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Full text of "The expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290"

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AbrcLhams, (Sir) Barnett Lionel 

The expulsion of the 
Jews from Englar:d in l?-90 



135 
E5A48 
1895 
c. 1 
ROBA 



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THE EXPULSION OF THE 
JEWS FROM ENGLAND IN 1290 



B:L. ABRAHAMS 



Formerly Scholar of Balliol College. 



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This Essay, to which the Arnold Prize in the University 
of Oxford was awarded in 1894, has appeared in the 
Jewish Quarterly Reineir for October, 1894, and January 
and April, 1895. I am indebted to the Editors of the 
Review for permission to republish it. 

I wish to express my obligations to Bibliofheca Aixjlo- 
Judaica : a Bihliographical Guide to Anglo- Jewish Hist or ij, 
compiled by Messrs. Joseph Jacobs and Lucien Wolf, 
and to The Jews of Angevin England, by ^Ir. Joseph 
Jacobs. Nearly all the passages bearing on Anglo-Jewish 
history, down to 1206, are contained in the latter book, 
and many of the references in the earlier part of my essay 
might have been made to its pages. I thought it better, 
however, to refer direct to the original authorities, and 
have, as a rule, mentioned Mr. Jacobs' book only when 
using passages in it which have been nowhere else printed. 

Some articles which I have contributed to Mr. R. H. I. 
Palgrave's Dictionary of Political Economy, to the First 
Volume of the Transactions of the Jeicish Historical Society 
of England, and to the Jewish Chronicle for April 26th, 
1895, contain information bearing on the subject of this 
Essay. 



THE EXPULSION OF THE JEWS FROM 
ENGLAND IN 1290. 

The expulsion of the Jews from England by Edward I. is 
a measure concerning the causes of which no contemporary 
historian gives, or pretends to give, any but the most 
meagre information. It was passed by the King in his 
" secret council," of the proceedings of which we naturally 
know nothing. Of the occasion tliat suggested it, each 
separate writer has his own account, and none has a claim 
to higher authority than the rest ; and yet there is much 
in the circumstances connected with it that calls for ex- 
planation. How was it that, at a time when trade and \ 
the need for capital were growing, the Jews, who were 
reputed to be among the great capitalists of Europe, were . 
expelled from England ? How did Edward, a king who 
was in debt from the moment he began his reign till the 
end, bring himself to give up the revenue that his father 
and grandfather had derived from the Jews ? How could 
he, as an honourable king, drive out subjects who were 
protected by a Charter that one of his predecessors had 
granted, and another had soleumly conlirmed ? To answer 
these questions we must consider what was the position 
that the Jews occupied in England, how it was forced 
on them, and how it brought them into antagonism at 
various times with the interests of the several orders of 
the English people, and with the teachings of the Catholic 
Church. We shall thus find the origin of forces strong 
enough when they converged to bring about the result 
which is to be accounted for. 



6 The Expiihion of the Jeir-sfrom England in 1200. 

I. — The Jews from their Arrival to 1190. 

Among the foreigners who flocked to England at, or 
soon after, the Conquest were many families of French 
Jews. They brought with them money, but no skill in 
any occupation except that of lending it out at interest. 
They lent to the King, when the ferm of his counties, or iiis 
feudal dues wer«i late in coming in ; ^ to the barons, who, 
though lands and estates had been showered on them, 
nevertheless often found it hard, without doubt, to procure 
ready money wherewith to pay for luxuries, or to meet 
the expense of military service ; and to suitors who had to 
follow the King's Court from one great town to another, 
or to plead before the Papal Curia at Rome.^ 

But though they thus came into contact with many 
classes, and had kindly relations with some, they remained 
far more alien to the masses of the people around them 
than even the Normans, in whose train they had come to 
England. Even the Norman baron must, a hundred years 
after the Conquest, have become something of an English- 
man. He held an estate, of which the tenants were English ; 
he presided over a court attended by English suitors. In 
battle he led his English retainers. He and the English- 
man worshipped in the same church, and in it the sons of 
the two might serve as priests side by side. But the Jew^ 
remained, during the whole time of their sojourn in Eng- 
land, sharply separated from, at any rate, the common 
people around them by peculiarities of speech, habits and 
daily life, such as must have aroused dread and hatred in 
an ignorant and superstitious age. Their foreign faces 
alone would have been enough to mark them out. 
Moreover, they generally occupied, not under compulsion, 
but of their own choice, a separate quarter of each town 

' J. Jacobs, Jews of Anrieviii England, 43-4 ; 64-.5. 

' Cf. the account of the litigation of Richard of Anesty in Palgrave's 
Jlinr and Frof/rexs of the En/flish Commonu'ciilth, Vol. II. (Proofs and 
Illustrations), pp. xxiv.-xxvii. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1200. 7 

in which they chvelt.^ And in their isolation they 
lived a life unlike that of any other class. None of 
them were feudal landowners, none farmers, none villeins, 
none members of the guilds. They did not join in 
the national Watch and Ward. They alone were for- 
bidden to keep the mail and hauberk which the rest 
of the nation was bound to have at hand to help in pre- 
serving the peace.^ They were not enrolled in the Frank- 
pledge, that society that brought neighbours together and 
tauofht them to be interested in the doings of one another 
by making them responsible for one another's honesty. 
They did not appear at the Court Leet or the Court Baron, 
at the Town-moot or the Shire-moot. They went to noY 
church on Sundays, they took no sacrament ; they showed 
no signs of reverence to the crucifix ; but, instead, thej' 
went on Friday evening and Saturday morning to a syna- 
gogue of their own, where they read a service in a foreign 
tongue, or sang it to strange Oriental melodies. When 
they died they were buried in special cemeteries, where 
Jews alone were laid.^ At home their very food was 
different from that of Christians. They would not eat 
of a meal prepared by a Christian cook in a Christian 
house. They would not use the same milk, the same wine, 
the same meat as their neighbours. For them cattle had 
to be killed with special rites; and, what was worse, it 
sometimes happened that, some minute detail having been 
imperfectly performed, they rejected meat as unfit for 
themselves, but considered it good enough to be offered 
for sale to their Christian neighbours.^ The presence of 



' See Jewries of Oxford and Winchester, in the plans in Norgate's 
England under Angevin Kings, I., pp. 31, 40 ; and Jewry of London, de- 
scribed in Papers of Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, pp. 20-52. 

2 Chronica Rogeri de Hoveden (Rolls Series) II., 261 ; Gesta Henrici 
TI. et Ricardi I. (Rolls Series), I. 279. 

3 Gesta Henrici II. et Ricardi I. (R. S.), I. 182; Clironica Rogeri de 
Hoveden (R. S.), II. 137. 

* Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, 170 ; Jacobs' The Jews of 
Anger hi England, .54, 178 ; Statutes of the Realm (Edition of 1810), I. 202 



8 The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

Christian servants and nurses in their households made it 
impossible that any of their peculiarities should remain 
unobserved or generally unknown.^ 

Thus, living as semi-aliens, growing rich as usurers, and 
observing strange customs, they occupied in the twelfth 
century a position that was fraught with danger. But, 
almost from their first arrival in the country, they had 
enjoyed a kind of informal Royal protection,^ though, as 
to the nature of their relations with the King during the 
first hundred and thirty years of their residence, very 
little is known. It was probably less close than it after- 
wards became, for the liability to attack and the need for 
protection had not yet manifested themselves. 

But, at the end of the eleventh century, there began to 
spread throughout Europe a movement which, when it 
reached England, converted the vague popular dislike of 
the Jews into an active and violent hostility. While 
the Norman conquerors were still occupied in settling 
down in England, the King organising his realm, 
and the barons enjoying, dissipating, or forfeiting their 
newly-won estates, popes a.nd priests and monks had been 
preaching the Crusade to the other nations of civilised 
Europe. At one of the greatest and most imposing of all 
the Church Councils that were ever held, where were pre- 
sent lay nobles and clerics of all nations, attending each as 
his own master, and able to act on the impulse of the 
moment. Urban II., in 1095, told the tale of the wrong that' 



(Judicium Pillorie) and 203 (Statutum de Pistoribus). See also Leet 
Jnrisdietkm in Norwich (Selden Society, 1891), p. 28, where, in a list of 
amercements inflicted at the Leet of Nedham and Manecrof t, the follow- 
ing entry occurs : — " De Johanne le Pastemakere quia vendidit Games 
quas Judei vocant trefa, 2s." 

' Mansi, (S'«r-7V)r?/m Conciliorum Colleetio, Venice, 1775, XX. 399; Wilkins, 
Concilia Magnae Britanniae, I. 591, 67.^, 719; Gcstta Henrici II. et 
Ricardi I. (R. S.), I. 230. Clironiea Rogeri de Hoveden (R. S.), II. 180. 

' Cf . the words of John's Charter : " Libertates et consuetudines sicut 
eas habuerunt tempore Henrici avi patris nostri." — Rotuli Chartarum, 
p. 93. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 9 

Christians had to suffer at the hands of the enemies of 
Christ. He told his hearers how the Eastern people, a ;< 
people estranged from God, had laid waste the land of the 
Christians with fire and sword ; had destroyed churches, 
or misused them for their own rites ; had circumcised 
Christians, poured their blood on altars and fonts, scourged 
and impaled men, and dishonoured women. ^ Such denun- 
ciations, followed by the appeal to all present to help 
Jerusalem, which was " ruled by enemies, enslaved by 
the godless, and calling aloud to be freed," excited, 
for the first time in Europe, a furious and fanatical 
hatred of Eastern and non-Christian races. The Jews 
were such a race, as well as the Saracens, and be- 
tween the two the Crusaders scarcely distinguished. 
Before they left home and fortune to fight God's enemies 
abroad, it was natural that they should kill or convert 
those whom they met nearer home. Through all central 
Europe, from France to Hungary, the bands that gathered 
together to make their way to the Holy Land fell on the 
Jews and offered them the choice between the sword and 
the font.^ 

The disasters that followed the first Crusade brought/ 
with them an increase in the ferocity of the attacks to 
which the Jews of Continental Europe were subjected, and 
S. Bernard, when he preached the second Crusade, found 
that he had revived a spirit of fanaticism that he was 
powerless to quell. He had wished for the reconquest of 
the Holy Land as a result that would bring honour 
to the Christian religion ; but his followers and imitators 
thought less of the end than of the bloodshed that was 



' Recueil des Historiens des Croisades—Eistoriens Occidentaux (Paris, 
1866), III. 321, 727. Cf. especially (p. 727), Altaria suis foeditatibus 
inquinata subvertunt, Christianos circumcidunt, cruoremque circum- 
cisionis aut super altaria fundunt aut in vasis baptisterii immergunt 
(Roberti Monachi Ilistoria Ilwroisolimitana). 

2 Neubauer and Stern, Ilcbrdische Berichte uber die Judenverfolgungcn 
wdhrend der Kreuzzuge ; Hefele, ConciliengescMclite, V., 22-i, 270 ; Graetz, 
GescMchte der Juden (second edition) VI., 89-107. 



10 Tht' Exinikion of the Jens from England in 1290. 

to be tlie means. A monk, " wlio .skilfully imitated the 
austerity of relii^ion, but had no innnoderate amount of 
learning," ^ went through the Rhineland preaching that alf^ 
Jews who were found by the Crusaders should be killed 
as enemies of the Christian faith. It was in vain that 
Bernard appealed to the Christian nations whom his elo- 
quence had aroused, in the hope that "the zeal of God which 
burnt in tlieiu would not fail altogether to be tempered 
with knowledge." He himself narrowly escaped attack ; 
and the Jews suffered from the second Crusade as they had 
suffered from the first.^ 

England was so closely related to the Churches of the 
Continent that it could not fail to be affected by the great 
movement. But the first Crusade was preached when the 
Conquest was still recent, and the Normans had no leisure 
to leave their new country ; the second, during the last 
period of anarchy in the reign of Stephen. 

Thus there were, during the fir-st hundred years after the 
Council of Clermont, few English Crusaders. Yet the Cru- 
sading spirit, working in a super.stitious mediaeval popula- 
tion, called forth a danger that was destined to be as fatal 
to the English Jews as were the massacres to their brethren 
on the Continent. The Pope who preached the first Cru- 
sade had told his hearers that Eastern nations were in the 
habit of circumcising Christians and using their blood in 
such a way as to show their contempt for the Christian 
religion. This ch.arge was naturally extended to the Jews 
as well. What alterations it underwent in its circulation it 
is hard to say; but in 1146, a tale was spread among the- 
populace of Norwich, and encouraged by the bishop, that 
the Jews had killed a boy named William, to use his blood 
for the ritual of that most suspicious feast, their Passover. 
The story was supported by no evidence more trustworthy 
than that of an apostate Jew, which was so worthless that 

' C. U. Hahn, GeschicMe dcr Kctzvr im Mittelalter, III. 17. 
' Graetz, Oegchichte der Juden (second edition), VI., 1.55-170. Cf. 
Uefele, V., 498, n 2. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 11 

the Sheritf refused to allow the Jews to appear in tlie 
Bishop's Court to answer the charge brought against 
them, and took them under his protection. But the 
popular suspicion of the Jews lent credibility to tlie 
story, and so terrible a feeling was aroused that many of 
the Jews of Norwich dispersed into other lands, and of 
those who remained many were killed by the people in 
spite of the protection of the Sheriff.^ The accusation once 
made naturally recurred, first at Gloucester, in 11 GS, and 
then at Bury St. Edmund's, in 1181. "The Martyrs" were 
regularly buried in the nearest church or religious house, 
and the miracles that they all worked would alone have 
been enough to continually renew the belief in the tenible 
story.^ 

Under the firm reign of Henry II., anti- Jewish feeling »' 
found no further expression in act. The King, like his 
predecessors, gave and secured to the Jews special privi- 
leges so o-reat as to arouse the envy of their neicfhbours. 
They were allowed 'to settle their own disputes in their 
own Beth Din, or Ecclesiastical Court, and in so far to enjoy 
a privilege that was granted only under strict limitations 
to the Christian Church.^ They were placed, apparently, 
under the special protection of the ro^'al officers of each 
district.'' They lived in safety, and they made considerable 
contributions to the Royal Exchequer. 

The death of Henry II. and the accession of Richard I., 
the fii-st English Crusading King, brought trouble, as 
was but natural, to the rich and royally favoured infidels 

' Jacobs, Op. at. 20, 257. 

* Ilistoria et CartuJarhtm Monasterli S. Petri Gloueestriar (R. S.), I., 
21 ; ChroJiica Joeelini de Brahehmda (Camden Society), 12, 113-14 ; 
Annales Monastici (R. S.), I., 343, XL, 347; Matt. Paris, (lironica 

'Majora (R. S.), IV., 377, V., 518 ; Jacobs' Jcu-g of Angerin Einjland, 19 ; 
and cf. Clironiclcs of Beigns of Stephen, Henry 12., Richard I. (Rolls 
Series), I., 311. 

3 Materials for History of Thomas Bechet (Rolls Series), IV. 148 ; 
Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, 43, 155. 

* Cf . tbe protection (^iven to Jews of Norwich by the Sheriff (Jacobs, 
257). 



