Peckham, for example, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
insisted at one time on the demolition of all the small 
private synagogues in London, at which the Jews were 
in the habit of worshipping after the confiscation of 
their great public synagogues at the end of the reign 
of Henry III. ; at another time he demanded from the 
king the help of the temporal power against Jews who 
having once been converted to Christianity, wished to go 
back to their old faith ; on another occasion he took the 
bold step of writing to the Queen concerning her business 
transactions with the Jews, solemnly warning her that 
unless she gave them up she could never be absolved from 
her sins, "nay, not though an angel should assert the 
contrary." 3 At Hereford, Bishop Swinfield was so 
determined to prevent intercourse with Jews that, when 
he heard that certain Christians intended to be present 
at a marriage feast to be given by some rich Jews of the 
city, he issued a proclamation threatening with ex- 
communication any who should carry out their intention, 
and, when his proclamation was disregarded, he carried out 
his threat. 4 

1 Rymer, Fasdera, I., 743. 

4 Tout, Edward I., pp. 69, 149. 

3 John of Peckham, Registrum Epistolarum (Rolls Series), I., 239 ; 
II., 407 ; III., 937 ; Wilkins, Magnm Britannia Concilia, II., 88-9 ; 
Prynne, Second Demurrer, 121-2. 

* Household Boll of Bishop Swinfield (Camden Society), pp. c, ci. 



438 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Certain events that happened, or were said to have 
happened, in England in Edward's lifetime, some, indeed, 
under his own observation, may well have seemed to him 
to justify the attitude of the Church. In 1275 a Domini- 
can friar was converted to Judaism. 1 In 1268, while 
Edward was in Oxford, the Chancellor, masters and 
scholars of the University, and the Parochial Clergy, were 
going in procession to visit the shrine of St. Friedswide 
when, according to a story that gained general credence, 
a Jew of the city snatched from the bearer a cross that 
was being carried at their head and trod it under foot. 2 
At Norwich, early in Edward's reign, a Jew was burnt 
for blasphemy. 3 At Nottingham, in 1278, a Jewess was 
charged with abusing in scandalous terms all the Christian 
bystanders in the market-place. 4 

Edward's conduct could not but be influenced by the 
general tone of opinion in the Church, by the strong 
anti- Jewish feeling of some of his bishops, and by the 
follies, real or supposed, of the Jews themselves. In 
continuation of his father's policy he made, throughout 
his reign, such contributions as, with his scanty means, he 
could afford, to the support of the House of Converts. 5 He 
renewed the edict concerning the wearing of the badge, 
and extended it to Jewesses, whereas it had formerly 
applied only to Jews. 6 In order that the Dominicans 
might be able to carry on in England the same efforts at 
conversion as they were already pursuing in France, Spain 
and Germany, he issued to all the sheriffs and bailiffs in 
England writs bidding them do their best so induce all 

1 Gxaetz, Qeschiehte der Jtiden, VII., note 11. Florence of Worcester 
(English Historical Society), II., 214. 

2 Tovey, Anglia Judaiea, 168. 

3 Forty-ninth Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records. 
p. 187. 

4 Forty-seventh Report of the Deputy-Keeper of tlie Public Records, 
p. 306. 

* Dictionary of Political Economy, Article, "Jews (House for Con- 
verted)." 
6 Tovey, Anglia Judaiea, 208. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 439 

the Jews in the counties and towns under their charge 
to assemble and hear the word of God preached by the 
friars. 1 To meet the danger to religion that might arise 
from the blasphemous utterances of Jews, he ordered that 
proclamation should be made throughout England that 
any Jew found guilty (after an enquiry conducted by 
Christians) of having spoken disrespectfully of Christ, the 
Virgin Mary, or the Catholic faith, should be liable to the 
loss of life or limbs. 2 

Thus far Edward was prepared to go, and no farther. 
He believed that the Jews, so long as they remain Jews, 
lived in ignorance and sin, and he did what he could to 
help the friars in the effort to convert them. He believed 
that some among them were likely to make blasphemous 
attacks on Christianity, and he did what he could to keep 
them in check. But he believed that it was possible for 
them to live in peace and quietness, carrying on trades and 
handicrafts, among Christian neighbours in Christian 
towns. And it was to enable them to do so that he 
adopted the policy of 1275, and bade the Jews renounce 
usury, giving them at the same time permission " to prac- 
tise trade, to live by their labour, and, for those purposes, 
freely to converse with Christians." But, as we have seen, 
there were imposed on the Jews who attempted to avail 
themselves of this permission, legal disadvantages which 
wholly unfitted them for industrial competition with non- 
Jews, and compelled them to continue the practice of 
usury. That Edward recognised this fact is shown by 
the issue of the revised Statute of Usurers some years 
after 1275 ; but that measure was inconclusive and incon- 
sistent with the rest of his policy. Sooner or later the 
conclusion would have forced itself on him that until the 
Jews were, by the acquisition of the right to become 
burgesses and gildsmen, enabled to enter into industrial 

1 Forty-ninth Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Mecordtt, 
p. 95 ; Rymer, Fcedera, I., 576 ; Madox, Exchequer, I., 259. 

