top of page
< Back

A Jewish Family in Oxford in the 13th Century

Rev. H. P. Stokes

<plain_text><page sequence="1">a jewish family in oxford in the 13TH century. 193 A Jewish Family in Oxford in the 13th Century. By the Rev. Canon H. P. Stokes, LL.D., Litt.D. Muriel (1) = David of Oxford = (2) Licoricia [ = a former husband] Sweteman = Muriel Asher Benedict of Winchester Cockerell Lumbard = Flora la Blunde [widow of Solomon le Eveske] Lumbard Avegaye Cok Aaron Belaset Abraham (of Winchester) (of Oxford) "?-(of Winchester) (of Canterbury) SYNOPSIS. David of Lincoln, of Oxford, of London. [Various towns where Jews dwelt. Travelling from town to town.] Property in Oxford. " Dura manu" Talliator, Assessor. M.P. (1241). Divorce affairs. Muriel. Masters of Law. Intercourse with France. His death, 1244. Licoricia his second wife. [Jewish women as financiers (a) in their husbands' life-time, (b) as widows.] The Property. The King's share. Westminster Abbey. Children of David, and of Licorice. Licoricia at Winchester. Her sons: Benedict. His official positions. His family. His execution. Cockerell. Hebrew book. Lumbard. Their sons : Sweteman. At Marlborough. Asher. Oxford. The Expulsion. This paper is entitled " A Jewish Family in Oxford in the Thirteenth Century " ; but it must not be forgotten that at that period the head of a family at any rate was compelled by the limitations of Jewish VOL. X. 0</page><page sequence="2">194 A jewish family in oxford in the 13tH century. occupations frequently to travel from place to place, and that other members of the family had often to migrate to some other centre. So, in this case, although the leading Jew with whom we shall deal was known as "David of Oxford," yet on occasion he is also spoken of as " David of Lincoln " or " David of London " when he was engaged in those cities ; and again, in dealing with the members of his family, we shall find one son, Benedict, described as of Winchester, another, Lumbard of Basingstoke ; a third, Sweteman of Marlborough ; while the youngest, Asher, continued at Oxford and there abode in his (inland) breaches. This subject?of the connection of Jews with different towns? is one about which (as I have said before) I should like to hear some member of our Society read a paper : it would throw much light upon the commercial, as well as upon the family, relationships of the pre Expulsion Jews. Again, the subject of the travels of the Jews from place to place should engage the attention of some student. It will be remembered how picturesquely Sir Walter Scott describes the journeyings of Isaac of York in Ivanhoe. With the aid of Mr. Bigg's Exchequer volumes, vivid details of these wanderings might be given with more accuracy, and with not less interest, than in the pages of the novelist. Let me take an example : In the last year of the lengthened reign of King Henry III (1272) an Oxford Jew summoned one Ralph Le Walle to come to answer him touching a plea of unlawful detinue of chattels, whereof he complains that the said Ralph unlawfully detains against him a bowl of mazer-wood with a silver rim, but without foot, value ^ mark, which he delivered to Ralph by way of pledge for a horse which he hired from him, &amp;c. The said Ralph comes and defends the force, &amp;c, and says that the said Oxford Jew hired from him a horse for a journey to London, for 16d., which he paid him, and delivered to him a bowl of mazer-wood by way of pledge for the performance of the rest of the agreement made between them according to the custom of the town of Oxford ; to wit, that, if the said Jew should exceed the stipulated days, he should give the said Ralph for every further day Id., and the said Jew kept the horse for 12 days, whereby he was bound to pay I2d. for so keeping him ; and afterwards the wife of the said Jew pledged the said bowl to the said Ralph for 6^. lent by him ; and</page><page sequence="3">A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 195 that on a subsequent occasion he had the said horse at Wallingford for 10d., and there lost the said horse's bridle, value \d.; which moneys he owes him: and Ralph for these reasons detains the said bowl, and not unlawfully, and as to this he puts himself upon the country. The said Jew says that he owes the said Ralph nothing for the said horse or any other account, nor did he hire the said horse for the journey to Wallingford ; but that he made the said bowl quit of Ralph's horse, and owes him nought upon the said bowl; and he puts himself upon the country. Three months later a mixed jury of Christians and