12 The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

of tlic l;iii(l wIrtc the blood accusation had its birth. 
The intorrcL^mnn between the death of one King and the 
proclamation of the " peace " of his successor was always 
a time of danger and lawlessness during the first two 
centuries after the Conquest, and the growth of the 
crusading spirit, and of the popular belief in the truth of 
the blood accusation, caused all the forces of disorder to 
work in one direction, viz., against the Jews. The day of 
Richard's coronation was the first opportunity for a great 
exhibition of the anti-Jewisli fanaticism of the populace. 
The nobles from all parts of the country brought with them 
to London large trains of servants and attendants, who were 
left to occupy themselves as best they might in the streets, 
while their lords were present at the ceremony. The Jews, 
who had been refused permission to enter the Abbey, took 
up a prominent position outside. Their appearance ex- 
asperated the crowd, and in the mediaeval world a crowd 
was irresistible. While the service was proceeding, the 
Jews were fiercely attacked by the " wild serving men " of 
the nobles and the lower orders of citizens. One at least 
was compelled to a,ccept baptism to save himself from 
death. Later in the same day, when the King and mag- 
nates were banqueting in the palace, the attack on the 
Jews was renewed. The strong houses of the Jewry were 
besieged and fired, and the inhabitants were massacred. 
But soon " avarice got the better of cruelty," and in spite 
of the efforts of the King's officers the city was given up 
to plunder and rapine.^ 

Though the King was bitterly angry at "what had hap- 
pened, the first attempt at punishment showed him how 
powerless he was against the forces hostile to the Jews. 
Had the offenders been nobles or prominent citizens, he 
could, when the first irresistible disorder had subsided, have 
taken vengeance at his leisure. But what could he do 
against a collection of serving-men and poor citizens, whom 

' Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Henry II., and Richard 1. (Rolla 
Series), I. 294-9. 



The Expukion uf the Jem from Eiujltnid in 1290. 18 

no one knew, who had come together and liad separated in 
one day? When he departed for the Crusades, lie left 
behind him all the materials for more outbreaks of the same 
kind. In the more populous towns Crusaders were con- 
tinually gathering together in order to set out for the Holy 
Land in company : and they, aided by the lower citizens, 
clerics, and poor countrymen, and in some cases by ruined 
landholders, fell on and killed the Jews wherever they had 
settlements in England, at Norwich, York, Bury St. Ed- 
munds, Lynn, Lincoln, Colchester, and Stamford.^ Again 
the Royal officers were unable to touch the offenders. When 
the Chancellor arrived with an army at York, the scene of 
the most horrible of all the massacres, he found that the 
murderers were Crusaders, who had long embarked for the 
Holy Land, peasants and poor townsmen who had retired 
from the neighbourhood, and some bankrupt nobles, who 
had fled to Scotland. The citizens humbly represented that 
they were not responsible for the outrage and were too 
weak to prevent it. No punishment was possible except 
the infliction of a few fines, and the Chancellor marched 
back with his army to London.^ 

It was clear that the King must strengthen his con- 
nection with the Jews. He could not afford to lose them 
or to leave them continually liable to plunder. They were 
too rich. In 1187, when Henry II. had wanted to raise a 
great sum from all his people he had got nearly as much 
from the Jews as from his Christian subjects. From the 
former he got a fourth of their property, £60,000, from the 
latter a tenth, or £70,000.^ It is of course improbable 
that, as these figures would at first seem to show, the 
Jews held a quarter of the wealth of the kingdom, but 

' Radulfi de Diceto, Opera Historica (R.S.), II. 75-6. Jacobs, Jews of 
Angevin England, 176 ; Chronicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Hen ri/ II., and 
Richard I. (Rolls Series), I. 309-10, 312-322. 

- CJironicles of the Reigns of Stephen, Uenry li., uvd llirhard I. 
(R.S.)I.323-4. 

^ Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, pp. 91-C ; Gervase of Canterbury 
( .S.) I. 422. 



14 The h'rj)i(/sion ut the Je/rs /r<i//t hliKjland in 1290. 

tlicy were as iisofiil to tlu; Kiii,>;' as il tliry had. He had 
a far greater powei' over their resources than over those 
of his otlicr sulijocts; tlioir wealth was in nioveaV)le pro- 
perty, and what was still more important, it was concen- 
trated ill few 1 lands. It was easily found and easily 
taken away.' 



TI. — TlIK COX.STITUTION OF TUE JeWRV. 

Richard's policy, or his councillors', was simple. On the"^ 
one hand, in order to encourage rich Jews to continue to 
make England their home, he issued a charter of protection, 
in which he guaranteed to certain Jews,^ and perhaps to 
all who were wealthy, the privileges that they had 
enjoyed under his father and great-grandfather. They 
were to hold land as they had hitherto done ; their 
heirs were to succeed to their money debts ; they 
were to be allowed to go wherever they pleased 
throughout the country, and to be free of all tolls and 
dues. On the other hand he asserted and enforced his 
rights over them and their property by organising a com- 
plete supervision of all their business transactions. In 1194< 
he issued a code of regulations, in which he ordered that 
a register of all that belonged to them should be kept for 
the information of the treasury. All their deeds were to 
be executed in one of the six or seven places where 
there were establishments of Jewish and Christian clerks 
especially appointed to witness them ; they were to be 
entered on an ofhcial list, and a half of each was to be 
deposited in a public chest under the control of royal 
officer.s.^ No Jew was to plead before any court but that 
of tlie King's officers, and special Justices were appointed 

' Enormous wealth was possessed by Abraham fil Rabbi, .lurnet of 
Norwich and Aarcn of Lincoln. Jacobs, 0/>. Cit., 44. <)4, 84, 90. 91. 
- Rymer. Ftrdrvn I. .")1. 
3 Chrtniieu Ilinjiri th Ilmrdi i> (R.S.), III. L'(j(J-7. 



The Expulsion of the Jeic^ from Eiujhuul i» 1'2!H"). 15 

to hear cases in which Jews were coneernetl, ami to 
exercise a general control over their Imsiness.' 

These arrangements underwent various modifications 
under Richard's successors. The privi legos which had at"^ 
first been granted to certain Jews hy name were extended 
by John to the whole communitj' - ; and the royal hold 
over them was tightened by an edict, issued in 1211», which 
ordered the Wardens of the Cinque Ports to prevent any 
Jews who lived in England from leaving the country.'' 

This elaborate constitution did not indeed afford com- 
plete security against a repetition of the massacres of 1189 
and 1190, but its existence w^as a more solemn and official 
recognition than had been given before of the fact that 
the King was the sole lord and protector of the Jews, and 
that he would regard an injur}'- done to them as an injury 
to himself. And thus it went far to secure to him 
his revenue and to them their safety. From tliis 
time forward, the Jews yielded to the king, not 
simply irregular contributions, such as the £60,000 they 
had paid to Henrj^ II., and the sums thej had paid to Long- 
champ towards the expenses of Richard's Crusade,* but a 
steady and regular income. They paid tallages, heavy 
reliefs on succeeding to property, and a besant in the 
pound, or ten per cent., on their loan transactions ; they 
were liable to escheats, confiscation of land and debts, and 
fines and amercements of all kinds.' Their average annual 
contril)ution to the Treasury, during the latter part of the 
twelfth century, was probably about a twelfth of the whole 
Roj'al revenue," and of the greater part of what they owed 
the realisation was nearly certain. Other delators might 
find in delay, or resistance, or legal formalities, a way of 

' Chroniron Johannix Jinniijdon in Twysden's Ilistoritv Anglirana 
Si'i-lpti'rex X., col. 12.JS. 

- Rotitli Cliartarum (Record Commission), p. '.t3. 

^ Tovey, Anglia Jwlaica, 81. 

' Gesta. Henriiu II. et Rieard. I. (R.S.), II. 218 ; M. Paris. TA ;•««;>« 
Majnra (R.S.) II. 3S1, and Jacobs, 102-4. 

■^ Jacobs. 222. 22><-3n. 2.S'.t-4ft. ^ Ihiil. 328. 



16 The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

avoiding payment. But the King had the Jews in his own 
liands. He could onler the sheriffs of the county to distrain 
on defaulters, and there was no one between the sheriffs 
and the Jews.' He could despoil them of lands and debts. 
He could imprison them in the royal castles. In the reign 
of John, all the Jews and Jewesses of England were thrown 
into prison bj' his command, and are said to have been 
reduced to such poverty that they begged from door to 
door, and prowled about the city like dogs.^ The only 
way they had of removing any of their property from his 
reach was by burying it. Whereupon the King, if he 
suspected that a Jew had more treasure than was apparent, 
might order him to have a tooth drawn every day until 
he paid enough to purchase pardon.^ 

Powerless as the Jews were against royal oppression in 
England, the position that was offered to them by Richard 
and John was no worse than that of their co-religionists 
in other countries of Europe. Those of Germany were the 
Emperor's Kammerknechte ; * those of France had been 
expelled in 1182, and though they were soon recalled, might 
at any time be expelled again.^ A Jew in a feudalised 
country was liable to be the subject of quarrel between the 
lord on whose estate he dwelt and the king of the country, 
and he could be handed about, now to the one and now to 
the other.*' The right to live and to be under jurisdiction, was 
everywhere still a local privilege that had to be enjoyed by 
the permission of a lord, lay or clerical, and had to be paid for. 
In England, the Jews, so long as they were protected by 
the King, were at any rate under the greatest lord in 

' Jacobs, 222. 

- M. Paris, Chronica Majora (R.S.) II. 528 ; Aimales Monastici (U.S.) 
I. 29, II. 20i, III. 32, 451 ; Chronicles of Lane re oat (Maitland Club), p. 7. 

^ M. Paris, Clironica Majora II., 528. 

* Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Aye, 185. 

^ Bouquet, lieeueil des Ilistoriens des Gaules etde la France, xvii. 9. 

^ Depping, Les Juifs dans le Moyen Age, 59, 60, 185, 194. Cf. RotuU 
Chartaruin, l.lh {Carta Williehni Maresrulli, de quodani Jiidaeo apud 
Camhay). 



The E.rpulsion of the Jewa from Enghnid in 12*J0. J 7 

the land. The towns where especially they wished to 
Kettle for the purposes of their business, were, thaid\s to 
the policy of William the Conqueror, mostly on the royal 
<loniain. And the royal power acting through its local 
officers was used to the full to protect the Jews. The 
sheriffs of the counties were especially charged to sccnro 
to them personal safety and the enjoyment of the im- 
munities that had been granted to them.' 

The arrangement by which Jewish money-lenders 
received on English soil the protection of the King against 
his own subjects was not very honourable to either of the 
parties. But the King had no compunction, and the Jews 
had no choice. It could endure so long as the royal power 
was strong enough to override the objections of barons and 
abbots to a measure in favour of their creditors, of the 
towns to an encroachment on their privileges, and of the 
Church to the royal support of a body of infidel usurers. 

At the end of the twelfth centurj' neither towns nor ^' 
landholders nor Church were in a position to offer any 
effectual pretest. In the thirteenth century the strength 
of the opposition of each of these three orders grew steailily. 
But in each it pursued a separate course, though to the 
same end, and each order struck its decisive blow at a 
different moment. Hence the various forms of opposition 
jnust be separately considered. 



III. — The Conflict with the Towns. 

The towns were the first to carry out a practical and 
effective anti-Jewish policy. It was they that suffered 
most keenly and constantly from the presence of the 
Jews. They had bought, at great expense, from King or 
noble or abbot, the right to be independent, self-governing 
communities, living under the jurisdiction of their own 

' Tovey, Anglia Judaioa, 78-9, 



18 The Expulsion of the Jens from England in 1290. 

officers, free from the visits of the royal sheriffs, and paying 
a fixeil sum in coniinutation of all dues to tlic King or the 
local lonl ; and yet many of them saw the King protecting 
in their midst a hand of foreigners, wlio liad tlie royal per- 
mission to go whithersoever they pleased, who could dwell 
among the l)urgesses, and were yet free not only from all 
customs and dues and coiitiibution to the fern^,,' but even 
from the jurisdiction of those authorities wliicii werti respon- 
sible for peace ond good government.^ This was exasperat- 
ing enough ; but there was more and worse. The exclusion 
of the sheriff and the King's constables was one of the 
most cherished privileges of towns, but, wherever the 
Jews had once taken up their residence, it was in danger 
of being a mere pretence. At Colchester, if a Jew was 
unable to recover his debts, he could call in the King's 
sheriffs to help him. In London, Jews were "warrantlsed " 
from the exchequer, and the constable of the Tower had 
a special jurisdiction by which he kept the pleas ^)etween 
Jews and Christians. At Nottingham, complaints against 
Jews, even in cases of petty assaults, were heard before 
the keeper of the Castle. At Oxford the constable called 
in question the Chancellor's authority over the Jews; 
contending that they did not form part of the ordinary 
town-community.^ Moreover, the debts of the Jews were 
continually falling into the King's hands, and whenever 
this happened, his officers would no doubt penetrate into 

' Stamford was an exception in this respect, Madox, Firma Burgi 
p. 1»2. 

* Et Judrei non intrabunt in placitum nisi coram nobis aut coram illis, 
qui turres nostras custodierint in quorum ballivis Judaei manserint, 
Rot. Chart., 93. 

' Cutts, Colchester, 12.3 ; Tovey, Anglla J., 50 ; Forty-Seventh Report 
o* Deputy-Keeper of Public Records, 306 ; Lyte, History of the Uni- 
versity of Ojford, 59 ; Papers of Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhihition, 
3ij-fi ; Dr Antiquis Legibus Liber (Camden Soc). p. ItJ, (a.d. 1249, Nam 
rex concessit quod Judei qui antea warantizati fuerunt per breve de 
scaccario, de cetero placitassent coram civibus de tenementis suis in 
Londoniis). Chronica Jocdini de Brakdondu (Camden Soc), p. 2, (Venit 
Judeus portans literas domini regis de debito sacristaj). 



The Expulsion of the Jeu-^from EmjUind in 1200. I'J 

the town to make on behalf of the royal treasury a 
collection such as had never been contemplate<l wIhh the 
bur^fesses nm<le their at^reenient, which was to settle once 
and for all their payment to the King.' 

In some of the towns the feeling against the Jews was 
expressed in riots as early as the reign of John, and the 
beginning of that of Henry III. But the King in each 
case took stern measures of repression. John told the 
mayor and barons of London that he should re(iuirti the 
blood of the Jews at their hands if any ill befell them.^ 
In Gloucester and in Hereford, the burgesses of the town 
were made responsible for the safety of the Jews dwelling 
amongst them. In Worcester, York, Lincoln, Stamford, 
Bristol, Northampton, and Winchester, the sheriffs were 
charged with the duty of protecting them against injury.' 
Such measures only increased the ill-feeling of the 
burgesses. At Norwich in 1234 the Jewry was fired and 
looted.* The Jews were maltreated and beaten, and were 
only saved from further harm by the timely lielp of the 
garrison of the neighbouring castle. At Oxford the 
scholars attacked the Jewry and carried off " innumerable 
goods."^ 

But the towns soon began to use a far more etlectivc 
method than rioting in order to rid themselves of the 
Jews. Just as they had found it worth while to pay 
heavily for their municipal charters, so now they were 
willing to pay more for a measure which would secure 
them in the future against a drain on their revenues and 
a violation of their privileges. Whether a town held its 



' Cp. Chroaica. .VonM.s-trrii de Mrlm (R.S.). I., 177. Interea raortuus 
est Aaron Juda3us Lincolniaj, de quo jam dictum est, et compulsi suraus, 
regis edicto totum quod illi debuimus pro Willielmo Fossard infra brevo 
tempus domino regi persolvere. 

2 Rymer, Fwdera, I.. 89. 

» Calendar of Patent Rolls from 12S1 to 12'J2, p. 15 ; Tovey, Anylia 
Jiidaicn, 77, 78, 79. 

* Tovey, 101, Norfolk Antiquarian Mixcellany, I.. 326. 

* Annalci Mfinfi.ofiri (Rolls Series"), iv. 91. 