2 Tovey, Aiujlia Jndaiva, p. 208. 



440 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

competition on equal terms with Christians, all his efforts 
to make them traders instead of usurers would be wasted. 
He would then have had before him two alternatives. He 
might, on the one hand, have declined to sacrifice his 
seignorial rights over the Jews, whom he had described 
in the Statute of 1275 as " talliable to the king as his own 
serfs, and not otherwise," and in that case he would have 
had to recognise that his whole Jewish policy was an 
impossible one. Or he might, on the other hand, have 
revoked the provision in the statute which forbade the 
Jews to be in " scots, lots, or talliage with the other 
inhabitants of those cities or burgesses where they re- 
mained." Such a measure would have been a step in the 
only direction which could possibly lead to the success of 
his policy. But it would not by itself have been enough 
to secure success; for, when the legal difficulties of the 
Jews had been removed, there would still have remained 
the social difficulties which proceeded from the dislike in 
which they were held by the Church and the people ; and, 
unless these difficulties also could be removed, so that the 
Jews might be in a position of social equality, as well as 
legal equality, with Christians, and associate with them 
in friendly intercourse, the king's policy would be as far 
from success as ever. Which alternative Edward would 
have decided to adopt is, of course, a question we have 
no means of answering; but the decision was taken out 
of his hands by the interference, for the first and last 
time in English history, of the head of the Catholic Church 
in the relations between the Jews and the king. 

At the end of 1286, Honorius IV. addressed to the 
Archbishops of Canterbury 1 and York 2 and their suffragans 
the following bull : — 

" We have heard that in England the accursed and 
perfidious Jews have done unspeakable things and horrible 
acts, to the shame of our Creator and the detriment of the 

1 Baronius, Annates Ecclesiastic,!, (ed. Theiner), XIII., 10, II. 
- Ttevue des Etudes Jtiives, I., 298. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 441 

Catholic faith. They are said to have a wicked and 
deceitful book, which they commonly call Thalmud, con- 
taining manifold abominations, falsehoods, heresies, and 
abuses. This damnable work they continually study, and 
with its nefarious contents their base thoughts are always 
engaged. Moreover, they set their children from their 
tender years to study its lethal teaching, and they do not 
scruple to tell them that they ought to believe in it more 
than in the Law of Moses, so that the said children may 
flee from the path of God and go astray in the devious 
ways of the unbelievers. Moreover, they not only attempt 
to entice the minds of the faithful to their pestilent sect, 
but also, with many gifts, they seduce to apostasy those 
who, led by wholesome counsel, have abjured the error of 
infidelity and betaken themselves to the Christian faith ; 
so that some, being led away by the treachery of the Jews, 
live with them according to their rite and law, even in 
the parishes in which they received new life from the 
sacred font of baptism ; and hence arise injury to our 
Saviour, scandal to the faithful, and dishonour to the 
Christian faith. Some also who have been baptised they 
send to other places, in order that there they may live 
unknown and return to their disbelief. They invite and 
urgently persuade Christians to attend their synagogues on 
the Sabbath and on other of their solemn occasions, to hear 
and take part in their services, and to show reverence to 
the parchment-scroll or book in which their law is written, 
in consequence of which many Christians Judaise with the 
Jews. 

" Moreover, they have in their households Christians 
whom they compel to busy themselves on Sundays and 
feast-days with servile tasks from which they should re- 
frain. And so they cast opprobrium on the majesty of 
God. They have in their houses Christian women to bring 
up their children. Christian men and women dwell among 
them ; and so it often happens, when occasion offers and 
the time is favourable to shameful actions, that Christian 



442 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

men have unblessed intercourse with Jewish women and 
Christian women with Jewish men. 

" Yet Christians and Jews go on meeting in each others' 
houses. They spend their leisure in banqueting and feast- 
ing together, and hence the opportunity for mischief be- 
comes easy. On certain days they publicly abuse Christians, 
or rather curse them, and do other wicked acts which offend 
God and cause the loss of souls. 

" And although some of you have been often asked to 
devise a fitting remedy for these things, yet you have 
failed to comply. Whereat we are forced to wonder the 
more, since the duty of your pastoral office binds you to 
show yourselves more ready and determined than other 
men to avenge the wrongs of our Saviour, and to oppose 
the nefarious attempts of the foes of the Christian faith. 

" An evil so dangerous must not be made light of, lest, 
being neglected, it may grow great. You are bound to rise 
up with ready courage against such audacity in order that it 
may be completely suppressed and confounded and that the 
dignity and glory of the Catholic Faith may increase. There- 
fore by this apostolic writing we give orders that, as the duty 
of your office demands, you shall use inhibitions, spiritual 
and temporal penalties and other methods, which shall seem 
good to you, and which in your preaching and at other 
fitting times you shall set forth, to the end, that this dis- 
ease may be checked by proper remedies. So may you 
have your reward from the mercy of the Eternal King. 
We shall extol in our prayers your wisdom and diligence. 
Let us know fully by your letters what you do in this 
matter." 

