3: Despised among men: the end of Anglo-Jewry
Address: By the blue plaque on the western side of Old Jewry, near no.8; the plaque reads “The Great Synagogue stood near this site until 1272”.
Directions from the previous stop: Walk east about 200ft down Gresham Street, taking your third right which is Old Jewry. The plaque is halfway down as you walk south, on the left hand side.
Painting depicting the murder of William of Norwich
This is a painting on a rood screen (a partition between a church congregation and the altar) in Holy Trinity church, Loddon, Norfolk, showing the supposed murder of William of Norwich. Loddon is 11 miles from Norwich. The rood screen was painted in the 1400s, three centuries after the supposed events it was intended to portray; hence the Jews depicted lack medieval clothing, Jewish insignia or any indication that they are Jewish, such as beards.
(Photograph: Simon Knott http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk)
Extract from ‘A Survey of London’ by John Stow, first published 1598, published online in 2013 by Gutenberg.org, pp250-251
“King John, in the 11th of his reign, commanded all the Jews, both men and women, to be imprisoned and grievously punished, because he would have all their money: some of them gave all they had, and promised more, to escape so many kinds of torments, for every one of them had one of their eyes at the least plucked out; amongst whom there was one, which being tormented many ways, would not ransom himself, till the king had caused every day one of his great teeth to be plucked out by the space of seven days, and then gave the king ten thousand marks of silver, to the end they should pull out no more: the said king at that time spoiled the Jews of sixty-six thousand marks.
“The 17th of this king, the barons brake into the Jews’ houses, rifled their coffers, and with the stone of their houses repaired the gates and walls of London.
“King Henry III., in the 11th of his reign, granted to Semayne, or Balaster, the house of Benonye Mittun the Jew, in the parish of St. Michael Bassinghaughe, in which the said Benonye dwelt, with the fourth part of all his land, in that parish which William Elie held of the fee of Hugh Nevell, and all the land in Coleman street belonging to the said Benonye, and the fourth part of the land in the parish of St. Lawrence, which was the fee of T. Buckerell, and were escheated to the king for the murder which the said Benonye committed in the city of London, to hold to the said Semaine, and his heirs, of the king, paying at Easter a pair of gilt spurs, and to do the service thereof due unto the lord’s court.”
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