1'. -2 



'20 Tilt' Ej-pK/sioH of t/ic J c US from England in 1290. 

charter from the Kin<]^, or was still (lepeiident on an inter- 
mediate lord, the motive was eijually stronp^. An abbot 
or a baron would be glad to second the efforts made by 
the inhabitants of one of his vills to expel a portion of 
the populace which took much from the lesources whence 
his revenue camo and addi.'d nothinix to thein.^ The abbot 
of Bury St. Edmuii<]"s induced the Kini,^ to expel the Jews 
from the to.vn in 1100.- The burgesses of Leicester 
obtained a similar grant from Simon de Montfort in 1231, 
those of Newcastle in 123-4, of Wycombe in 1235, of South- 
ampton in 123G, of Berkhampsted in 1242, of Newbury in 
li-44, of Derby in 1263 ; at Norwich the citizens complained 
to the King, but without any result, of the harm that they 
suffered through the growth of the Jewish community 
settled in the city.^ In i24.') a decree in general terras was > 
is.sued by Henry III., prohibiting all Jews, except those to 
whom the King had granted a special personal license, from 
remaining in any town other than those in which their co- 
religionists had hitherto been accustomed to live.* This 
series of measures did not simply deprive the Jews in 
England of a right which had been solemnly granted them 
and which they had long enjoyed. It went much further. 

' Especially irritating must have been the fact that the one restriction 
on the business of Je-.vs, as money-lenders, was the order that forbade 
them to take in pledge the land of tenants on the royal demesne. W. 
Prynne, The Second Part of a Short Demurrer to the Jews' long dis- 
conthvied remitter, etc., London, 1656, p. 35 ; Norfolk Antiquarian Mis- 
cellany, I. 328. 

2 Chronica Jocelini de Brahelonda (Camden Society), p. 33. 

^ Thompson, Leicester, 72 ; Madox, Hist, of Exchequer, I. 260, notes 
and P ; J. E. Blunt, E4ahli.ihment and Residence of Jews in England, 
45; Papers A.nglo-J. H. Ex. 190; Prynne, The Second Part of a Short 
Demurrer, etc., p. 37 ; Xorfolk Antiquarian Miscellany, I. 32(), (De Judeis 
dicebant quod major multitude manet in civitate sua quam solebat, 
et quod Judei qui aliis locis dissaiuati (.v/c) fuerunt venerunt ibidem 
manere ad dampnum civitatis). 

•• Prynne, The Second Part of a Short Demurrer, etc., p. To ; Madox, His- 
tory of the Exchequer, I. 219 : Et quod nullus Judaeus receptetur in 
aliqua villa sine speciali licentia Regis, nisi in villis illis in quibus 
Jadaei manere consueverunt. 



The Expukion of the Jens from Enghntd in 121)0. 21 

For, by circumscribing tlie area in wliich they could carry ^' 
on their business, and so diniiuishing their opportunities 
of acquiring wealth, it threatened their very existence in a 
laud where their wealth alone secured them protection. 



IV. — The Conflict with the Baroxs. 

At the same time that the towns were making their 
attack on the Jews in their own way, there was growing 
up within the baronial order a new party, stronger than 
the towns in the elements of which it was composed and 
in its capacity for joint action, and tilled, on account of the 
private circumstances of its members, with a deeper 
hatred of the Jews than the greater barons, wh:) had 
hitherto represented the order, had ever known. For the 
old Baronial party which had forced Magna Carta on 
John was too rich to be seriously imlebted to the Jews, and 
the anti-JcAvish feeling of its mend)ers must have been 
blunted by the fact that, when they had to pay their debts, 
they could raise the money by benevolences levied on their 
tenants.^ Moreover some of them imitated on their own 
estates the King's policy of sharing in the profits of 
usury .^ Hence they w-ere little influenced by personal 
grievances, and it was no doubt partly from political con- 
siderations, and partly as a concession to the lesser and 
poorer members of their order, that they had introduced 
into Magna Carta certain limitations of the power of the 
Jews, or of their legatee, the King, over the estates of 



' Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, 2(59-271. 

» M. Paris, Chronica Mojora, V. 245. Cf. the article in the Constitutions 
enacted by Walter de Cantilupe, Bishop of Worcester, at his dioce.^an 
synod in 1240 : Quia vero parum ref ert, an quis per se vel per alium incidat 
in crimen usurarum, prohibemus ne quis Christianus Juda'o pecuniam 
committat. ut earn Jud^us simulate suo nomine proprio rautuetad usuram. 
Wilkins. Magnw Britannia: Concilia, I. 675,676. Stubbs. Sc-Icct Chartem, 
385-6. 



22 The Expuliiion of ihe Jeicsfrotn England in 1290. 

debtors, a measure which, small as it was, was repealed on 
the re-issues of the charter's, when, during the minority of 
Henry III., the great Barons had to undertake the duty 
of Government. And yet even the great Barons must have 
felr, after twenty years' experience of the personal Govern- 
ment of Henry III., that an alteration in the Royal system of 
managing the Jewry was necessary if their order was ever 
to succeed in the constitutional struggle in which it was 
engaged. They knew that many of those among the King's 
acts which they hated worst would have been impossible 
but for the Jews. It was by money extorted from them 
that he had been enabled to prolong his expeditions in 
Brittany and Gascony, to support and enrich his foreign 
favourites, and to baffle the attempts of the Council to 
secure, by the refusal of supplies, the restoration of Govern- 
ment through the customary officers. In 1230, and again in 
1239, he took from them a third of their property ; in 1244, 
he levied a tallage of 60,000 marks ; in 1250, 1252, 1254, 
and 1255 he ordered the royal officers to take from them 
all that they could exact, after thorough inquisition and the 
employment of measures of compulsion so cruel as to make 
the whole body of Jews in England ask twice, though 
each time in vain, for permission to leave the country. 
Thus the whole Baronial order was for a time united, on 
the ground of constitutional grievances, in a policy which 
found its expression in the successful attempt of the 
National Council in 1244 to exact from the Kinw the right 
of appointing one of the two justices of the Jews, so as to 
gain a knowledge of the amount of the Jewish revenue, 
and a power of controlling its expenditure.^ 



• For the nature and duration of the earlier strugg'le between the king- 
and the barons, see Stubbs. Constitidional History of England (Library 
Edition), II.. 40, -14, 03, 07, 69-77. For the king's acts of extortion from 
the Jews, see Matthew Paris, Chronica Majora, III., 194, .543; IV., 88; 
v., 114, 274, 441, 487 ; Madox, History of the Exchequer, I., 224-5, 229 ; 
Prynne, Second Part of a Short Demurrer, 40, 48, 66, 70, 75, 57. For the 
appointment by the Council of one Justice of the Jews, M. Paris, Chronica 
Majora, iv. 807. 



The Repulsion of the Jews from Eiujland in 1290. 28 

But such a measure did nothing to relieve the personal 
grievances of the lower baronage, and it was naturally 
from this class that further complaints proceeded. Its 
members, unlike the greater barons, made no profit from 
the encouragement of usury. On the other hand, they 
were among the greatest sufferers from the practice. 
Many a one among them must, when .summoned to tako^f 
part in the King's foreign expeditions, have been com- 
pelled to pledge some land to the Jews in order to be 
able to meet the expenses of service ; and no doubt the 
Jews derived from such transactions a large share of the 
profits that enabled them to make their enormous contri- 
butions to the exchequer. A landholder's debt to a Jew 
^' would, when once contracted, have been, under any cir- 
y^ ci cumstances, difficult to pay off. But the lower baron- 
age, or knight's bachelors, were threatened, when they 
had fallen into debt, with new dangers, the knowledge 
of which intensified their hatred of the whole system of 
money-lending. " We ask," they said in the petition of 
1259, "a remedy for this evil, to wit, that the Jews some- 
times give their bonds, and the land pledged to them, to 
the magnates and the more powerful men of the realm, 
who thereupon enter on the laud of the lesser men, and 
although those who owe the debt be willing to pay it with 
usury, yet the said magnates put off the business, so that 
the land and tenements may in some way remain their 
property, .... and on the occasion of death, or any 
other chance, there is a manifest danger that those to 
whom the said tenements belonged may lose all right in 
them." ^ 

The special wrongs of the lower baronage were, in the 
course of the Civil War, temporarily lost sight of. Never- 
theless, the action of the whole baronial party throughout 
the war contributed greatly, though indirectly, to the ulti- 
mate banishment of the Jews from England. Just as tlie 

' Stubbs, Select darters, 385-6. 



24 T)ie Rrpuhion of the Jens from England in 1290. 

towns had, by their measiil-cs of exclusion, weakened the 
merceuary bond that united the Jews to tlie King, so now 
the barons, by their wholesale destruction of Jewish 
property, Worked, as unconsciously as the towns had done, 
to the same end. They attacked and plundered the Jewry 
of London twice in the course of the war, and destroyed 
those of Canterbury, Northampton, Winchester, Cambridge, 
Worcester, and Lincoln. Everywhere they carried off or 
destroyed the property of their victims. In London they 
killed every Jew that they met, except those who accepted 
baptism, or paid large sums of money. They took from 
Cambridge all the Jewish bonds that were kept there, and 
deposited them at their head-quarters in Ely. At Lincoln 
they broke open the official chests, and " trod underfoot in 
the lanes, charters and deeds, and w^hatever else was 
injurious to the Christians."^ "It is impossible," says a 
chronicler, in describing one of these attacks, " to estimate 
the loss it caused to the King's exchequer." 



V. — The Beginjjing of Edward's Policy of Restric- 
tion. 

When the Civil War was over, the position of the King's A 
son Edward as, on the one hand, the sworn friend of the 
lower baronage, and, on the other hand, the leader of the 
Council and the most powerful man in England,^ made it 
impossible that the Jews should continue to carry on their 
business under the royal protection as they had hitherto 
done. And Edward's personal character and political ideals 
w^ere such as to make him execute with vigour the policy 



' Annales Monagtici, II. 101, 363, 371, III. 230, IV. 141, 142, 145. 
449, 450 ; Liber de Antiquis Lcgilus (Camden Society), 02 ; Clironieic of 
Pierre de Langtoft (R. S.), II.. 151 ; Clironicle of William de RisJuDifjer 
(Camden Society), 24. 25, 126; Florodil Wir/ornieiix/.s Chronicon ex 
Chroniris (English Historical Society), II. 102. 
Tout, AWwY/rrf /.. 13, 39, 



The Expulsion of the Jens from Knglaiid in 1290. 25 

towards the Jews that was forced on him by his rehitions 
with the lower baronage. He was a religious prince, one 
who could not but feel qualms of conscience at seeing 
the " enemies of Christ " carrying on the most xinchristian 
trade of usury in the chief towns of England. He was 
a statesman, the future author of the Statutes of Mort- 
main and Qui(( Eniptores, and he wished to see the work of 
the nation performed by the united action of the nation, 
and its expenses met by due contributions from all the 
National resources. But in so far as the Jews had any 
hold on English land they prevented the realisation of this 
ideal. Sometimes they took possession of laud that was 
pledged to them, and then the amount of the feudal re- 
venue and the symmetry of the feudal organisation suffered, 
though the King might gain a great deal in other ways ;• 
very often they secured payment in money of their debts 
by bringing about an agreement for the transfer to a 
monastery of the estates that had been pledged to them as 
security,^ and then the land came under the "dead han<l "; 
sometimes they contented tliemselves with a perpetual 
rent-charge,^ and then it would be hard, if not impossible, 
for the struggling debtor to discharge his feudal obliga- 
tions."* 

The indebtedness of the Church must have shocked 
Edward's sympathies as a Christian, just as much as the 
indebtedness of the lay landholders thwarted his schemes 



' Palgrave, Rotidi Ciirice Rrgis (Record Commission), II., 62 (Judaci 
habeant ssisinam) ; Gcsta ahbatum Mnnasterii S. Albani (R. S.), I., 401 ; 
Placitnrum Abbrcviatio (Record Commission), p, 58 ; Jacobs, pp. 90, 234. 

2 Chronicles of the Abbey of MeUa (Rolls Series), I,. 173, 174, 306, 367, 
374, 377 ; II., 55, 109, 110 ; Archeeologlral Journal, vol. 38, pp. 189, 190, 
191,192, 

' Blunt, Establishment and Residence of the Jews in England, I'M) ; 
Prynne, Second Part of a Short Demurrer, p. 105. 

■• A very long list of landowners indebted to the Jews could be ex- 
tracted from Madox, History of Erchrqurr, Vol. I., p. 227, sq. Cf. Prynne, 
Second Part, etc., pp. 96, 98, 106 ; Calendar of Patent Rolls from 1281 
to 1292, p. 25. 



26 The Expuhion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

as a statesman. ¥ov the condition of ecclesiastical estates 
was indeed deplorable. They had begun to fall into debt 
in tlic twelfth century, no doubt in consequence of the 
expense that was necessary for the erection of great build- 
ings, and their debts had gone on growing, partly in conse- 
quence of bad management, partly through the necessity of 
fulfilling the duties of hospitality by keeping open house 
continually, partly through the exactions of the Pope and 
the King. The Bi.shop of Lincoln pledged the plate of his 
cathedral, the Abbot of Peterborough the bones of the 
patron-saint of his Abbey ; at Bury St. Edmunds each 
obedientiary had his own seal, which he could apply to bonds 
which involved the whole house ; and loans were freely 
contracted which accumulated at 50 per cent.^ Hence in 
the thirteenth century Matthew Paris wrote that "there 
was scarcely anyone in England, especially a bishop, who 
was not caught in the meshes of the usurers." ^ " Wise 
men knew that the land was corrupted by them." ^ The 
literary documents of the latter half of the century fully 
confirm these accounts. The See of Canterbury was 
weighed down with an ev^er-growing load of debt when 
John of I'eckham first went to it.* The buildinofs of 
the cathedral were becoming dilapidated for want of 
money to repair them.^ Those of the neighbouring Priory 
of Christ Church were in an equally bad state, and its 
revenue was equally encumbered.^ The bishop of Norwich 
was so poor that in spite of the extortions regularly 
practised by his officials, he had to borrow six hundred 
marks from the Archbishop of Canterbury.^ The Bishop 
of Hereford had been compelled to seek the intervention 
of Henry III., in order to obtain respite of his debts to 

• Gesta Henrici II. (R. S.), I., 106 ; Giraldi Cambrensis Opera (R. S.), 
VII., 36 ; Cronica Jocdini de Braluio'ula (Camden Soc), p. 2. 

III., 328. 3 V. 189. 

Lctten of John of Peckham (Rolls Series), I,, 20, 156, 

* Ibid., I., 203. « Ibid., I., 341. 
' Ibid., I., 177, 187. 



The Expulsion of the Jeus from Eiujland in 1290. 27 

the Jews.^ The Abbey of Glastonbury was wciglied down 
by " immeasurable debts," and, in order to save it from 
further calamities, the Archbishop had to order a reorgani- 
sation of expenditure so thorough as to include regulations 
concerning the number of dishes with which the abbot 
might be served in his private room." The Prior of Lewes 
asked permission to turn one of his churches from its right 
use, and to let it for five years to any one who would hire 
it, in order that he might thus get together sonic money to 
help to pa}' ott' what the priory owed.' The Church of 
Newneton could not afford clergymen.* Even the great 
Monastery of St. Swithin's, Winchester, in spite of the 
revenue that its monks drew from the sale of wine and fur 
and spiceries, an<l from the tolls paid by the traders who 
attended its great annual fair, was always in debt, some- 
times to the amount of several thousand pounds.* Except 
in the cutting down of timber and the granting of life 
annuities in return for the payment of a Imnp sum, the 
religious houses had no resources except the money-lenders.® 
They borrowed from English usurers, from Italians, from 
Jews, and from one another.^ 

If the lay and ecclesiastical estates of England were to 
be freed from their burdens, heroic measures were neces- 
sary. The barons had done their part in the work by 
carrying off or destroying such bonds as they could find. 
But the financial revolution, to be eff'ective, must be carried 
out by due process of law. 

When, on the restoration of tranquillity, the Council 
under Edward's influence began its attempt to redress the 
grievances against which the barons had been fighting, the 

1 Roberts, Excerpta e Rot. Finium (^Record Commission), II., 68. 

2 Letters of John of Peckham, I., 2G1. ^ Ibid., I., 380. 
* Hid., I., 194. 

' Obedientiary Rolls of S. Swithin's, Winchester (Hampshire Record 
Society), 1892, pp. 10, 18. 