X. — The Effects of the Clerical Opposition. 

Edward was too religious to disregard the wishes of the 
Pope, expressed thus formally and solemnly and with the 
utmost strength of language. And he had special reasons 
for paying heed to the words of Honorius IV., on whose 
money-lenders he was dependent for loans, and whose 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 443 

predecessor had, by the exercise of his spiritual powers, 
secured for him a tenth part of the goods of the clergy of 
England. 1 From the moment of the issue of the bull, the 
policy inaugurated by the statute of 1275 was doomed. 
For of the two alternatives that Edward would have had 
before him in any further Jewish legislation that he might 
have undertaken — the alternatives of the abandonment of 
the policy of 1275, or the extension of it by further 
measures for the assimilation of the status of Jews to that 
of Christians — the Church now demanded that he should 
at once adopt the former. It demanded that the Jews of 
England should live isolated from the Christians ; and this 
they could do only so long as they kept to pursuits, such as 
usury, for the practice of which they required no connec- 
tion with the organisation of a gild or a town. 

For a time Edward could take no decisive measures, since 
when the bull reached England, he had left for Gascony. 2 
In that province nothing had apparently as yet been done 
to satisfy the demand made by the Council of Lyons, in 
1274, that alien usurers should no longer be tolerated in 
the land of Christians. It was hopeless to try to enforce 
in a distant dependency the policy that had been beset in 
England with so many difficulties, and had now incurred 
the direct opposition of the Church. The only alternative 
was expulsion, a measure that on French soil suggested it- 
self the more naturally, since two French kings had practi- 
cally adopted it already. Before he returned home, Edward 
issued an order that all Jews should leave Gascony. 3 

The application of the same measure in England was a 
more serious matter, since the English Jews were doubtless 
a much larger community than those of Gascony. But, 
determined not to tolerate them as usurers, and convinced 



1 Rymer, L, 560-1. 

2 Edward left England May, 1286. Florence of Worcester (English 
Historical Society), II., 236. 

3 Willelmi Rishmger Chronica et Annates (Bolls Series), 116 ; Flores 
Histwiurum (Rolls Series), III., 70-71. 



444 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

of the hopelessness of his efforts to change them into 
traders, Edward had no alternative but to treat them as he 
had treated their coreligionists in Gascony. 

No doubt he was influenced in his resolution by the mem- 
bers of his family and court. His wife and mother and 
various of his officers had been in the habit of receiving 
liberal grants from the property and forfeitures of the 
Jews. 1 They must have known that this resource was 
decreasing steadily, and was not worth husbanding, and 
they must have welcomed a measure which would bring 
into the King's hands a fairly large amount of spoil capable 
of immediate distribution. And, probably, some of the 
ecclesiastical members of the court felt, as his mother 
certainly did, 2 a religious hatred of the Jews and a religious 
joy at the prospect of their disappearance. 

XL — The Expulsion. 

Of the course of events for the first few months after 
Edward's return to England, very meagre accounts have 
come down to us. His searching inquiry into the conduct 
of the judges during his absence 3 must have taken up 
most of his time and energy. As soon as he had meted 
out punishment to those whom he had found guilty of 
corruption, he turned to the Jewish question. On the 
18th of July, 1290, writs were issued to the sheriffs of 
counties, informing them that a decree had been passed 
that all Jews should leave England before the feast of 
All Saints of that year. 4 Any who remained in the country 

1 Forty-second Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records, 
593 ; Forty-fourth Report, 109, 295 ; Forty-fifth Report, 72, 163 ; 
Forty-ninth Report, 81 ; Calendar of Patent Rolls from 1281 to 1292, 
62, 193 ; Archceologia, VI., 339 ; Madox, History of the Exchequer, I. 
225 w ; 230 b ; 231 I ; John of Peckham, Registrum Epistolarum, II. 
619 ; III., 937 ; Rogers, Oxford City Documents (Oxford Historical 
Society), 208, 219 ; Tovey, Anglia Judaiea, 200. 

8 Graetz, Geschichte der Jnden (Second Edition), VII., note 11. 

' Chronicles of Edward I. and Edward II. (Rolls Series), L, 97 ; The 
Chronicle of Pierre de Lanytoft (Rolls Series), II., 185-6. 

* Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 240. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 445 

after the prescribed day were declared liable to the penalty 
of death. 1 

Every effort was made by the King to secure the peace 
and safety of the Jews during the short period for which 
they were allowed to remain, and in the course of their 
journey from their homes to the coast, and from the coast 
to their ultimate destination. The sheriffs were ordered 
to have public proclamation made that "no one within 
the appointed period should injure, harm, damage, or 
grieve them," and were to ensure, for such as chose to pay 
for it, a safe journey to London. The wardens of the 
Cinque Ports, within the district of whose jurisdiction 
many of the Jews would necessarily embark, received 
orders of the same spirit as those that had been addressed 
to the sheriffs of the counties. They were to see that the 
exiles were provided, after payment, with a safe and 
speedy passage across the sea, and that the poor among 
them were enabled to travel at cheap rates and were treated 
with consideration. 2 These general orders were reinforced 
by the issue of special writs of safe-conduct for individual 
Jews. 3 The exiles were allowed to carry with them all 
of their own property that was in their possession at the 
time of the issue of the decree of expulsion, together with 
such pledges deposited with them by Christians as were 
not redeemed before a fixed date. A few Jews who were 
high in the favour of royal personages, such as Aaron, son 
of Vives, who was a "chattel" of the King's brother 
Edmund, 4 and Cok, son of Hagin, who belonged to the 
Queen, 8 were allowed before their departure to sell their 
houses and fees to any Christian who would buy them. 

