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CHAPTER 8 - ‘The Medieval Jews of Norwich and their Legacy’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2013

T. A. Heslop
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Elizabeth Mellings
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
Margit Thøfner
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

INTRODUCTION

The first community of Jews in England came over from Rouen in the late eleventh century, probably under safe conduct from William I, who saw them as a source of coin and a bulwark against the hostility of the London merchants. Initially, the Jews settled only in London but during Stephen's reign they expanded into the provinces under his control. The Jewish community at Norwich is first recorded in connection with the murder of St William in 1144, making it one of the earliest outside the capital. Norwich, a rapidly growing city and regional centre with a mint and a royal castle acting as the administrative base for the sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk, was a typical location for early Jewish settlement and, during the second half of the twelfth century, communities of Jews also grew up away from the main urban areas. In Norfolk and Suffolk, there were Jews at Bungay and Thetford by 1159, at Bury St Edmunds by 1181 and at King's Lynn by 1190 (fig. 8.1). There are later references to small communities at Ipswich and Sudbury, and there were probably also Jews at Castle Rising and Great Yarmouth. The small settlement of Castle Rising in west Norfolk may seem an unlikely setting for a Jewish community but it was a probable twelfth-century new town, planted by William D'Albini in support of his castle there.

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Chapter
Information
Art, Faith and Place in East Anglia
From Prehistory to the Present
, pp. 117 - 129
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2012

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