6 Letters of John of Peckham, I., 244 ; Kitchin, Winchester, 55 ; 
Obedientiary Rolls of S. Swithin-s, pp.22, 25. 

1 Cf. Letters of John of Peckham, I., 542. 



2S The E.vpnlsion of the Jews from I!>n/land in 1290. 

first measure in the programme of reform was one for the 
relief of tlie debtors of the Jews. Any interference with 
Jewish business would, of course, entail a loss to the Royal 
Exchequer, and, honest and patriotic as Edward was, his 
poverty was so great that he could not afford to sacrifice 
any of his resources. But the exhausting demands that 
the King had made on the Jews in the time of his difficul- 
ties, and the terrible destruction of their property that had 
taken place during the war, must have so far diminished 
the revenue to be derived from the Jews as to make the 
possible loss of it a far less serious consideration than it 
would have been twenty years earlier. Accordingly, at the 
feast of St. Hilary in 1269, a measure, drawn up by Walter 
of Merton, was passed, forbidding for the future the aliena- 
tion of land to Jews in consequence of loan transactions 
All existing bonds by which land might pass into the hands 
of Jews were declared cancelled ; the attempt to evade the 
law by selling them to Christians was made punishable 
with death and forfeiture ; and none to such effect was to 
be executed in future.^ 

But this was only a slight measure compared with what 
was to follow. The Jews might still acquire land by pur- 
chase, and needy lords and churches, when forbidden to 
pledge their lands, were very likelj'', under the pressure of 
necessit}'", to sell them outright. Already the Jews were 
" seised " of many estates,^ and, according to the story 
of an ancient historian,^ they chose this moment to 
ask the King to grant them the enjoyment of the privi- 
leges that regularly accompanied the possession of land, 
viz., the guardianship of minors on their estates, the right 
to fjive wards in marriage, and the presentation to livinirs. 
Feudal law recognised the two former privileges, and the 

' Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 175-7. 

* Gesta Abbatum Mimastcrii S. Albani (Rolls Series), I. 401 ; Placi- 
torum Abbreviatio (Record Commission), p. 58, col. 2. 
' Be Antiquit Lfgibuit Lihcr (Camden Society), 234 xq. 



The Expulsion of t lie Jews from KnfjUnid in 1"200. 29 

Church recognised the latter,^ as incidental to the possession 
of real property. It was straiio-e, however, that the Jews 
should present a demand for new social privileo^es of this 
kind to a council that had already shown its determination 
to deprive them of their old le^al rights ; and it was only 
natural that the churchmen should take the opportunity 
of denouncing their " impious insolence." Certain of the 
councillors were at first in favour of granting the Jews' 
request ; but a Franciscan friar, who obtained admittance 
to the Council, pleaded that it would be a disgrace to 
Christianity, and a dishonour to God. The Archbishop of 
York, and the Bishops of Lichfield, Coventry, and Worcester 
were present, and argued that the " perfidious Jews " ouglit 
to be made to recognise that it was as an act of the King's 
grace that they were allowed to remain in England, and 
that it was outrageous that they should make a demand, 
the granting of wliich would allow them to nominate the 
ministers of Christian churches, to receive the homage of 
Christians, to sit side by side with them on juries, assizes 
and recognitions, and perhaps ultimately to come into 
possession of English baronies. Edward and his ec^ually 
religious cousin, the son of Richard, King of the Romans, 
were present at the council to support the argument of the 
Bishops,^ and not only were the original requests refused, 
but tlie Jews were now forbidden by the act of the King 
and his Council to enjoy a freehold in " manors, lands, 
tenements, fiefs, rents, or tenures of any kind," whether 
held by bond, gift, enfeoffment, confirmation, or any other 
grant, or by any other means whatever. They were for- 
bidden to receive any longer the rent - charges which 
had been a common form of security for their loans. 
Lands of which they were already possessed were to 
be redeemed by the Christian owners, or in default of 
them, by other Christians, on repayment without interest 

' Hefele, Concilienyescliichte. V., 1028. 
2 Annales Mnnastiri (R.S.). IV., 221. 



30 The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

of the principal of the loan in consequence of which they 
had come into the hands of the Jews. In the interest 
of parochial revenues, Jews were forbidden to acquire 
houses in London in addition to those which they already 
possessed.^ 



VI. — The Prohibition of Usury. 

Very soon after the passing of the Statute of 1270, 
Edward left England to join the second Crusade of St. 
Louis, and did not return till 1274, two years after he 
had been proclaimed king. At once he took up with 
characteristic vigour, and with the help and advice of a 
band of statesmen and lawyers, the work of administrative 
reform that he had already begun as heir-apparent. He 
recognised that the state of affairs established in 1270 
could not endure, since, under it, the Jews, while practi- 
cally prevented from lending money at interest, now that 
the law forbade them to take in pledge real property, the 
only possible security for large loans, were nevertheless 
still nothing but usurers, allowed by ancient custom and 
royal recognition to carry on that one pursuit as best they 
could, and prevented by the same forces from carrying on 
any other. Edward, with his usual love for " the defini- 
tion of duties and the spheres of duty," - felt that it was 
necessary to define for the Jews a new position, which 
should not, as did their present position, condemn them 
to hopeless struggles, nor demand from him acquiescence 
in what he believed to be a sin. 

For the Church had never ceased to maintain the 
doctrine of the sinfulness of usury which Ambrose and 
Clement, Jerome and Tertullian, had taught in strict 
conformity with the communistic ideas of primitive 
Christianity. It is true that till the eleventh century 

' Blunt, Establishment inid Ilisidence, etc., 134-9. 
- StuVjbs, Constitutional Ilixtory, II., 116. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. ^l 

usury and speculative trading generally had not been 
active enough to call for repression, nor would the Church 
have been strong enough to enforce on the Christian worM 
the observance of its doctrine. It could not follow up 
the attempt made by the Capitularies of Charles the Great 
to prevent laymen from practising usury, and it had to 
rest content with enforcing the prohibition on clerics.^ 
But the growth under Hildebraud of the power of the 
Church over every-day life, and the elevation of the moral 
tone of its teaching that resulted from its struggles with 
the temporal power, enabled it to adopt with increasing 
effect measures of greater severity. Hildebrand, in 1083, 
decreed that usurers should, like perjurers, thieves, and 
wife-deserters, be punished with excommunication ;^ and 
the Lateran General Council of 1139. when exhorted by 
Innocent II. to shrink from no legislation as demanding 
too high and rigorous a morality, decreed that usurers 
were to be excluded from the consolations of the Church, 
to be infamous all their lives long, and to be deprived of 
Christian burial.* The religious feeling aroused l»y the 
Crusades still further strengthened the hold on the 
Christian world of characteristically Christian theory, 
while the prospect of the economic results that they 
threatened to bring about in Europe, awoke the Church 
to the advisability of putting forth all its power to 
protect the estates of Crusaders against the money-lenders. 
Many Popes of the twelfth century ordained, and St. 
Bernard approved of the ordinance "* that those who took 
up the Cross should be freed from all engagements to 
pay usury into which they might have entered. Innocent 
III. absolved Crusaders even from obligations of the kind 
that they had incurred under oath, and subsequently 
ordered that Jews should be forced, under penalty of 



' Ashley, Economic History and Theory, I., 126-32, 148-50. 

- Hefele, Coneiliengexehichte, V., 175. 

' Ibid., 438-441. ■• Jacobs, The Jeics of Angevin England. 23. 



'\'2 Tli'^ Expulsion of (lie Jem from England in 1290. 

exflusion from th'» society of Christians, to return to 
their crusading dehtjrs any interest that they had already 
received from them.' 

Stronger even than the intiuunce of the Crusades was 
that of the Mendicant Orders. The Dominicans, who 
preached, and tlie Franciscans, who " taught and wrought " 
amonLTall chisses of people throughout Europe, carried with 
them, as tlieir most cherished lesson, the doctrine of poverty. 
It was by the teaching of this doctrine, and by the practice 
of the simple unworldly life of the primitive Church, that 
the founders of the two orders had been able to give new 
strength to the ecclesiastical institutions of the thirteenth 
century. And their teaching, if not their practice, made 
its way from the Casiuncula to the Vatican. Cardinal 
Ugolino, the dear friend of S. Francis, became Gregory 
IX. ; Petrus de Tarentagio, of the order of the Dominicans, 
became Innocent IV. ; and Girolamo di Ascoli, the " sun " 
of the Franciscans, was soon to become Nicholas IV. 
Moreover, the work of formulating and publishing to the 
world the official doctrines of the Church was in the 
hands of the Mendicants. A Dominican, Raymundus de 
Penaforte, was entrusted by Gregory IX. with the 
preparation of the Decretals, which formed the chief 
part of the canon law of the Chui-ch.* And friars of 
both orders codified with indefatigable labour the moral 
law of Christianity, and set it forth in hand-books, or 
Summce, which were universally accepted as guides for 
the confessional, and which all ao-reed in condemninjr 
iisury.^ Hence, the doctrine of its sinfulness was taught 
throughout Christian Europe, b}' priests and monks, by 
Dominican preachers and Franciscan confessors, who could 
enforce their lesson by the use of their power of granting 

• Corpus Juris Canovici (Leipzig, 1{<39), II.. 786. 

' Raumer, Geschiehte der Ilohcnstavfen uiul Ihrcr Zcit. III., o81. 

• Endi-mann. Stud'un in der Roviajiisch-Kanotiistischen Wirt hsch aft s- 
und Ucrhtslrhrr,I.,\G-l8. Stintzingr, Gischlchti- der Populdri-n Litcratur 
drt Itiiinisrh-f'anonisrhrn lirchts. 



The Expuhion of the Jens from England in TiDO. 33 

or refusing absolution. How strong and violent a public 
opinion was thus created is best shown in the lines in 
which Dante, the contemporary of Edward I., tolls with 
what companions he thought it fit that the Caursine 
usurers should dwell in hell.^ 

There was every reason why the hatred of usury should 
be as strong in England as anywhere. The Franciscan 
movement had spread throughout the country, and had 
found among Englishmen many of its chief literary 
champions.^ And the Englishman's pious dislike of 
usury had been strengthened by many years of bitter 
experience. Italian usurers had in the previous reign 
gone up and down the country collecting money on behalf 
of the Pope, and lending money on their own account at 
exorbitant rates of interest.^ From some of the magnates 
they obtained protection (for which they are said to nave 
paid with a share of their profits),' but to the great hoi\y 
of the Baronage, to the Church, and to the ti^ading classes 
their very name had become hateful. One of them, the 
brother of the Pope's Legate, had been killed at Oxford.* 
In London Bishop Roger had solemnly excommunicated 
them all, and excluded them fi'om his diocese.^ 

No English king who wished to follow the teachings of 
Christianity could willingly countenance any of his sub- 
jects in carrying on a traffic which was thus hated by the 
people and condemned by all the doctors of Christendom 
Even Henry III. was once so far movcil by indignation and 
religious feeling as to expel the Caursines from his king- 
dom/ and had religious scruples about the retention of 
the Jews.^ But, as has been shown, he could not do with- 

' E pero lo minor giron suggella, 
Del segno suo e Sodoma e Caorsa. 

Inferno, XI. 49, 50. 
' Monvmrnta Franciscana (Rolls Series), XLV., L., 10, 38-9, 61. 
' Macpherson, Annals of Commerce, I., 399-400. 

* M. Paris, Chronica Majora, V., 24.5. * Ibid., III., -48. 
« TS/r/., III., .3.32-3. ' Ibid.,lY.,>i. 

* M. Paris, Hixtoria Amjlorum, III., 104. 

C 



3-i Tin' F.xpulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

out the Jewish icvciiiio. Edward was not only free from 
dependence on that source of income, Imt he w^as also a far 
more rclii^ious kini,' than his father. He was a man to 
ohey the heliests of the Church, instead of setting them at 
nauLiht with an easy conscience, as his father had done. 
In tlie second year of liis reign the Church, by a decree 
passed at tlie Council of Lyons, demanded from the Chris- 
tian world fiir greater ettbrts against usury than ever 
K'fore.* Till this time, though Popes and Councils had 
deelaretl the practice accursed, churclies and monasteries 
hai Ii.'kI usurers as tenants on their estates, or had eveu 
possessed whole ghettos as their property.'^ Now this was 
to be en<led, ami it was ordained by Gregory X. that no 
community, corporation, or individual should permit 
foreign usurers to hire their houses, or indeed to dwell 
at all upon their lands, but should expel them within 
three months. Edward, in obedience to this decree, ordered 
an inquisition to be made into the usury of the Florentine 
bankers in his kingdom with a view to its suppression, 
and allowed proceedings to be taken at the same time 
and with the same object against a citizen of London.' 
And the events of the last reign enabled him to pro- 
ceed to what at first seems the far more serious task of 
bringing to an end the trade that the Jews had carried 
on under the patronage, and for the benefit, of the Royal 
Exchequer. 

For the Jews could no longer support the Crown in 

y times of financial difficulty as they had been able to do in 

pluvious reigns. The contraction of their business that 



' Ashley, Economic History and Theory, I. 150 ; Labbeus, Sacrosa7icta 
Concilia, xi. 991, 2. 

' Depping, Leg Juifs danx le Moyen Age, 202, 207 ; Muratori, Antiqui- 
tiitiA Italicw Medii Aevi, I. 899, 900 ; Ninth Itejjort of the Historical 
M'liiusrripts Commission, p. 14 (No. 2G4). 

' F>rty.fourth Rrjiort of Di jnity-Keepcr of Public Records, pp. 8, 9, 72 ; 
Thr Quest inn whether n Jiw, etc., by a Gentleman of Lincoln's Inn 
(London. 17.=j.S), Appendix, § 18. . 



The Expulsion of the Jens from England in 1290. 35 

was the result of their exclusion from many towns, and 
the losses that they had suffered tliroui^h the extortions of 
Henry III. and the plundering attacks of the Ijarons, had 
very greatly diminished their revenue-paying capacities, 
and the legislation of 1270 must have atiected them still 
more deeply. At the end of the twelfth century they had 
probably paid to the Treasury about £3,000 a year, or 
one-tweltth of the whole royal income/ and for some parts 
of the thirteenth century the average collection of tallage 
has been estimated at £5,000 ;^ but in 1271 — by which 
time the royal income had probably grown to something 
like the £G5,000 a year which the Edwards are said to 
have enjoyed in time of peace^ — Henry III., when pledging 
to Richard of Cornwall the revenue from the Jewry, 
estimated its annual value, apart from what was yielded 
by escheats and other special claims, at no more than 
2,000 marks.^ And while the resources of the Jews had 
fallen off, the needs of the Crown had increased. Not 
only must Edward have conducted his foreign enterprises 
at a much greater cost than did his predecessors, under 
whom the English knighthood had been accustomed to 
serve without serious opposition, but, in addition, he had 
to make the best of a vast heritage of debt that his father 
had left him.'^ He had to seek richer supporters than the 
Jews, and such were not wanting. 

The Italian banking companies were tlie only organisa- 
tions in Europe that could supply him with such sums of 
money as he needed. From all the greatest cities of Italy — 
from Florence, Rome, Milan, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, and Asti 
— they had spread to many of the chief countries of Europe, 

' Jacobs. 328. * Papers Anglo-Jewish Hist. Exhibit. 07i, 195. 

^ Stubbs' Ciiiistitutional History, II. 601. 

< Rymer, Fonlera, I. 489. Cf. Jewish Chronicle for April 2(), 1895, p. 19, 
col. 2. 