On St. Denis's Day all the Jews of London started on 
their journey to the sea-coast. 6 The treatment that they 
met with was not so merciful as the king had wished. 



1 Bartholomcei de Cotton, Historia Anglicana, (Rolls Series), p. 178. 

2 Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 240-2. 

8 lb. 241 ; Calendar of Patent Bolls from 1281 to 1292, 378, 381, 382. 

4 lb. 379. 5 lb. 384. • Ibid., 232. 

VOL. VII. G G 



446 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Many of the richer among them embarked with all their 
property at London. At the mouth of the Thames, the 
master cast anchor during the ebb-tide, so that his vessel 
grounded on the sands, and invited his passengers to walk 
on the shore till it was again afloat. He led them to a 
great distance, so that they did not get back till the tide 
was again full. Then he ran into the water, climbed into 
the ship by means of a rope, and bade them, if they needed 
help, call on their Prophet Moses. They followed him into 
the water, and most of them were drowned. The sailors 
appropriated all that the Jews had left on board. But 
subsequently the master and his accomplices were indicted, 
convicted of murder, and hanged. 1 

One body of the exiles set sail for France. During their 
voyage fierce storms swept the sea. Many were drowned. 
Many were cast destitute on the coast that they were 
seeking, and were allowed by the King to live for a time 
in Amiens. 2 This act of mercy, however, called forth the 
censure of the Pope, and the Parlement de la Chandeleur, 
which met in the same year, decreed that all the Jews 
from England and Gascony that had taken refuge in the 
French king's dominions should leave the country by the 
middle of the next Lent. 3 Another body, numbering 1,335, 
and consisting, to a great extent, of the poor, went to 
Flanders. 4 The only known fact that we have to guide 
our conjectures as to the ultimate place of settlement of 
any of those who left England is that, in a list of the in- 
habitants of the Paris Jewry, made four years after the 
Expulsion, there appear certain names with the additions 
of I'Englische or VEnglais. 6 It may well be that many Jews 

1 Walter of Hemingburgh, Chronicon (English Historical Society), I., 
21, 22 ; Bartholomseus Cotton, HUtoria Anglicaha (Rolls Series), 178 ; 
Annates Monastici, III., 362, IV., 327. 

* Opus Ohronicorum in Chronicles of S. Albans, J. de Trokelowe, etc., 
Annates (Rolls Series), 57. 

3 Lauriere, Ordownances des Rois de la France, I., 317. 

* Fortieth Report of Deputy-Keeper of Public Records, p. 474. 
5 Revue des ffiudes Juives, Vol. I., pp. 66, 67, 69. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 447 

from England, speaking the French language, were able, in 
spite of the Act of the Parlement de la Chandeleur, to become 
merged in the general body of the Jews of France, who 
were many times as numerous as those of England had 
been. 1 Many, too, may have thrown in their lot with their 
850,000 coreligionists of Spain. 2 

The property that they left behind them in England 
consisted of such dwelling-houses, and other houses, as 
remained to them in spite of the strict conditions imposed 
by the Statue of 1275, of the synagogues and cemeteries 
of their local congregations, and of bonds partly for the 
repayment of money, and partly for the delivery of wool 
and corn for which the price had been paid in advance. 
All fell into the hands of the King, 3 except, possibly, the 
houses in some of those towns, such as Hereford, Win- 
chester, and Ipswich, of which the citizens had by the 
purchase of manorial rights become entitled to all fines and 
forfeitures. 4 The annual value of the houses, as shown in 
the returns made by the sheriffs, was, after allowance had 
been made for. the right of the Capital Lords, about £130. 
The value of the debts, as shown in the register made by 
the officers of the Exchequer, was about £9,100, but the 
amount for realisation was diminished by the King's re- 
solve to take from the debtors, not the full amount for 
which they were liable, and which, under the amended 
statute of the Jewry, 5 could include three years' interest, 
but only the bare principal that had been originally 
advanced. Even this was not fully collected; payment 
was, by the King's permission, delayed, and confirmations, 

1 Graetz, VII.. 267. 2 Ibid., 155. 

3 Langtoft, II., 189 ; Hemingburgh, II., 21 ; Madox, Exch., I., 261. 

4 Johnson, Customs of Hereford, p. 100; Madox, Fir ma Burgi, 12 ] 
19, 23. I am not at all confident of tie accuracy of Mr. Johnson's state- 
ment, on which the latter half of this sentence is founded. Certainly some 
of the houses of the Jews of Hereford, Winchester, and Ipswich, were 
granted away by the king {Lansdowne MSS., British Museum, Vol. 826, 
part 5, Transcript i, Rotuli Originalium (Record Commission), I., Tib- 
76a. 