Jews held inquest upon the dispute ; the former found for Ralph, the latter for their co-religionist; and the question was further adjourned. But, like the Jew, I am wandering. I may mention that one of the Christian jurors bore the appropriate name of " Wander." I make the digression, however, purposely : because I want someone to deal with the subject, and because David of Oxford, whom I am introducing to you, must often have travelled from that University city, through Wallingford, to London ; though I think that his horse was not a hired one, and that the bridle he held was worth more than \d. The first reference to David is not a pleasing one : it occurs in a Charter, dated 6 July 1227, of Henry de Oyly to St. Mary, Osney. Henry apparently belonged to the well-known Oxford family which had founded the celebrated Abbey, and he seems to have fallen into financial difficulties and to have borrowed money from our Jew. The grateful Canons thereupon came to his rescue, and, by paying 300 marks, released Henry de Oyly and his lands. The relieved debtor, however, bitterly complained of the " hard hand " of David. " Quia dicti canonici neque ingrati neque illiberales erga me patronum suum in necessitate mea inveniri voluerunt, dederunt mihi ccc. marcas et dura manu David judei Oxonie me et terras meas liberaverunt," &amp;c, says Henricus de Oyly in the charter. What he said when he borrowed the money is another question. David held considerable property in Oxford. For instance, turn? ing again to the Charter Rolls, under date 9 May 1228, we read of a gift to David of Oxford, a Jew, and to his heirs and assigns of the house late of Aubrey le Convers, in the parish of St. Martin, Oxford, with the stone chamber, formerly of Isaac of Oxford, a Jew, father of the said Aubrey, which the said Aubrey had after the death of his father, which</page><page sequence="4">196 A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. house and chamber, after the flight of the said Aubrey from England, King John gave to Brito Balistarius, &amp;c, and which the present King (Henry III) on the death of the said Brito gave to Ralph de Rothomago [Rheims] who had demised them with the King's assent to the said David for a term of 5 years during his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to hold the same, paying yearly a pair of gilt spurs or 6d. at the Exchequer, &amp;c. Students will note that on the following day (May 10) the trans? action was entered upon the Close Rolls (see the published volume under date, pp. 48, 49) ; and that an entry may also be seen in the Fine Rolls (see the 1835 edition, p. 174, quoted in full by Dr. Neubauer in his Notes on the Jews in Oxford). In the latter record Aubrey is styled " Joscepinus qui postmodum vocabatur Ailbricus Le Convers." You will have noticed the allusion to " the stone chamber " ; and here again I should like to ask some member of our Society to write a paper upon the underground cellars of our Jewish houses?such still exist in Oxford, in Cambridge, in Lincoln, and in other places ; and curious details may be gathered from Mr. Bigg's Exchequer records and from other sources. Here again, also, it will be remembered that Sir Walter Scott deals romantically with the subject in Ivanhoe. The property just mentioned was situated in St. Martin's, Oxford. David held other houses in this parish, as we shall see when considering the disposal of his estate after his death in 1244. We are then told in the Charter Rolls (30 April 1245) of " the houses and lands in Oxford late of David a Jew which came to the King as an escheat after his death," and it is recorded that Henry III gave thereof to the support of the House of Converts which he founded in London. Details are given a few days later (4 May) in the Patent Rolls, where we read of a lease by Robert the Chaplain Warden of the House of the King's Converts to Nicholas de Stockwell of a messuage which was of David in the parish of St. Martin with the house close by (propinquiori) some time of Robert le Mignot in the same parish, and of the house of William de Yallibus in the parish of St. Peter le Bailey, which the King granted to the Converts by charter, as his escheats in frankalmoin. The exact position of the messuage just mentioned is known, being the south part of the present Guild Hall in St. Aldate's (formerly Fish) Street. The north part had been given to the City by Henry III on 18 February 1228, having come to him by escheat from a Jew</page><page sequence="5">A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 197 named Moses, the son