* Chronicles Ed. I. and II. (ed. Stubbs), Vol. I., p. c. Cf. Forty-second 
Report of Deputy-Keeper of Pahlic Records, p. 479 (At the beginning of 
his reign Edward says, in his writs to the sheriffs, " Pecuniae plurimam 
indigemus "). Forty-third Report, 419. 

c 2 



36 Tin' E.rpulsioH of the Joes from Enyhmd in 1290, 

to France, Kii<;laii(l, Brabaiit, .Svvitzerland, and Ireland.^ 
They were merchants, money-lenders, money-changers, and 
international Itankers, and in this last occupation their 
supremacy over all rivals was secured by the great advan- 
tage which the wide extent of their dealings enabled them 
to enjoy, of being able to save, by the use of letters of 
. credit on their colleagues and countrymen, the cost of the 
transport of money from country to country.^ They were 
thus the greatest financial ag.mts of the time. They trans- 
acted the business of the Pope. At the Court of Rome 
ambassadors had to borrow from them."* In France their 
position was established by a regular diplomatic agreement 
between tlie head of their corporation and Philip III.'' 
In England they had in their hands the greater part of the 
trade in corn and wool ;''^ and the protection and favour of 
English kings was often besought by the Popes on their 
behalf in special bulls." 

Edward began his reign in financial dependence on the 
Italians. His lather had in the earliest period of his per- 
sonal government incurred obligations to them which he- 
himself, as heir apparent, had to increase considerably 
at the time of his Crusade.^ When in later years he 
needed money to pay his army, he borrowed it from them ; 
when he diverted to his own use the tenth that was voted 
for his intended second Crusade, they gave security for 
repayment.** So great were the amounts that they ad- 
vanced to him, that between 1298 and 1308 the Friscobaldi 

' Muratori, Antiquitatcs ItaliccB Medii Aeri (Dissertatio XVI) ; Dep- 
pirig, Lea Jnifis dans le Mityen Age, 213-6 ; Rymer, Foedera, I., 6i4. 

' JIacpherson, Annals of Commerce, I. 405, 6 ; and see Peruzzi, Storia 
del Commerclo edei Banchieri di Firenze, 170. 

3 Perazzi, 169 ; Archarologia, xxviii. 218, 219. 

* Muratori, Antiqnitates Itallcae Medii Aevi, I. 889. 

* Archaeologia, xxviii. 221 ; Cunninpham, Growth of English Industry 
and Commerce, Early and Middle Ages, .Appendix D ; Peruzzi, Storia dec 
Couimcrciu, 70. 

• Rjmer, Foedera, I. 6C0, S2.3, 905. 

• Arr/uirologiu, xxviii. 2(il-272. » Rymer. Foedera, I. (144 , 788. 



The Expuhion of the Jetcs from England in 1290. 37 

Bianchi alone, one of the thirty-four companies thpt 
he einployeil,^ received in repayment nearly £100,000.' 
He was compelled to favour them, although he attempted 
to stop their usury. He gave them a charter of privi- 
leges.^ He presented them with large .sums of money. 
He bestowed on the head of one of their lirms high office 
in Gascony. At various times he placed under their charge 
the collection of the Customs in many of the chief ports in 
England.'* 

Edward's close connection with a bod}^ of financiers so 
rich and powerful made the Jews urniocessary to him. If 
he was not to disobey the decree of the Council of Lyons 
he must either withdraw his protection from them or else 
forbid them any longer to be usurers. To withdraw his 
protection from them would be to expose them to the 
popular hatred, the danger from which had been the justi- 
fication of the relations that had been established between 
Crown and Jewry after 1190, and still existed. He chose 
the second alternative. In 1275 he issued a statute, in 
which he absolutely forbade the Jews, as he had just for- 
bidden Christians,' to practise usury in the future. He 
gave warning that usurious contracts would no longer be 
enforced by the king's officers, and he declared the making 
of them to be an offence for which henceforth both parties 
were liable to punishment. To ensure that all those 
contracts already existing should come to an end as quickly 
as po.ssible, he ordered that all movables that were in 
pledge on account of loans \vere to be redeemed before the 
coming Easter.^ 

VII. — Edward's Policy: The Jews and Trade. 

Thus the Jews, already shut out from the feudal and 
municipal organisation of the countrj^ were forbidden by 

' Peruzzi, 174. ' Archaeologia, xxviii. 244-5. 

» Ihid, 231, Note 1. ^ Peruzzi, 172-.=5. 

* The Question whether a Jew, etc. Appendix, §18. Prynne, ^ Shu) t 
Dnnurrer, 58. * Blunt, Kttahlishment and lienidcnre, etc., 13'J-14 1. 



3!S T'ltc Expulsion of the JeicsJ)om England in 1290. 

one ftct of loG^isliition to follow the pursuit in which the 
kings of England had encoumgod them for two hundred 
years. 

However, for the hardships imposed by the Christian 
Church there was an appi-oved Christian remedy. Thomas 
Aquinas, the greatest authority on morals in Europe in the 
thirteenth century, hail written: "'If rulers think they 
harm their souls by t;iking uioney from usurers, let them 
remember that they are themselves to blame. They ought 
to see tliat the Jews are eompelleil to labour as they do in 
some parts of Italy." ^ A Christian king, and one whom 
Edward revered as his old leader in arras and as a model 
of piety, had already acted in accordance with the teach- 
ing of Thomas Aquinas. In 1253 St. Louis sent from the 
Holy Land an order that all .Tews should leave France 
for ever, except those who should become traders and 
workers with their hands.^ And now, when Edward was 
forbidding the Jews of England to practise usury, he 
naturally dealt with them in the fashion recommended by 
the great teacher of his time and adopted by the saintly king 
" The King also grants," said the Statute of 1275, " that 
the Jews may practise merchandise, or live by their labour, 
and for those purposes freely converse with Christians. 
Excepting that, upon any pretence whatever, they shall not 
be levant or couehant amongst them ; nor on account of 
their merchandise be in scots, lots, or talliag-e with the 
other inhabitants of those cities or boroughs where they 
remain ; seeing they are talliable to the King as his own 
serfs, and not otherwise. . . . And further the Kino- 
grants, that such as are unskilful in merchandise, and 
cannot labour, may take lands to farm, for any term not 
exceeding ten years, provide 1 no homage, fealty, or any 
such kind of service, or advowson to Holy Cliurch, be 
belonging to them. Provided also that this power to farm 

' Thomas Aquinas. Opn-ioidum, XXI. {Ad Ducissam Brahantiae in 
Vol. XIX. of the Venice edition, 177r)-88.) 
» M. Paris, f'hrnniri M„i,>,,i, V. 3r,l, 2. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 39 

lands, shall continue in force for ten years from the raakino- 
of this Act, and no longer." ^ 

The 16,000- Jews of England were thus called upon 
to change at once their old occupation for a new one, and 
the task was imposed upon them under conditions which 
made it all but impossible of fulfilment. Tliey were 
forbidden to become burgesses of towns ; and the effect of 
the prohibition was to make it impossible for them, in most 
parts of England, to become traders, for it practically ex- 
cluded them from the Gild Merchant. It is true that some 
towns professed that their Gild was open to all the 
inhabitants, whether burgesses or not, so long as they took 
the oath to preserve the liberties of the town and the king's 
peace.^ But most of the Gilds were exclusive bodies, to 
which all non-burgesses would find it hard to gain 
admission,* and Jewish non-burgesses, though not as a 
rule kept out by a disqualifying religious formula,^ would 
on account of the unpopularity of their race and religion, 
find it trebly hard.*' As non-Gilds uien, they would be at 
a disadvantage both in buying goods and in selling them. 
They would find it hard to buy, because, in some towns at 
any rate, the Gildsmen were accustomed to " oppress the 
people coming to the town with vendible wares, so that no 
man could sell his wares to anyone except to a member of 
the society."^ They would find it in all towns hard to sell, 
in some impossible. In some towns non-Gildsmen were 
forbidden to deal in certain articles of common use, 



* Blunt, Establishment and Residence, etc.. lil. 

^ This is the number of those who left the country in 1290. Flares 
Historiarum (Rolls Series), iii. 70. Probably the nu-nber of t)iose in the 
country in 1275 was about the same. 

3 Gross, The Gild Merchant, I. 38. ■• Ibid., I. 39-40. 

* Ibid. II., 68, 133, 2U, 243, 257. 

s One Jew alone is known to hare become a member of a Gild durinjjf 
the residence of the Jews in Eujjrland before 1290. He became a citizen 
at the same time. His election took place in 1268 (Kitchiu's Wincheder — 
Historic Towns Series, p. 108), After 1275 it would have been illegal. 

' Gross, The Gild Merchant, I. 41. 



40 The Erpulsion of the Jcicsfrom England in 1290. 

such as wool, liiiles, ^niin, iintanned leather, and unfulled 
cloth ; in others, as in Southampton, they might not 
buy an3-thing in the town to sell again there, or keep 
a wine tavern, or sell cloth by retail except on market day 
and fair day, or keep more than five quarters of corn in a 
granary to sell by retail. Thi^re were even towns where 
the nuniicipjil statutes altogether forbade non-Gildsmen 
to keep shops or to sell by retail.^ 

It was almost as difficult fc»r Jews to become agriculturists 
or artisans, as to become traders. They were allowed by 
the statute to farm land, but for ten years only, and they 
were far too ignorant of agricidture to be able to take 
advantage of the permission. They could not work on the 
land of others as villeins, because, even if a Christian lord 
had been willing to receive them, they w'ould have been 
]n-evented by their religion from taking the oath of 
fealty.2 

Only under exceptional conditions could they work at 
handicrafts. A Jew who possessed manual dexterity miglit, 
as was sometimes done in the thirteenth century, have 
worked for himself at a cottage industry, and might, though 
the task would have been a hard one, have gained a 
connection among Christians, and induced them to trust 
him with materials.^ But many crafts were at the time 
coming under the regulations of craft-gilds. Certainly as 
early as the beginning of the fourteenth century, there 
were in London fully-organised gilds of Lorimers, 
Weavers, Tapicers, Cap-makers, Saddlers, Joiners, Girdlers, 
and Cutlers.'* In Hereford there were Gilds for nearly thirty 
trades.'"' It was probably very often the case, as it was with 
the Weavers' Gild in London, that a craft-gild existing 

* Gross, The Gild Merchant, I. 45, 46, 47. 

* Tjihiv Cmtumarnm (Rolls Series), 21.5. 

* Ochenkowski, Emjlandx WlrthKchaftliche Entwickelung im Arixgange 
drs Mitfclaltcm, i>\-\' 

* Lihrr Custumarum (Rolls Series) 80-81, 101-2, 121 ; Liber Albus (Rolls 
Series), 720, 734. Riley, Memorials of London, 179. 

* Johnson, Customs of I/rre/ord, 115-6. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 41 

in any town couM forbid the practice of the craft in the 
town to all who had not been elected to membership, or 
earned it by serving the apprenticeship that the Gild's 
statute required.^ The period required by the Loriuicrs' 
statute was ten years, by the Weavers', seven, and in some 
cases certainly, and probably in all, the apprenticeship had 
to be served under a freeman of the city.^ The apprentice 
who had served his time, was still, in some towns and 
industries, unable to practise his craft, unless he became a 
citizen and entered the frank pledge.^ It was ditHcult for 
a Jewish boy to become an apprentice, since the Church 
threatened to excommunicate any Christian who received 
into his house, as an apprentice would naturally be received, 
a Jew or Jewess ; it was impossible for a Jewish man to 
become a citizen, for the king forbade his Jewish " serfs " 
to be in scot and lot with the other inhabitants of the cities 
in which they lived. 

Excluded from the trades and handicrafts of the towns, 
the Jew might try other means of earning a livelihood. 
He might attempt to travel with wares or with produce, 
from one part of England to another, or he might be an 
importer or an exporter. But wholesale trade of this kind 
would be open to those alone who had connnand of a large 
capital. And this was not the only difficulty in the way. 
If the Jew went about the country with his goods from 
fair to fair, or from city to city, he would do so at very 
great risk. He would have to travel over the high roads, 
the perils of which made necessary the Statute of Win- 
chester, and are recounted in the words of its preamble, 
de jour en jour roberies, homicides, arsons, plus sovenerement 
sonf fetes que avaunt ne soleyent} If he survived the 
dangers of the road and reached a fair, he would find 

' Liher Custumarum, ilS-i2o. 

2 Liber Custumarum, 78, 81, 124. Riley, Memorials of London, 179, 
216. 

3 Liber Custuviantni, 79. Ochenkowski, 02>. Cit., 64. 
* Sitvhhs, Select Charters, 470. 



42 The Expulsion of the Jctcsfrom England in 1290. 

there an a-sseiublago made u|) in part of " daring persons," 
such as those, who, in spite of the orderly traders and 
citizens, had caused the massacre at Lynn in 1190,^ or 
those who at Boston killed the merchants and plundered 
tlu'ir i;()o. Is, until " the streets ran with silver and gold,"^ 
or those citizens of Winchester who, in the reign of Henry 
III., carried on for a time a successful conspiracy to rob all 
itinerant merchants who passed through the country.^ 
With his foreign face and striking badge, he would be the 
first mark for the hatred of the riotous crowd. And if he 
escaped violence and robbery, he had still to fear the officials 
of the lord of the foir, who exercised for the time unlimited 
and irresponsible power, and who, according to the regula- 
tions of some fairs, could destroy the goods of any trader 
if their quality did not please them.^ When he had 
managed to escape from the mob and the officials, his 
difficulties were not over. He might make his bargains, 
but there was no court of justice to which he could appeal 
to enforce the completion of any transaction that required 
a longer time than that of the duration of the fair. Redress 
for any injustice committed at a fair, or for the failure to 
carry out an agreement made there, could be obtained only 
through application made by the municipality of the com- 
plainant to that of the wrong-doer.^ The Jew had no 
municipality to present his claims. If those with whom 
he had transactions deceived him, or refused to pay him, he 
was helpless. There was no power to which he could 
appeal. 

If instead of going to a fair he tried to sell, in a town, 
produce from another country or from a different part of 
England, he was in a position of even greater difficulty. 



* Jacobs, 116. 

* Walsingham, Tlistoria Anglicana (Rolls Series), I. 30. 
' M. Paris, Chronica Majora, v. 56-8. 

* Ochenkowski, Englands wlrthxchaftliche EatwicUelung , 157. 

* Cunningham, Growth of English Industry and Commerce, Early and 
Middle Ages, 17.'). 



The Expulsion of the Jeics from England in 1290. 43 

In a strange town he was as nnicli an alien as in a strange 
country, and there was scarcely any limit to the vexations 
and isutieiings that on that account he would have to endure. 
In London, for example, alien merchants were forhiilden to 
remain in the city for more than forty consecutive days. 
While they were there they might not sell anything by retail, 
nor have any business dealings at all with any but citizens. 
There was a long list of articles that they were altogether 
forbidden to buy. They might not stow their goods in 
houses or cellars ; they had to sell within forty days all 
that they had brought with them ; they were allowed 
neither to sell anything after that time, nor to take 
anything back with them. They were continually annoyed 
by the officers of the city.^ All these disadvantages the 
Jew would have to endure to the full while competing with 
many powerful organisations which were engaged in foreign 
trade, and had, after long struggles, secured from the king 
special charters of privilege. Such were the companies 
of the merchants of Germany, who had their steelyard in 
London and their settlements at Boston and Lynn ; the 
Flemings, who had their Hanse in London ; the Gascons 
who enjoyed a charter; the Spaniards and Portuguese; the 
Florentines, most powerful of all, and the Venetians, 
whose enterprise was, at the beginning of the fourteenth 
century at any rate, carried on under the auspices of the 
Republic."^ 

The last opportunity for the Jews was to take part in 
the export of English produce. English wool was the 
most important article of international trade in Western 
Europe. It was brought from monasteries and landholders 
chiefly by the rich and powerful companies of Flemish 

' Liber Custumarum (Rolls Series), xxxiv.-xlviii., 61-72 ; Liber Alhux, 
3CCV., xcvi., 287 ; Macpherson, Annals of Commerce, I. 388-9. 