5 Papers Anglo-Jcioish Historical Exhibition, p. 230. 

G G 2 



448 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

made in 1315 and 1327, of the renunciation of interest, 
show how long some of the debts remained outstanding. 
Edward III. finally gave up the claim to all further 
payment. 1 

It was ordered that the houses should be sold and the 
proceeds devoted to pious uses. 2 But it appears that 
they were nearly all given away to the King's friends. 3 

XII. — The Necessity of the Expulsion. 

The Expulsion was not the act of a cruel king. The 
forbearance which marks the orders to the officers who 
were charged with the execution of the decree had been 
shown by Edward many a time before, when he protected 
Jews against claims too rigorously enforced, and ordered 
that his own rights should be waived where insistence on 
them would have deprived his debtors of their means of 
subsistence. 4 

Nor was it prompted by greed. It is true that im- 
mediately after it, and according to the account of many 
chroniclers, as an expression of gratitude for it, the 
Parliament voted a tenth and a fifteenth. 6 But this can- 

1 Rotiili Parliamentarian, I, 346 b ; II., 8a, 402a ; Statutes of Realm, 1 
Ed. III., Stat. 2, § 3. 

2 Tovey, 235 ; Prynne, Second Demurrer, 127 ; Papers, Anglo-Jewish 
Historical Exhibition, 21. 

3 A list not quite complete, of the houses belonging to the expelled 
Jews is contained in the Manuscript known as Q. B. Miscellanea : "Jews,'' 
No. 557, 9 and 11 (Public Record Office). A list of persons who received 
from the King -grants of Jews' houses, to hold at a nominal rental, is 
printed in Rotulorum Originalium. Abbreviatio (Record Commission) 
pp. 73 a -76 b , and the deeds of gift are copied in full in Lansdowne MSS. 
(British Museum) Vol. 826, Part 5, Transcript 4. Nearly all the houses 
mentioned in Q. R. Miscellanea are granted away by deeds included in the 
Motuli Originalium. and the Lansdowne Transcript. 

4 Madox, Exeh. I. 2, 248A, 258i, etc. ; Tovey, 207 ; Prynne, 2nd Ten, 59, 
76 ; Rymer, Fcedera, 523, 598. 

5 Chronica Monasterii de Melsa (Rolls Series), II., 251-2. Annates Monas- 
tici, III., 362 ; W. de Hemingburgh, Chronieon (English Historical 
Society) II., 22. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 449 

not have been a bribe offered beforehand, for the writs 
announcing the decree were issued on the fourth day after 
that for which the Parliament was summoned. 1 It is 
impossible to suppose that in so short an interval the 
question was brought up, the policy chosen, the price 
fixed, and the decree issued. It is equally impossible 
that Edward's conduct should have been affected by the 
prospect of the confiscation of the small amount of property 
that the Jews left behind them. 

The Expulsion was a piece of independent royal action, 
made necessary by the impossibility of carrying out the 
only alternative policy that an honourable Christian king 
could adopt. And the impossibility was not of Edward's 
making. It was the result of many causes, and the know- 
ledge of it had been brought home to him by many proofs. 
The guesses of our contemporary, and all but contemporary, 
authorities who take on themselves to explain his action, 
show how many were the obstacles before which he had to 
confess himself vanquished. In one chronicle the Expulsion 
is represented as a concession to the prayer of the Pope ; 2 in 
another, as the result of the efforts of Queen Eleanor ; s in a 
third, as a measure of summary punishment against the blas- 
phemy of the Jews, taken to give satisfaction to the English 
clergy ; 4 in a fourth as an answer to the complaints made by 
the magnates of the continued prevalence of usury ; 5 in a fifth 
as an act of conformity to public opinion ; 6 in a sixth, as a 
reform suggested by the King's independent general enquiry 
into the administration of the kingdom during his absence, 

1 Parliament was summoned for July 1 5th ; see Parliamentary Paper 69 ; 
of 1878 (H. of 0.) "Parliaments of England " ; the writs ordering the Expul- 
sion were issued on July the 18th ; see Tovey, 240. 

2 French Chronicler of London, in Riley's Clvronicles of Old London, 

242. 

3 Annates Monastics, II., 409. 
1 lb., III., 361. 

s W. de Hemingburgh, II., 20. 

' Chronicles of Edward I. and Edward II. (Rolls Series) Vol. I. 99 
(" Omnes Judasi . . . . concedente Rege Edwardo exulantur"). 



450 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

and his discovery, through the complaints of the Council, 
of the " deceits " of the Jews. 1 

Each of these statements gives us some information as 
to the nature and extent of the failure of Edward's policy. 
None gives the true cause, for none sets before us the true 
position of the Jews and their relations with their 
neighbours. It is true that it was the bull of Honorius 
that finally compelled Edward to give up his attempt to 
assimilate the position of the Jews to that of Christian 
traders. It is true, no doubt, that his mother had from the 
first dissuaded him from generous treatment, and, perhaps, 
had induced him to lessen the chance of the success of his 
policy by asserting his right over them as over his serfs. 2 
But the bull of the Pope and the personal influence of the 
Queen-mother were alike unnecessary. If Edward had 
waived all his rights, if the Church had in his reign relented 
towards the Jews instead of increasing its bitterness towards 
them, both acts of generosity would have come too late. 
The same causes that had made the Jews accept the posi- 
tion of royal usurers at the end of the eleventh century, 
and of royal chattels at the end of the twelfth, made 
it impossible for them to give up either position at the 
end of the thirteenth. From the moment of their arrival in 
England they had been hated by the common people. 
They never had an opportunity of acquiring interests 
in common with their neighbours, or of entering their 
social or industrial institutions. Isolation brought with 
it danger. For the sake of safety they had to accept royal 
protection ; and their protectors long held them in a close 
grip, until one at last refused to tolerate them under the 
same conditions as had satisfied his predecessors. But to 