of Isaac. It is then described (in the Charier Rolls and in the Close Rolls) as bounded on the south by the messuage of David. The last-named house, which, as we have said, was for? feited on the death of our Jew, was, according to Wood's City of Oxford (ed. A. Clark, p. 153), known by the name of " Domus Conversorum in parochia Sancti Martini," though this probably means that a revenue from it was paid to the London House of Converts. The subsequent history of the building till its absorption in the Guild Hall may be seen in the above volume. We may here deal with other property belonging to David of Oxford. Such was a house situated next to Pittance Hall, which hospitium stood by the south-west corner of the intersection of Greaj Jewry Lane (or Civil School Street) and St. Edward's Lane. Another messuagium is announced to us in an entry in the Patent Rolls under date 12 March 1253. Here we only quote the passage, postponing an explanation of the extraordinary details revealed to us as to the family relationships of David. It is the record of a " Grant to Licoricia, Jewess, late the wife of David, Jew of Oxford, and Asher (Aszero), son of David, and their heirs and assigns, of a house late of Roger le Viniter in the parish of St. Edward, Oxford, which the said David leased for her life to Muriel, Jewess, as is contained in a starr made between them." To David also had probably belonged the property mentioned in the following extract from the Fine Rolls, 3 May 1282 : " Licence, for a fine of 5 marks made by Walter de Witteneye, for Asser son of Licoriz de Wintonia, a Jew of Oxford, to sell to Walter a messuage in the parish of All Saints in ' la Boucherie,' Oxford, by the messuage of Hugh le Hore, unless the same be an escheat or the King have any right therein." Besides these references to the property of David, there are numerous allusions to his financial transactions. At one time he seems to have been in partnership with Copin, another well-known Oxford Jew. He is sometimes styled " David of Lincoln, a Jew of Oxford," and even simply " David of Lincoln " (see, for instance, the Close Rolls, 1230, pp. 440, 442), while once or twice he is called " a Jew of London " (ib., 1234). In the year 1235 (Patent Rolls, p. 99) he is credited with a " gift " to the King of ?100.</page><page sequence="6">198 A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. He held various official positions in connection with tallages and inquiries. See, e.g., the records of the Tallage Receipts in Cambridge in 1219 {Studies in Anglo-Jewish History, pp. 140, 240, &amp;c.); and the account of the Assessors, who went circuit under a Commission for the trial of coin-clipping, larceny, and cognate cases in 1238 (Rigg, Select Pleas, &amp;c, p. xxvii). He was one of those chosen to represent Oxford in the so-called Parliament of Jews at Worcester in the year 1241. He acted on behalf of Richard, Earl of Cornwall, when the latter was concerned with the affairs of Jewry ; and so on. It may be noted that in the list of those appointed to levy the Tallage at the Worcester gathering his name appears first among the representatives of Oxford, and that although the five others are uniformly described as Bonami fil. Copin, &amp;c, giving the father's name in each case, our Jew is simply styled 44 David de Line." This was in 1241, when for many years he had been known as David of Oxford. The designation suggests, of course, that his native place, or his former residence, had been the city of Lincoln. Of his con? nection with that important Jewish centre there is, however, no detailed record, though we shall see presently, in the allusions to his first wife, there are references to some Lincoln notables. As remarked above, the question of Jews associated by name with various localities needs investigation. I can only suggest, in this particular case, that the 44 David of Oxford " mentioned under date 1219 may have been an earlier Jew of that name, and that, when the subject of this paper left Lincoln for the University town, it may have been necessary to distinguish the new-comer by the reference to his old city. We now turn to the very curious question of his relationship with his first wife, Muriel, and of their divorce. In the Calendar of Close Rolls, in the year 1242 (on p. 464), may be seen the following remarkable entries : 44 Pro David de Oxon. Rex Magistris Mosse de London, Aaron de Cantuar et Jacobo de Oxon, Judeis salutem. Prohibemus vobis ne de cetero placitum teneatis de David Judeo Oxon et Murell quse fuit uxor ipsius nec ipsum ad uxorem ipsam vel aliam capiendam vel tenendam aliquotenus distringatis. Scituri pro certo quod si secus egeritis gravem penam exinde incurreretis. 