' Liber Custumaruvi and Liber Alhus, as referred to in preceding note : 
Cunningham, Growth of EngH>ih Industry and Commerce, Early and 
Middle Ages, 181-6 ; Ochenkowski, Enylands loirtlmehaftliche Enhvicke- 
lung, 180 ; Calendar of State Papers (Venetian), Ix.-lxix. ; Peruzzi, Sloriu 
dri lianrhirri e del Commcrcio di Firenze, 70. 



44 The Expulsion of the Jews from Enghyid in 1290. 

and Itftlinn inorclinnts, <an<l sent to Flanders and Italy to be 
wovLMi aii<l dyc'l.' The Jews had, apparently, long taken 
some sliglit jwirt in wholesale trado,'^ but the amount of 
caiiit.il that it required, and the power of the rivals who 
held the li.-ld. made it impossible for many of them to take 
to it imme(liately as a substitute for money-lending. 
Still it was the only form of enterprise in which they 
would not be at a hopeless disadvantage ; and some Jews, 
those probably who had a large capital and were able to 
recall it from the borrowers, followed the example of the 
Italians, and made to landholders advances of money to be 
repaid in corn and wool.^ 

VIII. — The Temptations of the Jews. 

But even for those Jews who were rich enough to take 
part ill wholesale trade, there was still a great temptation 
to transgress the prohibition against usury. All the legal 
machinery that was necessary for the due execution and 
validity of agreements between Jews and Christians — the 
chest in which the deeds were deposited, and the staffs 
of officers by whom they were registered and supervised 
— were still maintained in some towns, since they were 
necessary alike for the recovery, by the ordinary process, 
of the old debts (many of which, in spite of the order for 
summary repayment in the Statute of 1275, still remained 
outstanding)* and for the registration of any new agree- 

' Cunningham, Growth, etc., 185 ; Macpherson. Annals of Commerce 
pp. 415, 481 ; Calendar of State Pajters QVenetia?)'), Ixvi.-lxvii. 

^ Jacobs, 66-7 ; Archaeological Joiir»al, xxxviii. 179. 

' This was the procedure adopted by the Italians : They paid down 
a sum as earnest-money, and then took a bond (Peruzzi, 70). Cf. Tovey, 
207. 

* For pledgres still unredeemed, land still in the hands of the Jews 
and old debts still unpaid long after the Statutes of 1270-1275 had been 
passed, see MSS. in Public Kecord OflEice (Queen's Eemembrancer's 
Miscellanea, 557, 13-23); Rymer, I. 570; John of Peckham, I. 937; 
Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1281-1292, p. 81 ; Prynne, Second Demurrer, 
pp. 74 and 80 (=154). 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 45 

ments that might be made for tlie delivery of corn ami 
wool, or for the repayment of money lent ostensibly 
without interest. Thei-e was no lack of would-be bor- 
rowers to co-operate with the Jews in using this machinery 
in order to make agreements on which, in spite of the 
prohibition of usury, money nnght protital)ly be lent. The 
demand for loans was great, far too great to be satisfied, 
as the Church thought it reasonable to expect,^ by money 
advanced without interest ; and owing to the progress of 
the change from payment of rents in kind or service to 
payment in cash,^ it was steadily growing. It had been 
met by the money of the Italian bankers, of the Jews, of 
English citizens, and, as is freely hinted by writers of the 
time, of great English barons, who secretly .shared in the 
transactions and the profits of the Jewish and foreign 
usurers.^ The supply had suddenly been checked by the 
simultaneous prohibition of all usury whether of Jews or of 
Christians. Now a Jew who wished, by collusion with a 
borrower, to evade the law against usury, had only to study 
the methods that had been followed by the Caursines, and 
those that were still followed by the Italians and ac([uiesced 
in by the heads of the religious houses with whom they 
had dealings. The Caursines, for example, sometimes 
avoided the appearance of usury by lending 100 marks 
and receiving in return a bond, acknowledging a loan of 
£100.^ Sometimes they lent money for a definite period, 
on an agreement that they were to get a " gift," in return 
for their kindness in making the loan, and "compensation " 
in case it were not repaid in time.^ Sometimes by a still 
more elaborate device, the Italians combined their two 

' Labbeus, Sacrosancta Concilia, XI. 649-.50. 

* Vinogradoff, VillciiKKjc in England, 179, 307. 

» -M. Paris, V. 24.") ; Wilkins, Conr., I. 675 ; De Antiq. Lrgihvs, 234 sq. 
(Archbishop of York's remarks on the corruption of the Great Council aud 
on tine fautores of Jews.) 

* M. Paris, Chronica Majora, V. 404-5. 

* Muratori, Antii/uitatcK Italirre Midii Aevi, I., 893. 



46 The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

professions of money-lenders and merchants, by inducing 
a monastery which had borrowed money, to acknowledge 
the receipt, not only of the sum actually received, but also 
of the price of certain sacks of wool which it bound itself 
in I hie time to supply.^ The Jews, no doubt, followed the 
example of the Caursines and of the Italians. In official 
rcLristers, which are still extant, there are mentioned bonds 
which secured to Jewish creditors a large payment in money 
together wnth a small paynvjnt in kind, and which doubt- 
less represent collusive transactions, in which tlie offence of 
usury was to be avoided by the substitution of a recom- 
pense in kind for interest in money. Other bonds for 
repayment of money alone are mentioned in the same 
registers as having been executed after 1275, and every one 
of the kind that was executed between that date and the 
date of the amendment of the Statute against usury may 
be safely considered to represent a transaction which was 
an offence, either veiled or open, against the prohibition.^ 

The temptation to transgress the Statute of 1275 could 
appeal only to Jews with capital, but on the poorer Jews 
other temptations acted with even more strength and even 
worse results. 

The only reputable careers known to have been 
open to the poorer Jews were to become servants in the 
houses of their rich co-religionists,^ or else to imitate in a 
humble w^ay their financial transactions, either by keeping 
pawnshops,^ or by carrying on, in towns where there was 
no recognised Jewry, business of the same kind as that 
of the rich money-lenders in the larger Jc^wish settlements. 
To follow these pursuits was now impossible, in consequence, 
not onl}'- of the prohibition of usury, but also of the strict- 
ness with which Edward enforced the old legislation 

' llotuli Parliamintorum, I. 1, 2. 

* " The Debts and Houses of the Jews of Hereford," in Transactions of 
the Jeulsfi Jfhtorical Stirirfi/ of En<il(in(l, vol. I. 

^ Royal Lrttrrs (Rolls Series), 11. 24. 

* Lrvt Jinhdicfion of Norwirh (Selden Society), p. 10; Cf. Aneren 
Jiiwlr (Camden Society), .H9.'). " Do not men account him a g^ood friend 
who laye th his pledge in Jiwry to redeem his companion ? " 



The Exjmkion of the Je us from EtujliDid in 1200. 47 

against the residence of Jews in towns where there did no 
exist a chest for the deposit of Jewish debts, and a stalf of 
clerks to witness and register tlieni.^ There was thus 
nothing to which the poorer Jews could turn. Crowded 
as unwelcome intruders into a small and decreasing number 
of towns,^ without legal standing or industrial skill, hated 
by the people and declared accursed by the Chairch, they 
were bidden to support themselves under conditions which 
made the task impossible unless they could take by storm 
the citadel of municipal privilege which bade defiance to 
the "greatest of the Plantagenets " throughout his reign. 

Under such conditions degeneration was inevitable. Some 
of the Jews are said to have taken to highway robbery 
and burglary ; ' some went into the House of Converts, 
where they got Hd. a day and free lodging.* But to the 
dishonest there was open a far more profitable form of 
dishonesty than either of those already mentioned, viz., 
clipping the coin. 

The offence had long been prevalent. In 1248 such 
mischief had been done that, according to Matthew Paris 
"no foreififner, let alone an Enc^lishman, could look on an 
English coin with dry ej^es and unbroken heart." * It was 
in vain that Henry III. issued a new coinage, so stamped 
that the device and the lettering extended to the edge of 
the piece,^ and caused it to be proclaimed in every town, 
village, market-place, and fair that none but the new pieces 
with their shapes unaltered should be given or taken in 
exchange.^ The opportunity for dishonesty was too tempt- 
ing. The coins that actually circulated in the country 

' Rymer, Faedera, I. 503, 631 ; Papers of the Anglo-Jewish Historical 
Exhibition, 187-190. 

* Norfolk Antiquarian Miscellany, I. 326, quoted su2>ra, p. 20 («. 3). 

3 Calendar of Patent Rolls, 1281-1292, p. 98 ; Papers Aiuilo-Jcwish Hist. 
Ex. 167. 

* See Dictionary of Political Economy, Article Jews, (House for 
Converted). 

* Chronica Majora, V. lo. 

* Annales Monastici (Rolls Series), II. S39. 
' M. Paris, Chronica Majora, V. 15, 16. 



48 The Exptilstoti of the Jeusfrom Eiujlaml in 1200. 

were of many different issues,' they were not milled at the 
ctifi^es,' they were so liable to damai^e and mutilation of all 
kinds that their deficiency of weight had to be recognised 
and allowed for.' Hence anyone who had many coin.s 
passing through his hands could secure an easy profit by 
clipping off a piece from each one before he passed it 
again into circulation. In the early part of the reign of 
Edward I., such was the deficiency in the weight of genuine 
coins (an annalist of the period estimates it at 50 per cent.),' 
and such the amount of false coin in circulation, that the 
price of commodities rose to an alarming height, foreign 
merchants were driven away, trade became completely dis- 
organised, shopkeepers refused the money tendered to them, 
and the necessities of life were withdrawn from the mar- 
kets.' The King had to promise to issue a new coinage, 
l)ut the announcement of his intention only increased the 
general disturbance. The Archbishop of Canterbury com- 
plained that in consequence of the disturbance of circulation, 
he could not find anyone, except the professional usurers, 
from whom he could borrow money on which to live during 
the interval before the revenues of his see began to come 
in.^ When the King at this period of his reign went to 
a priory to ask for money, the first and most cogent of the 
excuses that he heard was that " the House was im- 
poverished by the change in the coinage of the realm." ^ 
Public opinion ascribed to the Jews the greatest share in 
the injuries to the coinage. " They are notoriously forgers 
and clippers of the coin," says Matthew Paris ^ And that 
the suspicion was not absolutely without justification is 
shown by the fact, that early in Henry III.'s reign, the 



' Ruding, Annals of the Coinage, I. 179. 

' Ashley, Economic Hist., Theory, I. 161). 

* A.shley, I., 215, n. 95 ; cf. Jacobs, 73 and 225. 

* Annates Monastici (Rolls Series), IV. 278. 

* Annates Monastici, lY. 278; Liber Cusfnma rum, ISO. 

* John of Peckhara, Rrrjistrum Epistolnriim (Roll-« Series). I. 22. 

" Annahs Mouastiei, III. 295. ' IliMoria Amjlorum, III. 7fi. 



The Expulsion of the Jeinifrom England in 1290. 4-9 

community made a payment to the King in order to secure 
as a concession the expulsion from Englaml of sueli of its 
members as miglit be convicted of the crime.' When in- 
quiries were ordered into the causes of tlie debasement, in 
1248, it was generally considered that the guilt would be 
found to rest with the Jews.- The official verdict included 
them with the Caursines and the Flemish wool-merchants 
in its condemnation.^ 

It was not unnatural that Edward, when the evil re- 
appeared in his reign, should share the general suspicion 
against the Jews, seeing that they had only recently begun to 
give up dealing in money, while many of the poorer among 
them must have become, since 1275, desperate enough to 
be ready to take to any tempting form of dishonest}". The 
King's indio-nation at the sufferino- that had been caused 

or? ^ 

by the injury done to the old coinage, ami at the expense 
that was involved in the preparation of the new issue 
which had become necessary, prompted him to act on his 
suspicions, and to take a measure of terrible severity 
in order to make sure of the apprehension of the most 
probable culprits. When, in 1278, he was making prepa- 
rations for an inquiry into the whole subject of the 
coinage, he caused all the Jews of England to be im- 
prisoned in one night, their property to be seized, and 
their houses to be searched. At the same time the gold- 
smiths, and many others against whom information was 
given by the Jews, were treated in the same way.^ 

The prisoners were tried before a bench of judges and 
royal officers. There can be no doubt that many innocent 
men were accused, even if they were not condemned 
At a time when all the Jews in England were imprisoned, 
there was a great temptation for Christians to bring false 

' Tovey, 109 ; Madox, /fistory of the Exchequer I. 245, z. 

^ M. Paris, Chronica Majora, IV. 608. 

3 Ihid., V. 16. 

* Annalcf Mnna.itiri, IV. 278. 

D 



50 The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

accusations against those among them whom they dis- 
liked on personal or religions grounds, especially a;? there 
-vvas a good chance of extorting hush-money from the 
accused, or, in case of condemnation, of concealing from 
the escheators some of their property.^ The Jews and the 
Kincr recon-nised the dancfer One Manser of London, for ex- 
ample, was wise enough to sue that an investigation might 
be held into the ownership of tools for clipping that were 
found on the roof of his house.' The King, anxious that 
punishment should fall only on the guilty, issued a general 
writ, in which the various motives for false accusation were 
recited, and it was ordered that any Jew against whom no 
ciiai'ge had been brought by a certain date might secure 
himself altogether by paying a fine.^ Nevertheless, a large 
number both of Jews and Christians were found guilty. Of 
the Christians only three were condemned to death, though 
many others were heavily fined. For the Jews, however, 
there was no mercy. Two hundred and ninety-three of 
them were hanged and drawn in London, and all their 
property escheated to the King. A few more had been 
condemned, but saved their lives by conversion to 
Christianity.* 

The activity with which Jews took part, or were supposed 
to take part, in the debasement of the coinage, and in the pro- 
hibited practice of usury ,^ must have aroused in the mind of 



' Calendar of Patent Rolls from 1281 to 1292, 128, 147, 173, 176,213, 
291, 451 ; Citron. Ed. /., I. 93 ; Eottdi Parliamentorum, I. 51a ; Rymer, 
Faedera, I., 570. 

' Papers Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, 42-3. 

* Tovey, 211-13. 

* Chronicles of Edward 1. and Edward IT. (Rolls Series), I., 88 ; 
Chronicon Petrohurgcnse (Camden Society), 29. 

* " Whereas in the time of our ancestors, kings of England, 
loans at interest were wont and were allowed to be made by Jews 
of our kingdom, and much of such profits fell into the hands of 
tbose onr ancestors, as the issues of our Jewry ; and we, led on 
by the love of God, and wishing to follow more devoutly in the 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 51 

the King some misgivings on the subject of his new policy. 
Nevertheless, he did not as yet despair of its ultimate 
success. The crimes of the Jews were no greater than 
those of the Christians around them, though they called 
forth heavier punishment. Christians clipped and coined ; 
Christians still lent money on usury .^ And a certain 
amount of crime among Jews could not but be looked for 
as a natural result of the terrible difficulties in the way of 
the social revolution that had been demanded of them. 
Edward saw that he had been trying to do too much at 
once. The Jews could not change their occupation as 
suddenly as he had wished. The country could not d(; 
without money-lenders. By making the lending of money 
at interest a penal offence, and thus encouraging debtors 
and creditors to keep their transactions secret, Edward had 
weakened the supervision that had been exercised by the 
Treasury, since 1194, over the business and property of 
the Jews, and thus he hacl increased the chance of fraud in 
the collection of tallages, and in the apportionment of the 
share of each estate that had long been claimed by the 

path of the Holy Church, did forbid unto all the Jews of our 
kingdom who had viciously lived from such loans, that none of them 
henceforth in any manner be guilty of resortinpf to loans at interest, 
but that they seek their living and sustain themselves by other legitimate 
work and merchandise, especially since by the favour of Holy Church 
they are suffered to sell and live among Christians. Nevertheless, 
afterwards, in a blind and evil spirit, turning to evil, under colour of 
merchandise and good contracts and covenants, what we established 
by rational thought, premeditating mischief anew, they do it 
with Christians by means of bonds and divers instruments, which 
remain with the Jews, and in which, on a given debt or contract, 
they put double, treble, or quadruple more than they lend to the 
Christians [this reads like an exaggeration], penally abusing the name 
of usury. . . ." (Papers Anglo-Jewish Historical ExhihitAou, 22.5-6). 