1 The Chronicle of Pierre Langtoft (Bolls Series), II., 187-89. 

2 Cum . . concesserimus Karissimas matri nostrae Aleanorae Regime 
Angliae quod nullus Judaeus habitet vel moretur in quibuscunque villis 
quas ipsa mater nostra habet in dotem. . . Papers of the Anglo-Jewish, 
Historical Exhibition, pp. 187-8. Forty-fourth Report of the Deputy 
Keeper of the Public Records, p. 6. Grraetz, Gesehichte der Juden (Second 
edition), VII., note 11. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 451 

have given them their freedom would only have been to 
expose them to the old dislike and the old danger. If 
Edward had allowed them to become citizens, and had set 
at naught the bull of Honorius, he would have seen the 
English towns refusing to support his policy and denying 
to the Jews the right to join the gild merchant, to learn 
trades and to practise them, and to enjoy the protection of 
municipal laws and customs. 

For towards all new-comers, of whatever race or religion, 
the English burgesses of the Middle Ages showed a 
spirit of unyielding exclusiveness. 1 But the feeling against 
the Jews was far greater than that against any other 
class. Every reference to them in English literature, 
before the Expulsion and long after it, shows its strength 
and bitterness. "Hell is without light where they 
sing lamentations," says one poet of them. 2 Another who, 
writing a few years after the Expulsion, mentions the 
massacre at the coronation of Richard I., finds in it 
nothing to wonder at, and nothing to regret. To him it 
is only natural that " The king took it for great shame 
That from such unclean things as them any meat to him 
came." 3 The chroniclers of the time refer to them again 
and again, and always in the same tone of dislike. " The 
Jews," says Matthew Paris, in his account of one of the 
most cruel of Henry Ill's acts of extortion, " had nearly 
all their money taken from them, and yet they were not 
pitied, because it is proved, and is manifest, that they are 
continually convicted of forging charters, seals and coins." * 
" They are a sign for the nation like Cain the accursed," he 
says elsewhere. 5 The eulogist of Edward I., when he 
recounts the great deeds of his hero, tells with pride and 

1 Compare the treatment of the Flemings, who settled as weavers in 
different towns of England soon after the Conquest, but had to retreat 
to one district in Wales, where they lived under special royal protection. 
Cunningham, The Growth of English Industry and Commerce, 176 ; and 
see Gross, Gild Merchant, II., 155-6. 

2 Jacobs, 14. 3 Ibid., 107. 

* Historic Anglorum, III., 76. s IHd., III., 103. 



452 The Jeivish Quarterly Review. 

without a word of pity how "the perfidious and un- 
believing horde of Jews is driven forth from England in 
one day into exile. 1 And just as no punishment that they 
can suffer is regarded as too heavy for their sins, so no 
story of their misdoings, whether it be of the murder of 
Christian children, of insults to the Christian religion, or 
of fraud on Christian debtors, is too improbable or too 
brutal or too trivial to be repeated. 2 

The popular hatred showed itself in deed as well as in 
word. The massacres of 1190 were imitated on a small 
scale at intervals during the sojourn of the Jews in Eng- 
land. Bradiers and hosiers bakers and shoemakers, tailors 
and copperers, priests and Oxford scholars were all ready 
to take part in the looting of a Jewry. 3 

Nor was there any influence exercised by the higher 
classes to make the populace less intolerant. 4 A great 
lady declared that it was a disgrace for one of her rank to 
sit in a carriage in which a Jewess had sat. A great noble 
thought it a good jest, when a Jew on his estate fell into a 
pit on a Friday, to order that he should not be helped out 
either on the Jewish Sabbath or on the Christian, in order 
that the absurdity of the Mosaic legislation might be 
demonstrated — at the cost, as it resulted, of the Jew's 
life. 5 

Bishops supported with eagerness the charge of child- 
murder repeatedly brought against the Jews, 6 though Popes 
and Councils had declared it to be groundless 7 ; and the 
judge who showed the greatest eagerness for the punish- 

1 Clironicles of Edward I. and Edward II. (Rolls Series), Covimendatio 
Zamentabilis, II., 14. 

2 M. Paris, Chronica Majora, V., 114 ; Annates Monastici, IV., 503 ; 
Gesta Abbatum Monasterii, 8. Albani (Rolls Series), I., 471. 

3 Annates] Momstici, IV., 91 ; Norfolk Antiquarian, Miscellany, I., 331 ; 
Forty-fourth Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records, 188 ; 
Be Antiquis Legibus, Camden Soc, 50 ; Tovey, 156 ; Prynne, Second 
Demurrer, 118. 4 Jacobs, 26. 

s W. Rishanger, Chronica et Annates (Rolls Series), p. 4. 