44 Pro David de Oxon. Quia de consilio in Christo W. Ebor</page><page sequence="7">A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 199 archiepiscopo et aliorum de concilio R. provisum est quod de cetero nulla capitula teneantur de Judeis in Anglia, mandatum est predictis justiciariis ad custodiam Judeorum assignatis firmiter injungendo ex parte R. quatenus omnibus Judeis Anglise ne de cetero capitula teneant in Anglia. Et Peytevinum de Lincoln, Muriel quse fuit uxor David de Oxon, Benedictum filium Peytivini de Lincoln, et Vaalyn et Mosseum de Barbun Judeos venire faciant coram prefato archi? episcopo et aliis de concilio R. in octabis sancti Michaelis ubicunque fuerint in Anglia responsuri quare miserunt in Erancia ad Judeos Francise pro capitulo tenendo super Judeos Angliae. Et mandatum est predictis justiciariis quod non permittant David de Oxon a Judeis distringi ad aliquam uxorem capiendam et tenendam nisi de voluntate sua." Mr. M. D. Davis first called attention to these writs, sending an interesting paper thereon to the Jewish Quarterly Review of October 1892 (vol. v. pp. 158-165). We quote his translations of the above : " For David of Oxford. The King to Masters Moses of London, Aaron of Canterbury, and Jacob of Oxford, Jews, greeting. We forbid you from henceforth holding any plea concerning David of Oxford and Muriel who was the wife of the same. You are not to distrain him under any circumstances either to take or retain her or any other woman as his wife. Know for a certainty that if you do other? wise, you will incur grave punishment. 46 For David of Oxford. Whereas by the counsel of the venerable Archbishop in Christ, W. of York, and sundry of the King's Council, it was provided that henceforward no chapters might be held concern? ing the Jews in England : and whereas the justices assigned for the custody of the Jews were firmly enjoined on the part of the King to see with regard to the Jews of England that no chapters should hence? forth be held throughout England ; consequently these are to appear before the said Archbishop and others of the King's Council on the octave of St. Michael, wheresoever such Council may be in England, to shew cause why they sent to France, and to the Jews of France to hold a Chapter concerning the Jews of England?namely Peytevin of Lincoln, Muriel who was the wife of David of Oxford, Benedict the son of Peytevin of Lincoln, Vaalyn, and Moses of Banbury, Jews. And</page><page sequence="8">200 A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. the aforesaid Justices are ordered not to suffer David of Oxford to be coerced by the Jews to take or hold any woman to wife, except at his own free will." From these documents we see that Muriel had been the wife of David of Oxford, but that the marriage tie had been dissolved, apparently against the wishes of Muriel and her friends. Two at least of those friends?Peytevin and his son Benedict?were Jews of Lincoln, which suggests that the marriage had been connected with that city, from which, as we have seen, David had migrated to Oxford. Peytevin was subsequently (in 1256) connected with the affair of " Little St. Hugh of Lincoln," where his name is (in the French ballad) brought prominently forward. He fled after that event, and the King issued a writ to two officials, wherein it is stated : " Constituimus Vos Justiciarios Nostros ad Jaciendum pleniorem inquisitionem qui fuerunt de Schola Peytivini Magni, qui fugit pro morte dicti Pueri, et de quibusdam articulis dictum factum contingentibus." We must not linger on Peytevin or his " Schola " ; but, in spite of the late Dr. Jacobs' excellent article upon Little Hugh of Lincoln in the first volume of our Transactions, the subject needs further treatment. Nor must we now dwell upon the Jewish officials who are here mentioned, nor upon the question of Jewish divorces at that period. Mr. M. D. Davis, in his article, has some interesting remarks there? upon ; but again the subject requires further investigation. In my Anglo-Jewish Studies I have a chapter upon the " Masters of the Law," &amp;c. Let us turn to Muriel, the divorced wife. We learn, from an entry in the Patent Rolls, under date 12 March 1253, and already quoted, that David had leased to her, for her life, a house in the parish of St. Edward, Oxford, " as is contained in a starr made between them." As another grant was made of this property at the date just mentioned, Muriel was then