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Anglican Clergy Responses to Jewish Migration in late Nineteenth-Century London

  • W. M. Jacob (a1)


When, yearly, on Good Friday, Church of England clergymen prayed:‘Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart and contempt of thy Word: and so fetch them home blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the Israelites’, 99.9 per cent of them in the late nineteenth century had little expectation of encountering a Jew, Turk or Infidel. This paper seeks to explore how the few Church of England clergy in London who in the 1890s did have a significant presence of Jews in their parishes responded as ministers of the established Church, with a charge to be responsible for the spiritual well-being of all the inhabitants of their parishes, including the call to save the Jews ‘among the remnant of the Israelites’.



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1 Book of Common Prayer, Third Collect for Good Friday.

2 See Beckerlegge, G., ‘Followers of “Mohammed, Kalee and Dada Nanuk“:The Presence of Islam and South Asian Religions in Victorian Britain’, in Wolffe, John, ed., Religion in Victorian Britain, 5 : Culture and Empire (Manchester, 1997), 22167 ; Ansari, Humayun, The Infidel Within: Muslims in Britain since 1800 (London, 2004), 35, 68; in this volume, John Wolffe, ‘Plurality in the Capital: The Christian Response to London’s Religious Minorities since 1800’, 232–58.

3 Lipman, Vivian D., A History of the Jews in Britain since 1858 (Leicester, 1990), 1214 .

4 See Lees, Lynn Hollen, Exiles of Erin: Irish Immigrants in Victorian London (Manchester, 1979)

5 Smith, Richard Mudie, ed., The Religious Life of London (London, 1904), 53 .

6 For the background of Jews in London and Britain, see Englander, David,‘Anglicized not Anglican: Jews and Judaism in Victorian Britain’, in Parsons, Gerald, ed., Religion in Victorian Britain, 1 : Traditions (Manchester, 1988), 235–73; Lipman, History. For the settlement of jews in the East End of London, see Lipman, Vivian D., ‘Jewish Settlement in the East End, 1840–1940’, in Newman, Aubrey, ed., The Jewish East End, 1840–1939, Jewish Historical Society (London, 1981), 1740 .

7 Feldman, David,‘The Importance of Being English: Jewish Immigration and the Decay of Liberal England’, in idem and Jones, Gareth Stedman, eds, Metropolis London: Histories and Representations since 1800 (London, 1989), 5684, at 62. For an account of the reaction to Jewish migrants in the East End, see Fishman, William J., The Streets of East London (London, 1979), ch. 4.

8 Englander, , ‘Anglicized not Anglican’, 252 , quoting Sharot, S., ‘Religious Change in Native Orthodoxy in London 1870–1914: Rabbinate and Clergy’, Jewish Journal of Sociology 15 (1973), 16787, at 177–8.

9 Lipman, , History, 12, 50.

10 There was no restriction on entry into Britain until the Aliens Act 1905.

11 Feldman, , ’Importance of Being Jewish’, 56 .

12 Mudie-Smith, , Religious Life of London, 265 .

13 See Kershen, Anne J., Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields 1660–2000 (London, 2005), 200–7.

14 Wolffe, , ‘Plurality in the Capital’, 238–46. The energies and substantial income of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews seem largely to have been directed towards Jews in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

15 London Diocesan Magazine 7 (1892), 175 .

16 Ibid. 8 (1893), 13.

17 Ibid. 273.

18 For Rosenthal, see ‘Biographies – Rabbis who followed Yeshua’, online at: <>, accessed 30 June 2013; I am grateful to Sarah Flew for this reference. See also Crockford’s Clerical Directory, 1900.

19 London Diocesan Magazine 9 (1894), 394 .

20 Mudie-Smith, , Religious Life of London, 36 .

21 London, LPL, Fulham Papers, Jackson Papers, vol. 2, Visitation Returns 1883.

22 Fulham Papers, Temple Papers, vol. 44, Summary of Visitation Returns 1891 and 1895.

23 Fulham Papers, Mandell Creighton Papers, Visitation 1900, Archdeaconry of London Deaneries I–VIII.

24 Kershen, , Strangers, Aliens and Asians, 8590, 118–19.

25 Jackson Papers, vol. 2, Visitation Returns 1883.

26 Mudie-Smith, Religious Life of London, 49–53, 55–8, for Stepney and Bethnal Green.

27 O’Day, Rosemary and Englander, David, Mr Charles Booth’s Inquiry: Life and Labour of the People of London Reconsidered (London, 1993); for the Religious Influences Series, see ibid., ch. 3, and Englander, David, ‘Booth’s Jews:The Presentation of Jews and Judaism in Life and Labour of the People of London’, in Englander, David and O’Day, Rosemary, eds, Retrieved Riches: Social Investigation in Britain 1840–1914 (London, 1995), 289322 . Booth employed ‘trained’ interviewers, using a set of open-ended questions with clergy to gather information about religious influences in London. The researchers’ verbatim records of their interviews are in notebooks deposited in the library of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Booth Collections.

28 Henry Dinsdale at Christ Church, Watney Street, formerly curate at Eton College’s mission at Hackney Wick.

29 Booth Collections, B182.

30 Ibid., B182, B221.

31 Ibid., B350.

32 Ibid., B221.

33 Ibid., B182.

34 Ibid.

35 Ibid., B221.

36 Ibid.

37 Ibid. Crockford’s, 1899, however, gives his address as St Olave’s Vicarage.

38 Booth Collections, B221.

39 Mandell Creighton Papers,Visitation 1900, Archdeaconry of London, Deaneries I-VIII, Deanery VIII-24.

40 Wolffe, , ‘Plurality in the Capital’, 243 .

41 Booth Collections, B221.

42 Wolffe, , ‘Plurality in the Capital’, 241 .

43 Booth Collections, B221.

44 Mudie-Smith, , Religious Life of London, 49, 51, 52.

45 Booth Collections, B221.

46 Alexander Wilhelm Schapira had studied at St David’s College, Lampeter, and had been ordained in 1873 as Professor of Hebrew and Theology at Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone. He was subsequently a missionary in Gaza, Syria (1878–84); curate of St Mark’s, Whitechapel (1887–90); missionary at Haifa (1890–5); and curate of Christ Church, Watney Street (1895–7): Crockford’s, 1899.

47 Booth Collections, B221.The Society for the Propagation of Christianity among Jews was founded in 1842. It has subsequently united with the Barbican Mission to Jews, as Christian Witness to Israel.

48 Ibid.

49 London Diocesan Magazine 14 (1899), 404 .

50 Booth Collections, B221.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid.

53 Visitation 1900, Archdeaconry of London Deaneries I–VIII, Deaneries VI-21, VII-21, II-24,VIII-20,VlII-32.

54 Booth Collections, B219.

55 Visitation 1900, Archdeaconry of London, Deaneries XXI–XXVIII Deanery XXI 17.

56 Booth Collections, B219.

57 The Greek church of St Sophia had moved from Soho to near St Matthew’s in this very rich and cosmopolitan part of Bayswater in 1877.

58 Temple Papers, vol. 44, Summary of Visitation Returns 1891; Booth Collections, B250;Visitation 1900, Deaneries XV-XVIII, Deanery XVII-18.

Anglican Clergy Responses to Jewish Migration in late Nineteenth-Century London

  • W. M. Jacob (a1)


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