6 M. Paris, Chronica Majora, IV. 30, 31. 

' Hahn, Gesohichte dcr KeUer, III., 35, n. 2. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 453 

merit of the Jewish prisoners who were accused on the 
monstrous charge of having murdered Hugh of Lincoln, 
was a man who was held in especial honour by his con- 
temporaries as a scholar and a circumspect and discreet 
man. 1 

Thus the Christians were not likely to endure the Jews 
as neighbours and fellow-workers, and the Jews, even if 
they had been permitted, would have been as little willing 
to live the life and follow the ordinary pursuits of citizens. 
It was not that they loved usury as a calling. On the 
contrary, they entered willingly into all those professions 
that gave them the opportunity of being their own masters 
and living according to their own fashion. Many of them 
were physicians, and among the most esteemed in Europe. 2 
In Italy, where the municipal and gild organisations were 
easier to enter, and less narrow and exacting in their con- 
stitution, than those of England, 3 they worked at trades. 4 
In Sicily, under Frederic II., some Jews were employed 
as administrators, and many more were agriculturists. 5 
In Eome, one was treasurer of the household of Pope 
Alexander III., and in Southern France another filled the 
same office under Count Raymond, of Toulouse. 6 In 
Austria, they were the financial ministers of the Archduke, 7 
and in Spain, one was chamberlain to Alphonso the Wise, 
and many others were in the service of the same king. 8 
In England, some Jews were attached to the Court of 
Henry III., and treated with special favour ; others were 
useful and valued adherents of Richard, King of the 

1 M. Paris, Chronica Majora, V. 517 ; Annates Monastics, I. 345. 

2 BJvue des Etudes Juives, XVIII., 258 ; East Anglian, V. 10 ; Jacobs, 
88-9. 

3 Perrens, Ilistoire de Florence, III., 220-1, 226. Grregorovius, Oesch. der 
Stadt. Rom., V., 308. 

4 Thomas Aquinas, Opuscvlum, XXI. 

5 GrMemann, Oesch. des Erziehungswesens, etc., II., 287. 

8 Gudemann, II., 71 ; Hist. Litt. de la France, XXVII., 520. 
' Graetz, VII., 97. 
8 lb., 125-7. 



454 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Romans, 1 and, after the prohibition of usury, others, as we 
have seen, became corn-merchants, and wool-merchants. 

But the whole character of the Jews, their religious 
beliefs, and their national hopes, were such as to make 
repellent to them those close relations with Christians and 
Englishmen which would have been necessary if they had 
entered into the feudal or municipal organisations of the 
Middle Ages. They could not, without violating their 
religion, eat at a Gild feast, or take part in its religious 
ceremonies. Their teachers, like those of the Church, 
warned them against social intercourse with the Christians, 
" lest it might lead to inter-marriage." 2 They did not 
speak the English language. 3 They remained willingly 
outside the national and municipal life. 

Their isolation caused them no sorrow. Rather must 
it have been dear to them as a sign that they were faith- 
ful members of the one race to which in truth they 
belonged, the race of Israel. The interests that filled their 
mind were those that were common to them, not with 
the inhabitants of the country in which they lived, but 
with their brethren in faith and race scattered throughout 
the world. The rapidity and copiousness with which the 
stream of Jewish literature poured forth in the Middle 
Ages, showed how unfailing was the strength of the 
Jewish life which was its source. In Southern Europe the 
Jews waged among themselves fierce controversies over 
problems such as were suggested by the support that some 
of their Rabbis gave, or appeared to give, to the Aristotelian 
doctrines of the eternity of matter and the uncreativeness 
of God. 4 Among the English Jews, and in the communities 
of Northern France with whom the English Jews were in 
continual communication, literature, though less contro- 

1 Royal Letters (Rolls Series), II., 46 ; Madox, I., 257 g ; Rymer, Fcedera, 
I., 356. 

2 Jacobs, 269. 

3 Jewish Quarterly Review, IV. 12, 551 ; Hist. Zitt. de la France, 
27, 485, 650, sq. 

* Hist. IMt. de France, XXVII., 27, 650, sq. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 455 

versial and engaged with less deep questions, sufficed, 
nevertheless, even better to provide continual and engros- 
sing interest for the orthodox. There were read and 
written, down to the last years before the Expulsion, 
commentaries and super-commentaries on the Bible and 
the Talmud, lexicons and grammars, treatises on ritual 
and ceremonial. The Rabbis discussed what blessings it 
was right to use on all the occasions of life, on rising in 
the morning, or on retiring to rest at night, on eating, on 
washing, on being married, on hearing thunder. 1 The 
English Jews were strict observers of the ceremonial law, 2 
they made use in daily life of the minutiae of Rabbinical 
scholarship, they drew up their contracts " after the usage 
of the sages," 3 and thus, like all the Jews of mediaeval 
Europe, they were continually reminded, in the pursuit of 
their ordinary interests and occupations, that they were a 
peculiar people. How proud they were of the position is 
shown by the poetical literature which, as preserved in 
the Jewish prayer book, is the most precious legacy that 
mediaeval Judaism has left us. It was common to Jews in 
all lands ; it commemorated all the sorrows of their nation, 
and gave expression to all their hopes. It made them 
feel that, scattered as they were, they yet had a destiny 
of their own, and it banished from their minds, as a 
counsel of baseness, the thought of making themselves 
one with the " Gentiles " around them. It reminded them 
that exile and persecution, and ultimate triumph were the 
appointed lot of Israel, and that the same teachers who 
had prophesied that the Chosen People should suffer, had 
also prophesied that in the fulness of time they should 
be redeemed. They knew that in the hour of danger and 
persecution there had never been wanting martyrs to 
testify in death to the unity of God and to the Glory of 