probably lately deceased. She must have been an old lady at the time of her death, if she was the same Muriel of whose curious matrimonial experiences we read in the Pipe Rolls fifty years before. There we read that " Muriel the Jewess owes ?100 that she may have for husband Ysaac, the Jew of Oxford, as has been spoken of between them." But, though there is an echo in the two transactions, the Muriel of the beginning of the century was</page><page sequence="9">A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 201 probably a different person, as she was even then a widow, with considerable commercial experience. If Muriel resided in the house leased to her in St. Edward's parish? which was within the somewhat narrow limits of the Oxford Jewry?it must have been awkward for David and for his new wife Licoricia, who must now be spoken of. When the second marriage took place is not known ; Licoricia's name is not mentioned in the 1242 divorce entries, though she was probably married before that date to David, for he died in 1244, and there are two sons?Sweteman and Asher?who are mentioned as the children of David and Licoricia, Two other sons of Licoricia?Benedict and Cockerell?were doubtless the children of a former husband of this Jewess. This we may gather from the facts that Benedict had a son Lumbard, who succeeded him as Chirographer of Winchester in 1273, and would doubtless be at least twenty-five years old at the date of his appointment?which takes us back to 1248 ; so that Benedict himself must have been born before, say, 1227. The other son acted as attorney for his mother Licoricia in 1253, so that he was doubtless at least twenty-one years old at that date, and was born before, say, 1232. Of course, the marriage may have taken place years earlier than 1242, but the wording of the divorce-entries does not suggest it. The Calendar of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews does not help us much in this case, for there is, unfortunately, a gap in their records from 1220 to 1244. In the latter year there are many refer? ences to the recent death of David of Oxford. For instance, there is 66 a mandate [p. 72] to the Chirographers, that they have before the Justices, &amp;c, on Holy Trinity three weeks, all chirographs and tallies found within or without the Chest under the names of David of Oxford and any Christian." Again (p. 76), there is a " Mandate to the Sheriff of Gloucester, that he grant respite until the morrow of St. Mary Magdalen of a claim made by Thomas de Berol' by Exchequer summons of ?100 of debt due to David of Oxford, for that the King pardoned him 100 marks thereof, and David in his lifetime acknowledged that his wife received 50 marks thereof." There is a long list (pp. 76-78) of debts paid or disputed in connection with the estate: Walter Long, e.g., pays 205.; Nicholas de Ardern " owes ?10, touching which he</page><page sequence="10">202 A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. produces a starr of payment made to the said David written in the hand of his nephew and a tally written in the hands of the chirographers in witness of the same " ; Thomas de Charlecote (again we are in Shakespeare's country) is " granted respite of demand of debt to David of Oxford, for that he produced a starr of acquittance of the debt, and also a chirograph of jewels delivered to the said Jew on account of the said debt." It will have been noticed from the entry quoted above as to Thomas de Berol' that Licoricia (for she is doubtless the wife referred to) was, like Muriel had been, engaged in commercial transactions on behalf of her husband. After his death her hands were very full, as we learn from many records in the Plea Rolls. This may be seen from the following paragraphs quoted from an address which I read some time since before this Society. The repeti? tion may be excused, in order that this paper may be complete in itself. Licoricia, on her husband's death in 1244, was enormously taxed before she could claim the family property. Madox (History of the Exchequer, i. p. 247) says : " King Henry III commanded the Barons to commit Licoricia, widow of David the Jew of Oxford, with all David's chattels and securities, to six of the richer and discreter Jews of England willing or unwilling : they to answer to the King a fine of 5000 marks entered into by her for her husband's chattels, &amp;c," except, as Madox adds (in a note, but not in the text), three books retained for royal use. To quote again from the author of the History of the Exchequer : " King Henry III gave towards the fabric