1 For Coining, see E,uding, Annals of the Coinage I. 197 ; Calendar of 
Patent Rolls from 1281 to 1292, 97 ; Abbreviatio Rotidorum Originalium 
(Record Commission), 49 ; Peckham, liegistrum Epistolaruni, 1. 14i». For 
Usury, Forty-fourth Report of the Deputy-Keeper of tlie Public Records, 
pp. 8 and 9 ; Archteologia, XXVIII., 227-9 ; Peckham, II., 542 ; and for a 
later neriod. Rotuli Parliamentorim, II. 332«, (VII.) 350/y. 

d2 



52 The Expulsion of the Jeics from England in 1290. 

Crown as the succession due on Jewish property.^ But he 
hafl not stamped out usury, though the Statute of 1275 
had forbidden it. Ho liad not even secured the redem])tion 
of all pledges of Christians from the hands of the Jews, 
though the Statute of 1275 had demanded it. And, there- 
fore, in order that he might not keep on the Statute Book 
a law of which the etfective administration w^as impossible, 
he mitigated the severity of the provisions of 1275, and 
issued, probably a few years later, a new Statute, in which 
he prescribed certain conditions under which usury was to 
be permitted. He allowed loans to be made under con- 
tract for the payment of interest at the rate of half a mark 
in the po\ind yearly, but for three years only ; and, in order 
to reduce the temptation to conclude secret transactions, 
restored legal recognition to all debts of the value of £20 
or upwards that were made under the prescribed condi- 
tions, and were registered before the chirographer and 
clerk, and threatened heavy penalties against all who 
should lend up to that amount without registration.^ 

Edward was wise in thus substituting for his earlier, 
harassing measure, one that allowed for gi-adual change, 
and that attempted to control the evil of which the imme- 
diate suppression was impossible. But the few years' 
experience that he had already had ought to have made 
him go farther still. It ought to have shown him that it 
was hopeless to expect the Jews to give up usury so long 
as the greater part of them were practically excluded 
from all other pursuits, and that, if ever he was to bring to 
a successful issue the policy that he had inaugurated, he 
would have to find some means of enabling them to work 
side by side with Christians, and to compete with them on 
equal conditions. 

Such a task would have been full of difficulties, the 

' Papers of Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, p. VJ2 (note 54) and 
p. 222. 

^ Papers of Aiujlo-Jcwish Historical Exhibition, pp. 224-9. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 53 

greatest of which resulted from the active hostility with 
which the rulers and teachers of the Christian Church in 
the thirteenth century, unlike their predecessors, regarded 
the Jews. The growth and nature of this hostility must 
now be considered. 



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 o^vn 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.^ 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.^ 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.^ 

The accession of Innocent the Third to the pontificate 

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

- St. Anselm. Ejn-stoUc, III., 117 (Migne, Patrologm Cursus Covipletui, 
Vol. lo9, columns 153-1.55) ; Gilbert of Westminster, I)i.ijmt<itio Judnici 
cum C/iristiaiio (Ibid. 10115-1030). 

» Chrnnirlci of Stephen, Henry II., and liirliard I. (Rolls Series), I., 



o-t The E.rpulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 

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 inile,^ 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 - in a modified forai, 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 neighboui's likewise, that it was only out of 
Cliristian 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 
Jud(BUs, iiiidgiiis mcdieiis, qui et artis et modestice suce gratia ChHstianis 
quojue fainiliaris et Jimwruhilis fiieraf) ; Gervase of Canieriury (Rolls 
Series). I.. 405. (The Jews help the monks of Canterbury in their stmg-gle 
with the Archbishop in 1188) ; Rotuli Litteranim Clausarum (Record 
Commission), L, 20b. (^Rex, <5'c., domino Lincolniensi Bpiscopo, Sfc; 
viaiidamus robis quod non permittatis injuste catalle Judeeorum rccfptaH 
in ecclesiis in dioeesi rt'^^ra, February 28th, 120.5) ; Chronica Jocelini ds 
Brakelondf (Camden Society), p. 33. (a.d. 1190, Abbas jusiit solempniter 
excommunicari illos qui de cetero receptarent Jud^ios vel in hospicio 
reciperent in villa Santi ^dmundi') ; Jacobs, The Jewi of Angevin 
England, 269. Q-Engligh Jews drink with Gentiles.") 

' 3Ioeller, History of the Christian Church. Middle Ages (Eng. Tr.). 
p. 279. 

* Mansi. ronciUa. XXII. 231. 



The Ej-pnlsion of the Jeics from Enf/lanf in 1290. .55 

history of Christianity. Moreover, they were suspected of 
exercising a considerable influence on the gro^vth 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 aUow 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 shoidd be excluded 
in future from public offices, and that they should wear 
a badge to distingmsh them from Christians; and he 
renewed the old regulation of the Church, which required 
them to dismiss Christian ser^'ants from their houses. In 
order to ensure that the last provision should be observed, 
he decided that any Christians having any intercourse 
vrith Jews that transgi'essed it should be subject to excom- 
munication. For the enforcement of his other anti-Jewish 
measui-es he rehed on the help of the temporal power in all 
Cliristian countries.^ 

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



' Letters of Innocent (Migne. Patrologite Cursus Comphtu*, Vols. 214- 
217) ; Lib. Til.. ISG : Lib. TIIL. 50. 121 : Lib. X.. 61, 190 ; C<^rpui JvrU 
Canonici (Leipzig. 1S39). 11.. 747-S : Graetz. Geschichte der Juden, YII., 
7, 8 ; Depping, Lei Juifg dam le Moytn Age. 183 : Hahn, Gcfchichte der 
Ketzer, III., 6, 7 ; Hurter. Geschichte Pap$t Innocenz der Britten. II.. 234 ; 
Gudemann. Geschichte de-t Brziehungtwetetu, u.*.ir., I.. 37 : Rule. Uiitory 
.■\fthr Tnqni^ition. I. 10. 17. 



5<i The Expulsion of the Jnrs/roni England in 1290. 

once the whole of Christian Europe, still its evil results 
might h:i\e passed away in time. Popes were but men 
and politicians ; and just as Innocent had, by the pubhca- 
tion of his ^vishes 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 witliin 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 j^^ears 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 
minister, 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 Penaforte, induced the King of 
Spain to build and endow seminaries for the purpose.^ 
Ai'med 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 

' Graetz. Geschichte dcr Juden, VII.. 27. 



The Exjmlsion of the Jeusfrom England in 1290. 57 

time have been famous throughout Europe illustrate their 
method of warfare. In 1239 Nicolas Donin, a converted 
Jew who had become a Dominican friai-, 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 Rabbis 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.^ 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- 

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



58 The Ejcpiihion of the Jeictifrom England in 1290. 

tiaiiity, and induced James I. to compel them to take 
up tlie 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 
liad 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.^ 

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 feehngs 
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 rehgion by 

' IIMoire Litteraire dc la France, XXVII., 562-3 ; Graetz, Geschichte, 
VII., 131, 13.5. 



The ExpuUion of the Jews from England in 1200. 59 

acquiescing in what they believed to be a false intei-preta- 
tion of their scripture, or else of proclaiming publicly their 
disbelief in doctrines which were at the very foundation 
of Christianity. The efiect on the ruKng 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.^ Many other members of 
the order devoted their lives to the same pursuit,^ 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 abmidant, 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 Roman Empire. Thomas Aquinas beheved 
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 tliem.^ " It 
happens sometimes," wrote a Pope of the thirteenth cen- 
tury, " that Clunstians, when they are visited by the Lord 
with sickness and tribulation, go astray, and have recourse 

' Graetz, Geschichte cler Jinlcn, VII., 135 ; J. Jacobs, Inquiry into the 
Sources of the Ulstory of the Jews in SjMin, xviii., 18. 

^ Seriptores Ordinis Prcedicatorum (Quetif and Echard), I., 246, 396, 
308, 5'.»4. 

' Thomas Aquiuas, Summa Theologice, Secunda Secundaj, Quaestio X. 



CO The Expiihioii of the Jens from England in 1290. 

to tlic vain help of the Jewisli rite. They hold in the 
8yna(]^ogues of the Jews torches and lighted candles, and 
make otierings there. Likewise they keep vigils (especially 
on the Salibiith), 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 \n idolatrous fashion show open 
signs of devotion and reverence to a scroll, not without 
nuicli liarm to the orthodox faith, contumely to our Creator, 
ari<i oppx'obrium and shame to the Universal Church."^ 

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 ot 
the monarchs of Europe compelled their Jewish subjects to 
wear a badge.^ 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 forbaae 
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.^ 
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.'' 

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

' Baronius, Annaleg Ecclesiastici (ed. Theiner), XIII., 87. 
2 Itcvuv des Etudes Julves, VI. 81 ; VII. 94. 

' Mansi, Concilia. XXIII., 11 74-0 ; Martene, riu'mnrus,lY., 769. 
* Deppinj^, 108 ; Hahn, Gc.irhichtc dcr Kctzcr, III., 13 ; Rule, History of 
the Intjuixition, 27. 80, 81, 91, .^.12, 3:$.5-6. 



The Expuhnon of fho Jews from England in 1290. Gl 

Europe. Before the tliirteenth century tlie Jews in Enor- 
land had, as has been said above, been free frotn molestation 
by the Church,^ and their chief danger had been from tlie 
brutality and greed of the disorderly populace, of desperate 
outcasts, and of marauding Crusaders.- 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 wdiich, 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.^ 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 eflEect. 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,^ and by 
lending the sanction of the civil power to the decree that 
ordered the use of the badge,® nevertheless followed the 
example that his guardians had set, and protected the Jews 
against the aggression of the Church. 



' Supra, p. 53. " Suj^ra, pp. 12, 1:5, lit. 

» Wilkins, Magnce Britannice Concilia. I., 591 ; Tovey, Anglia Juihiica, 
83 ; Rye, Hlstury of Norfolk, 87. 

* Wilkim?, Magna Britannia; Concilia, I., 657, 693, 719 ; Letters of 
Biahq) Grosni'te.'ste (Rolls Series), 318. 

^ Matthew Paris, Clironica Majora, III., 262. 

* Tovey, Anglia Judaica, 148. 



02 The E.vpnlsiiin of the Jeirsfrom England in 1290. 

Thore were many reasons wliicli niiylit 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, fdled with a sense 
of his kingly duty towards "the living God who takes 
to himself the souls of Princes."^ He was a Crusader, 
tliougli tlie 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.'-' 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."^ 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.'* 

' Rymer, Foedcra, I., 743. 

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

* John of Peckham, Erg id mm Ejnstolarum (Rolls Series), I., 239; 
II., 4U7 ; III., 937 ; Wilkins, Marjnce Britannia; Concilia, II., 88-9 ; 
Prynne, Second Dcmvrrer, 121-2. 

* IlovKiliold Roll of Bixhop Swinfield (Camden Society), pp. c. ci. 



The Expulsion of the Jeivs/rom Enghind in 1290. G3 

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.^ 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.^ 
At Norwich, early in Edward's reign, a Jew was burnt 
for blasphemy.^ At Nottingham, in 1278, a Jewess was 
charged with abusing in scandalous terms all the Christian 
bystanders in the market-place.'* 

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.^ He 
renewed the edict concerning the wearing of the badge, 
and extended it to Jewesses, whereas it had formerly 
applied only to Jews.® 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 
Encrland writs bidding^ them do their best to induce all 

' Graetz. Gcschickte der Juden, VII., note 11. Florence of Worccxter 
(English Historical Society), II., 214. 
" Tovey, Anglia Judnicu. 1G8. 

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

■• Forty-seventh Report of the Deputy-Keeper of the Public Records, 
p. 306. 

* Dictionary of Political Economy. Article, "Jews (House for Con- 
verted)." 

' Tovey. Anglia Judaica, 208. 



G4 The Expulsion of the Jcirsfrotn England in 1290. 

the Jews iu the counties and towns under their charge 
to assemble and hear the Avord of God preached by the 
friars.' To meet tlic danger to religion that miglit 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.^ 

Thus far, and no farther, was Edward prepared to go 
with measures for the suppression of Judaism as a religion. 
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 wdth non- 
Jews, and compelled them to continue the practice of 
usury. That Edward recognised this fact is showai 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 
conclu.sion 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 

' Forty-ninth Itrporf of the Dcjmty-Kriprr of the Piihlic Records, 
p. 9.^ ; Rymer, I., .576 ; Madox, Excheipirr. I.. 2.")!t. ^ Tovey, p. 208. 



The Expulsion of the Je/cs front England tn 1290. 65 

competition on equal terms with Christians, all his efforts 
to make them traders instead of usurers would be wasted. 
He would tlien 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 tlie 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' and York^ and their sufii-agans 
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 tlie 

' Baronius, Annales EeclesM.it iri (ed. Theiner), XIII.. U). 11. 
- Ilevtif (If.t Et inlet Jniven, I., 2'JS. 

E 



()() The E.i-piih^ioii of the JiHsfrom KikjJiukJ in 1290. 

Catliolic faith. Tlu-y aiX' said to have a wicked and 
deceitful book, wliich they coininonly call Thalmud, con- 
taininjr manifold ahoniinationH, falsehoods, heresies, and 
abu.ses. This damnable work they continually study, and 
with its nefarious contents their base thoughts are always 
engatjiied. Moreover, they set their children from their 
tender years to study its lethal teacliing, and they do not 
scruple to tell them that tlicy ou^'ht to believe in it more 
than in the Law of Moses, so that the said children may 
iieo 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 wdth them according to their rite and law, even in 
the parishes in wdiich 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 
unknow^n 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 Cliristians 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 the}'^ 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 



The E.rpuhio)i of the Jeirs from EiKjlaml in 1290. G7 

men have unblessed intercourse with Jewisli women and 
Christian women with Je^vish 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 ofl'end 
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 e\al 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 tliis dis- 
ease may be checked by proper remedies. So may you 
have your rew^ard 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 lie had special reasons 
for paying heed to the words of Honorius IV., on whose 
money-lenders he w^as dependent for loans, and whose 

E 2 



68 The Ej-puhim of the Jews from England in 1290. 

pivdocossor hail, by tlie c'xercise of liis spiritual powers, 
secured for liiin a tt'utli part of the goods of the clergy of 
England.^ From the moment of the issue of the bull, the 
policy inaugurated b}?^ the statute of 1275 was doomed. 
For of tlie two alternatives that Edward would have had 
before hin\ 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 coulil 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.^ 
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.^ 

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 



' Rymer, I., 560-1. 

* Edward left England in May, 1280. Florence of War center (English 
HLstorical Society), II., 2.36. 

' Willelmi liixhavgcr Clirnvicn et Avmilett (Rolls Series). 1 16 ; Ilorct 
J/utori/irujii (Rolls Serie.<*), III., 70-71. 



The Ed-puUion of the Jtivs front Enijlaud in 12'JU. GU 

of the hopelessness of his efTorts 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.^ 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 amoinit of spoil capa])le 
of immediate distribution. And, probably, some of the 
ecclesiastical members of the court felt, as his mother 
certainly did,- a religious hatred of the Jews and a religious 
joy at the prospect of their disappearance. 