1 Hist. Litt., 435, 441, 462, 484, 487, 507, sq. ; JEWISH Quarteely 
Review, IV., 25. 

2 Jacobs, 286. 

3 Archaeological Journal, XXVIII., 180. 



456 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

his Name. And they could not doubt that the Lord of 
Mercy and Justice would mete out due recompense to the 
oppressors and the oppressed. 1 

Thus the memory of their past, and the commonplace 
occurrences of their daily life, continually strengthened 
the bonds that bound Jews together after twelve centuries 
of dispersion. In the thirteenth century of the Christian 
era, as in the first, they still regarded the Holy Land as 
their true home. Three hundred Rabbis from France and 
England went thither in 1211. 2 There Jehudi Halevi 
ended his days. 3 There Nachmanides taught that it was 
the duty of every Jew to live, and, true to his own lesson, 
he set out on his pilgrimage in the seventieth year of his age. 
And in his own and the next generation many Jews from 
Spain and Germany followed his example. 4 A Jewish 
traveller of the Middle Ages says of certain of the communi- 
ties of his coreligionists that he visited : " They are full of 
hopes, and they say to one another, ' Be of good cheer, 
brethren, for the salvation of the Lord will be quick as the 
glancing of an eye : ' and were it not that we have hitherto 
doubted, and thought that the end of our Captivity has not 
yet arrived, we should have been gathered together long ago. 
But now this will not be till the time of song arrives, and 
the sound of the turtle-dove gives warning. Then will the 
message arrive, and we shall ever say ' The Name of the 
Lord be exalted.' " B 

Nowhere in Europe could such men have been content to 
live the life of those around them, to bind themselves with 
the ties of citizenship, to find their highest hopes on earth 
in the destiny of the town, or the country, in which they 
dwelt. They were but sojourners. They lived in ex- 
pectation of the time when the Lord should return the 
Captivity of Zion, and they should look back on their 
exile as rewakened dreamers. 

1 Cf. L. Zunz, Die Synagogale Poesie des Mittelalters, Berlin, 1856. 

* Graetz, VII., 6. • Ibid., VI. * VII., 138 ; VII., 307-8 ; VII., 188-9. 

5 Benjamin of Tudela, trans. Asher, I., 163. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 457 

Without the privilege of isolation they could not live ; 
and if in England the communities of the Gentiles had been 
open to them, they would never have entered them. 



The Expulsion of the English Jews was an event of 
small importance alike in English and in Jewish history. 
In England the effect that it produced was barely per- 
ceptible. The loss of their capital was too slight to 
produce any economic change. The only class that bene- 
fited from their departure was the Florentine merchants, 
whose trade grew from this time even greater than before. 2 
Political results of importance have sometimes been at- 
tributed to the Expulsion. The victory of the towns over 
the King has been said to have been hastened by the loss 
of the financial support of the Jews. 3 But it cannot have 
come any the sooner for the disappearance of a community 
from whom the King had long ceased to get any real help 
in his enterprises abroad, or in his struggles at home. The 
trading classes still complained after the Expulsion, as they 
had done before it, of the prevalence of the " horrible 
practice of usury, which has undone many, and brought 
many to poverty," 4 and the " horrible practice " prevailed 
none the less ; and perhaps the poorer agricultural classes 
of England, the newly enfeoffed rent-payers, found, as did 
the corresponding class in France, 5 that the expulsion of 
the Jews only compelled them to go to more cruel money- 
lenders than before. The coin was clipped as regularly 
after the Expulsion as before it, and the Christian gold- 
smiths were as rigorously treated as the Jewish money- 

1 See the Tables in Thorold Kogera' History of Agriculture and Prices, 
Vols. I. and II. 

2 Peruzzi, Stoi'ia del Commercio e dei Banchisri de Firenze, 175. 
* Papers, Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhihitwn, p. 211. 

4 Rotuli Parliamentorvm, II., 332-350. 5 Graetz, VII., 101. 



458 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

lenders had been. 1 The Church, which had helped to 
drive out the Jews, soon found itself in conflict with Chris- 
tian heresy, compared with which Jewish unbelief was 
harmless. 

The Jews, on their side, were driven from a land which 
thirty-five years earlier they had begged in vain to be 
alio wed to leave. 2 They went forth to join the far greater 
bodies of their countrymen in other lands, and with them 
to fulfil the career of sorrow that they had begun. The 
loss of their inhospitable home in England was but one 
episode in their tragic history. From France they were 
again to be expelled, despoiled and destitute. 3 In 
Germany the blood-accusation met them as in England. 4 
In Spain popular massacres and clerical persecution were 
already preparing the ground for the Inquisition. 5 The 
time was still far off when Jew and Christian could live 
side by side and neither suffer because he would not 
worship after his neighbour's fashion. That time could 
not come until society was more heterogeneous, and the 
circles of interest of ordinary men wider, than they could 
be in the thirteenth century, until the citizen ceased to 
live his life, bodily and spiritual, within the walls of his 
native town, under the shadow of the Church. 

B. Lionel Abrahams. 



1 J. de Trokelowe, etc., Chronical et Annates (Itolls Series), 58 ; Ruding 
Annals of the Coinage (Third Edition), I., 198-202. 

2 M. Paris, Chronica Majora, V., 441, 487. 

3 Graetz, VII., 264-7 ; Depping, 228-9. " G-raetz, VII., 181-8, 252. 
5 Ibid., 163-4, 318-20, 363.