of West? minster Church ?2591 ; and appointed a private exchequer (or Chest) for the receipt and management thereof, &amp;c." But when we turn to the corresponding Patent Rolls (1246, p. 478) we find that the money was a forced contribution from Licoricia. Thus the King's benefaction appears in a different light. But perhaps no Jew (I venture to repeat) will regret the fact that a pre-Expulsion mother in Israel had a share in our National Temple of Honour. Again in the Exchequer Rolls we find a gap of some eight or nine years after 1244-5. In 1253, when the record recommences, we find Cockerell acting as attorney for his mother Licorice. A glance back in the Pleas (i. 120) tells us that Isaac, the servant of our Jewess, had in 1250 been the representative of his mistress in the affairs of Thomas of</page><page sequence="11">A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 203 Charlecote, mentioned above. In connection with, this debt Licoricia herself appeared before the Court in 1253 against Thomas, son and heir of the above Thomas, whereupon the matter was gone into in great detail. Mr. Rigg (Select Pleas, pp. 19-27) gives a full account of this elaborate case, which illustrates such a Jewish transaction. In this record Licoricia is described as " of Winchester," to which she and some of the members of her family had removed. Other financial matters affecting her and her sons appear in the Exchequer Pleas at this period. But again we find a long gap in those records, the entries between 1253 and 1266 being lost. We then have further entries concerning Licorice, who is still residing at Winchester. In a case against her at Southampton in 1270, her appearance being required, " the Sheriff sends word that she is too ill to stir " ; this however is contradicted. This is the last reference to Licoricia, widow of David of Oxford, who must by this date have become quite an old lady. Her standing and importance are, however, proved by the fact that not only are Benedict and Cockerell (whom we have conjectured to be her children by an earlier marriage) alluded to as " sons of Licoricia," but also Sweteman and Asher (whom we have spoken of as children of her union with David) are also now and then similarly named in connection with their mother. We now turn to these sons, reserving Benedict (who was probably the eldest) till the others have been dealt with. It should be added that there was a fifth son, Lumbard, who has not yet been mentioned. He also is alluded to simply as " the son of Licorice." All that we know of him is that, in the year 1273, he paid the sum of 45. 8d. " for leave to reside at Basingstoke." Of course he may have been identical with some other of the Jews who bore his suggestive, but not uncommon, name. Cockerell, who, we have seen, acted as attorney for his mother in 1253, is mentioned in other financial matters on her behalf. An inter? esting allusion to him occurs in the Exchequer Pleas (i. 120) in a case before the Court at Southampton in the year just named. He offered himself on the fourth day against Bonamy son of Samarian (who like himself was residing at Winchester), touching a plea that he return him a Hebrew book, value 205. Bonamy did not appear, and the case</page><page sequence="12">204 A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. was adjourned. As we have seen, the Rolls are defective for some years after this date (1253); and so, unfortunately, we hear nothing further as to the valuable MS. about which these two Jews were disputing. This is the more to be regretted as, although it may have been a mere commercial transaction, yet on the other hand it may have referred to what we so much miss?a matter of Jewish literature. Cockerell had a protracted suit against the Prior of Reigate, who was eventually ordered to pay the demands to the said Jew or to his " nuntius " (ii. 231). Sweteman, or Douceman (who bore names which had an echo of his mother's picturesque name), was sometimes called, after her, the " son of Licoricia," and sometimes, after his father, the 44 son of David." He resided at Marlborough (and, for a while, at Devizes), his wife's name being Muriel. He was engaged in many commercial transactions, wherein he was generally successful. At the time of the Expulsion in 1290 he was by far the wealthiest Jew in Wiltshire?his name also appearing as the owner of property in Winchester. Asher is also spoken of sometimes as the 44 son of David " and some? times as the 44 son of Licoricia." Reference has already been made to two properties owned by him in Oxford. The first