XI. — 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^ 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 sherifls of 
counties, informing tliem that a decree had been passed 
that all Jews should leave England before the feast of 
All Saints of that year."* Any who remained in the country 

' Forty-second Rejjort of the Dejmty-Kecjn'.r of the Public Records, 
593 ; Forty-fourth Bcjwrt, 109, 29.5 ; Forty-fifth Report, 72, 1(13 ; 
Forty-ninth Report, 81 ; Calendar of Patent Rolls from 1281 to 1292, 
62, 193 ; Arehwologia, VI., 339 ; Madox, History of the Exchequer, I. 
225 w ; 230 h ; 231 I ; John of Peckham, Ref/istruin Epistolarum, II. 
619 ; III., 937 ; Rogers, Odfnrd City Documents (Oxford Historical 
Society), 208, 219 ; Tovey, Anylia Judaica, 200. 

* Graetz, Geschichte der Judcn (Second Edition), VII., note 11. 

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

* Tovey, Anglit Judaica, 240. 



70 The Erpulaioit of the Jeirs from Enylnnd in 1290. 

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

Every efFort was made by the King to secure the peace 
and sjxfety of tlie Jews during the short period for which 
they weni allowed to ivinain, and in the coui-se of their 
journey fi"om their homes to tlie coast, and from the coast 
.to their ultimate destination. The sheriffs were ordered 
to liave public proclamation made tliat "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 in 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.- These general orders were reinforced 
by the issue of special writs of safe-conduct for individual 
Jews.^ 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 Cliristians 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,* and Cok, son of Hagin, who ]3elonged to the 
Queen,^ 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.'' The treatment that they 
met with was not so merciful as the king had wished. 

' BnHliolomai de Cotton, IlUtoria Anglioana (Rolls Series), p. 178. 

* Tovey, Anf/lm Judaiea, 240-2. 

» Th, 241 ; C<ih-nd(tr of Patent RolU from 1281 to 1292, 378, 381, 382. 

• Oih-ndar of Patent Rolh, 379. * lb. 384. « //;. 232. 



The Expiihioii of the Ji'ic-s J'ruin Eiiijlamt in 12J>0. 71 

Many of the richer among tlieni enil)arke<l with all their 
property at London. At the mouth of the Thames, the 
master cast anchor during the ebb-tide, so tliat 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 to the river- 
side 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 
di'owned. The sailors appropriated all that the Jews 
had left on board. But subsequently tlie master and his 
accomplices were indicted, convicted of nnirder, and hanged.^ 
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.^ This act of mercy, however, called forth the 
censure of the Pope, and the Parlc))ient de la Chaiidc/eur, 
which met in the same year, decreed that all the Jews 
from England and Gascony who had taken refuge in the 
French king's dominions should leave the country by the 
middle of the next Lent.^ i\jiother body, numbering 1,335, 
and consisting, to a great extent, of the poor, went to 
Flanders.^ The only kno"\vn 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 / 'Englische or / 'Englais.^ It may well be that many Jews 

' Walter of Hemingburgh, Clironicon (English Historical Society), I., 
21, 22; Bartlioloma!U3 Cotton. Hi-sturia Angl'tcana (Rolls Series), 178; 
Annalct Mona.sticl, III., 362, IV., 327. 

- 0pm Chroideorum in C7i run ides of S. Allians, J. de Trokelowe, etc., 
.Annates (Rolls Series), 57. 

* Lauriere, Ordonnances des Rois de la France, I., 317, 

* Fortietti lieport of Beputij-Keeper of Public liecord^, p. 474. 
» Bevue des L'tu lex Juires, Vol. I., pp. 66, 67, 69. 



72 The Erpuhio)! of the Joes front Eiiglatid in 1290. 

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

The property that the Jews 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 com for wdiich the price had been paid in advance 
All feU into the hands of the King,^ 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.'* 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 ,^ could include tliree 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, 

' Graetz, VII.. 267. = Ihld.. X:,:,. 

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

* Johnson, Cn.stoms of Ih-rcford, p. 100 ; Madox, Flrmn Buiuji, 12, 
19, 23. I am not at all confident of the 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 (JLinxditwnc J\ISS., British Museum, Vol. 82P, 
part ;"), Transcript 4), Rotul'i Originalium (Record Commission), I., 73J- 
7iifl. * Papcrx Anijlo-Jcwhh Historwal Exhlhithni, p. 230. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from EiKjland in 12'J0. 73 

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.^ 

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

XII. — The Necessity for 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.* 

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, tlie 
Parliament voted a tenth and a fifteenth.^ But this can- 

• Rotuli Parliamentorum, I, 3-l:6&; II., 8a, 402a; StaUitcs of Realm, 1 
Ed. III., Stat. 2, § 3. 

- Tovey, 235 ; Prynne, Second Demurrer, 127 ; Pajyers, Anglo-Jewish 
Historirnl Exhibition, 21. 

' A list, not quite complete, of the houses belonging to the expelled 
Jews is contained in the Manuscript known as Q. R. Miscellanea : " Jews,' 
No. 557, 9 and 11 (Public Eecord Office). A list of persons who received 
from the King grants of Jews' houses, to hold at a nominal rental, is 
printed in Rotulorum Origi)uilinm Ahhreviatio (Record Commission) 
pp. 73'-7()'', and the deeds of gift are copied in full in Lansdoione MSS. 
(British Museum) Vol. 82(5, Part 5, Transcript 4. Nearly all the houses 
mentioned in Q. R. 3Ii.scellanea are granted away by deeds included in the 
Rotuli Originalium and the Lansdowne Transcript. 

< Madox, Etch. I. 2, 248/<, 258 f, etc. ; Tovey, 207 ; Prynne, 2«rf Demurrer, 
59, 76 ; Rymer, Faedera, 523, 598. 

* CJiro/iiea Mona.sterii de MeUa (Rolls Series), II., 251-2. Annales Monas- 
tici. III., 362 ; W. de Hemingburgh, Chronicoii (English Historical 
Society) II.. 22. 



74- IVie E.i'pulaion. of the Jtus fruni Eiujland in 1290. 

not liave been a bribe offered beforehand, for the writs 
announcini^ tlie decree were issued on the fourth day after 
that for whieli the Parliament was summoned.^ It is 
impossible to suppose tliat 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 tliem. 

The Expulsion was a piece of independent royal action,)^, 
made necessary by tlie 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, 
autliorities 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 ;- in 
another, as the result of the efforts of Queen Eleanor f in a 
third, as a measure of summary punishment against the blas- 
phemy of the Jews, taken to give satisfaction to the English 
clergy f in a fourth as an answer to the complaints made by 
the magnates of the continued prevalence of usury f in a fifth 
as an act of conformity to public opinion f in a sixth, as a 
reform suggested by the King's independent general enquiry 
into the administration of the kingdom during his absence, 



' Parliament was summoned for July 15tli ; see Parliamentary Paper 69, 
of 1878 (H. of C.) "Parliaments of England." The writs ordering' the 
Expulsion were issued on July the 18th ; see Tovey, 2-tO. 

- French Chronicler of London, in Riley's Citron ides of Old London, 
242. 

' Annalfl.i Monastici, II., 409. 

* Ih., III., 361. 

* W. de Hemingburgh, II., 20. 

* Chronlcle.i oj Edward I. and Edioard II. (Rolls Scries) Vol. I. 99 
('• Omnes Judaei . . . . o)»^e<ie»<e Rege Edwardo exulantur"). 



The Expiihio)i of the Jens from Eiigldiid in 1290. 75 

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

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 tlie 
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.^ 
But the bull of the Pope and the personal influence of the 
Queen-mother were ahke 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 tlie tliirteenth. 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 neighbour, or of entering tlieir 
social or industrial institutions. Isolation brought w4th 
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 

' Tlte Chronicle of Pierre Langtoft (Rolls Series), II., 187-89. 

^ Cum . . concesserimus KarissimiE matri nostrae Aleanorae Reginae 
Angliae quod nuUus Judaeus habitet vel moretur in quibuscunque villis 
quas ipsa mater nostra habet in dotem. . . Papers of the Anglo-Jcici.'<h 
Jliitorlcal Ejhihition. pp. 187-8. Forty-fourth Beport of the Deputy 
Keeper of the Puhlle liecordx, p. fi. Graetz, Geschichte der Juden (Second 
edition), VII.. note 11. 



7G The Kr/ui/sion of the Jciva from Emjland iti 1290. 

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.^ 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.- 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." ' 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 III.'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.^ The eulogist of Edward I., when he 
recounts the great deeds of liis hero, tells with pride and 

' Compare the treatment of the Flemings, who settled as weavers in 
different towns of Eng^land soon after the Conquest, but had to retreat 
to one district in Wales, where they lived under special royal protection. 
Cunninjyham, The Growth of English Industry and Cornmerce, 176 ; and 
see Gross. Gild Merchant, II., 1.5.5-(!. 

^ Jacobs. 14. 3 Ibid.. 107. 

* IIi.sf»ria .in;/loriim, III.. 70. =- Ibid., III., ^0\i. 



7% J Ezpulaion of the Jews from England in 12U0. 77 

without I word of pity how "the perfidious and un- 
believing horde of Jews is driven forth from Enol.nid in 
one day into exile." ^ And just as no punislmient that they 
can sufter is regarded as too heavy for thoir sins, so no 
story of their misdoings, whether it be of tlie nuu'der of 
Christian children, of insults to the Christian religion, or 
of fraud on Christian debtors, is too improbaljle or too 
brutal or too trivial to be repeated.^ 

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.^ 

Nor was there an}^ influence exercised by tlie higher 
classes to make the populace less intolerant. 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.^ 

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

' CJironides of Edward I. and Edward II. (Rolls Series), Coinmcndutio 
Lamentabilis, II., 14. 

* M. Paris, Clironica Majorn, V., 114; Annalen Mo/ia.stiri, IV., 503; 
Gesta Ahhatum Monasterii, S. Albani (Rolls Series), I., 471. 

' Annalcs MomistiH, IV., 91 ; JVor/alh Atitiquarmn Mixcell'iny, I., 331 ; 
Forfy-fiinrth IlejM'rt of the Diqndy -Keeper of the Pulllr liccurdu, 188 ; 
Be Aidiquis Legihns, Camden Soc, .")() ; Tovey, \'>C) ; Prynne, Second 
Demurrer, 118. ' Jacobs, 2f>. 

* W. Rishanger, Chronica et Annales (Rolls Series), p. 4. 

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

' Ilahn. Cr.^rhirhte ilrr Kitzer, III.. 3.->. n. 2. 



78 Till' E.v/>i(/.sioii of f/ic Jeirx fro))i EiKjhmd in 1290. 

nient of the Jewish prisoners who w'ere accuj-ed on the 
monstrous charge of having murdered Hugh of Lineobi, 
was a man who w^as held in especial honour by his con- 
temporaries as a scholar and " a circumspect and discreet 
man. ^ 

Thus the Christians were not likely to endure the Jews 
as neighbours and fcllow-w^orkers, 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.^ 
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,^ they worked at trades.* 
In Sicily, under Frederic II., some Jews were employed 
as administrators, and many more were agriculturists."'' 
In Rome, one w^as treasurer of the household of Pope 
Alexander III., and in Southern France another filled the 
same office under Count Raymond, of Toulouse.^ In 
Austria, they were the financial ministers of the Archduke,^ 
and in Spain, one Avas chamberlain to Alphonso the Wise, 
and many others w^ere in the service of the same king.^ 
In England, some Jew^s were attached to the Court of 
Henry III., and treated with special favour : others w^ere 
useful and valued adherents of Richard, King of the 

' M. Paris, Chroiiica Majora, V. .")17 ; A/males Monastici. I. 34.^. 

''■ Rhue dcs Etudes Juives, XVIII., 258 ; JSast Anglian, V. 10 ; Jacobs, 

es-9. 

^ Perrens, Histoire de Florence, III., 220-1, 226. Gregorovius, Gcsch. der 
Sffidf Tiinn.. V., 808. 

' Thomas Aquinas, Opu.sculuni, XXI. 

' Gufk'iTiann, Gesrh. den Erzirhungnwesens, etc.. II., 287. 

« Giidemann, II., 71 ; Hid. Litt. de la France, XXVII., r>20. 

' Gractz, VII.. !)7. 

« Ih.. 125-7. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from Enghoid in 12JJ0. 79 

Romans,^ and, after tlie proliibition of usury, others, as wo 
have seen, became corn-mercliants, and wool-merchants. 

But the whole character of the Jews, their religious 
beliefs, and their national hopes, were such as to make 
reiiollent to them those close relations with Christians and 
Englishmen which would have been necessary if they had 
entered into the feurlal or municipal organisations of the 
Middle Ages. Though there was no religious obstacle to 
prevent them from entering a Gild, still they could not, 
wathout 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."^ 
They did not speak the English language.^ 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 wnth 
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 w'ith which the 
stream of Jewish literature poured forth in the IMiddle 
Ages, showed how unfailing was the strength of the 
Jewnsh 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."* Among the English Jew^s, and in the communities 
of Northern France with whom the English Jews were in 
continual communication, literature, thougli less contro- 

' Hinjal Latfcvs (Rolls Series), II., 4() ; Madox, I., 257 «/ ; Rymer, Fadn-d, 
I., Sr.ti. - Jacobs. 2(V.). 

' Jewish Quakterlv Review, IV. 12, 5.")1 ; Hint. Litt. de la France, 
27, 485, 650, xq. 

* Hixt. TMf. (If Frinirr, XXVII., 27. (550. sq. 



■SO The Expulsion of the Jeua from England in 1290. 

versial and engaged witli loss 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, 
coninientaries and super-commentaries on the Bible and 
the Talmud, lexicons and grammars, treatises on ritual 
and ceremonial. The Rabbis discussed what blessings it 
wjis 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.^ The 
English Jews were strict observers of the ceremonial law,^ 
they made use in daily life of the minutifB of Rabbinical 
.scholarship, they drew up their contracts " after the usage 
of the sages," ^ 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 sorrov.^s 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 M^ho 
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 

' Jn^t. Lift., 43.-), 441, 4G2, 484, 487, 507, sq. ; Jewish Quartekly 
Review, IV., 25. 
« Jacobs. 2SG. 
' Arehernloijirnl Jtmrrtnl, XXVIII.. ISO. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. 8l 

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.^ 

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.- There Jehudi Halevi 
ended his days.^ 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.* 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 tlie 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.' "^ 

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 reawakened dreamers. 

' Cf. L. Zunz, Die Syiuigogale Poesie des Mittelalters, Berlin, 18.56. 

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

* Benjamin of Tudela, trans. Asher, I., 1G3. 



82 The ExptiLsion of the Jcica from EiKjJdiid in 1290. 

Without the ,privilcf]jo of isobition tliey could not live: 
;in<l if in Enjj^land the coninmnities of the Gentiles had been 
open to theui, they would never have entered them. 



The Expulsion of the Eni^dish Jew.s was an event of 
small importance alike in English and in Jewisli history. 
In Eno-land 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 gr6w from this time even greater than before.^ 
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.^ 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 j'"* 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,^ 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- 

' See the Tables in Thorold Rogers' IHstory of Agriculture and Prices 
Vols. I. and II. 

* Penizzi, Storui del Cummerrio e del Banchieri de Firenze, 17.5. 

* Papers, Anglo- Jew i.sJi Hi-storieal Exhibition, p. 211. 

* Ifofuli P(irli(i mentor urn, II., 33:2-:?50. * Graetz, VII., 101. 



The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290. So 

lenders had been.' 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 Iji- 
allowed to leave.- 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. Thf 
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.'' In 
Germany the blood-accusation met them as in England.'* 
In Spain popular massacres and clerical persecution were 
already preparing the ground for the Inquisition.'^ The 
time was still far off" w^hen 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 coul<l 
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. 

' J. de Trokelowe, etc.. Chronica et Annales (Rolls Series), 58 ; Rutling 
Ammls of the Coinage (Third Edition), I., 198-202. 
- M. Paris, CJironica Majora. V., 441, 487. 

» Graetz, VII.. 2G4-7 ; Depping, 228-9. ♦ Graetz, YII.. 181-8. 2.->2. 

* Hid., 163-4, 318-20, 3G3. 



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