allusion is dated 1253, when his name is coupled with his mother's, and when he was doubtless a youth. This was the case of the house which David his father had, by an agreement, leased to his divorced wife Muriel. In the second case, recorded in the Fine Rolls under date 3 May 1282, he is described as 44 Asser, son of Licoriz de Wintonia, a Jew of Oxford," and is stated to have sold a messuage in the parish of All Saints in 44 la Boucherie," Oxford. Lastly, Benedict, the son of Licoricia, must be dealt with. It has been suggested above that he was the eldest child of that Jewess by a former marriage. After the death of his stepfather, David of Oxford, he moved to Winchester, as did his mother. Here he held various important official Jewish posts ; though he must be distin? guished from another Israelite, settled in the same city of Winchester, who was known as Benedict, son of Abraham, and whose wife's name was Belasez. (This second Benedict was, in 1268, Simon le Draper being mayor, by letters patent, under the common seal of the city, admitted as44 our faithful friend and special neighbour into full member</page><page sequence="13">A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY. 205 ship of the liberty of the city, and citizenship, and guild-rights in the Merchant-Guild, with all the privileges in the same liberty.") Benedict, the son of Licoricia, married as his second wife Flora la Blunde, the widow of a well-known Jew named Solomon le Eveske. There are numerous references to his financial transactions and to his official acts. In 1270 we find from the Plea Rolls (i. 250) that " Rosamund de Ernham was attached to answer Hugh Scot, attorney of Benedict of Winchester, touching a felony: to wit, that whereas he had seisin of the lands and tenements of the said Rosamund in Froyle and Ernham, as attorney of the said Benedict, for a debt in which the said Rosamund was bound to the said Benedict, the said Rosamund wickedly and feloniously came to the said house, so in his hand as gage for the said debt, on Monday next after the feast of St. John the Baptist at dusk, and broke the said house, and entered the same wickedly and feloniously by a window, and feloniously stole and carried away 20s. sterling, two carpets, value 2s., and two linen cloths, value 2s.; where? fore he, the said Hugh, raised the hue upon her and pursued her as a felon with the hue according to the custom of the realm " ; and so on. In 1272 Benedict appears as one of the Chirographers of Winchester, and shortly afterwards he represented the Jewish community of that city in the matter of tallage. In the following year, however, he moved to London, and his son Lumbard was appointed Chirographer in his stead. In 1276 he was nominated by the King as one of the escheators, and for the next two or three years he was constantly chosen to act in official positions. Then came a sudden change : he was imprisoned in the Tower of London; various charges were made against him; his goods and chattels were seized; and eventually, about the end of the year 1279, he was condemned to death and hanged. Henry de Dernegate, a merchant of Winchester, was heavily fined for concealing some of his goods. Still even in the year of the Expulsion (1290) there was property standing in his name. Brief allusion must be made to his children, although only one of them was specially connected with Oxford. We have seen the in? fluential position held by his son Lumbard in Winchester in 1273, but shortly afterwards most of the family thought it well to leave that city. One son, Abraham, was brutally assaulted, " so that his life was despaired of ; his goods being carried away. The case was ordered</page><page sequence="14">206 A JEWISH FAMILY IN OXFORD IN THE 13TH CENTURY, to be tried at Winchester by a jury of Christians and Jews, according to the law and custom of Jewry." Another son, Aaron, had already migrated to Canterbury, where he was appointed Chirographer in 1273. He was still residing in that ecclesiastical metropolis at the date of the Expulsion, as were his brother Isaac (or Cok) and his sister Belaset. Canterbury seems to have been more favourable towards the Jews than some other towns, and it was easily accessible to the Continent. One other sister must be mentioned in concluding?Avegaye, the daughter of Benedict of Winchester, who is mentioned in lists of those expelled in 1240 (as printed by Sir Lionel Abrahams) as residing in the western University city, the former home of her grandmother Licoricia, the wife of David of Oxford.</page></plain_text>

bottom of page