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A second Jewish community in Tudor London

Roger Price

<plain_text><page sequence="1">A second Jewish community in Tudor London* ROGER PRIOR Sixty-three years ago, the then President of this Society, Lucien Wolf, delivered his Presidential Address on the subject of 'Jews in Elizabethan England'.1 Wolf's researches revealed what had been quite unsuspected until then - a Jewish community in Tudor England which at its largest consisted of about one hundred people, most of whom were Portuguese Marranos living in London. Since Wolf's address two other Presidents of the Society have increased our knowledge of that community - I refer of course to the work of Cecil Roth and Edgar Samuel. In this article I shall try to show that London was also the home of a second Jewish community, probably as large as the first and, although connected with it, essentially distinct and with its own character.2 This second community was composed of royal musicians and their families, musicians whom Henry VIII recruited in large numbers in Venice with the deliberate intention of increasing the fame and splendour of his Court. The two communities would seem to have had much in common besides their Jewishness. Both came into existence at about the same time - the early 1540s - although some members of each community arrived earlier than this; both owed their presence in England, and to some extent their livelihood, to royal patronage; both were engaged in trade and had strong connections with the port of Antwerp. The areas of London that they inhabited overlapped. They lived in the same streets, and were married and buried in the same City churches. When they moved out of the City they settled in the same village. Yet despite these very similar patterns of behaviour it is clear that relations between the two communities were not particularly close. They did not intermarry; they did not, so far as we know, witness each other's wills or testify in each other's law suits. In all the records of the sixty or seventy years during which the two groups lived side by side only one case of actual personal contact, albeit a highly significant one, has been found. If the two communities did, as a general rule, lead separate lives, the reason was probably that their common Jewish heritage was not strong enough to overcome their cultural differences. These were certainly great. While one group was Portuguese, the other had its most recent home in Italy, and would probably have thought of itself as Italian. The * Paper presented to the Society on 13 April 1989. 137</page><page sequence="2">Roger Prior Portuguese were engaged in either medicine or trade; the principal occupations of the Italian Jews were music and the making of instruments. Above all they differed in their reasons for coming to England. The Portuguese were unwilling exiles, forced to leave their own country because of their religion. The Italians, whatever difficulties they may have faced in Italy, chose to come here. The former were seeking a country where they could practise their religion, the latter were leaving such a country. There is no doubt at all about the religious convictions of the former group; there may well be doubt about the latter. One difference can be seen in the marriages that they made. The first generation of Portuguese Jewish immigrants nearly all married Jews, and so did their children.3 The children of the Italian musicians did not all marry into Christian families, but many of them did, and even a few of the first generation seem to have taken Christian partners. As a result the musicians were quickly assimilated into English society; I think it would be true to say that the Portuguese Jews of the sixteenth century never were: consequently their numbers did not increase and they remained a marginal group. The musicians, by contrast, increased and multiplied exceedingly. The most successful families - the Lupos, Comys and Bassanos - established musical dynasties that dominated the Royal Music for more then a century. The non-musical descendants of the Bassano brothers became prosperous lawyers, merchants and (the richest of all) a government servant.4 It was, nevertheless, a long time before they were completely anglicized. As late as the 1590s some of them regularly spoke Italian,*5 one descendant still owned land in Venice in 1635;6 and they were certainly aware of their Jewish origins. In the 1590s, Emilia Bassano dreamed of Jews7 and entitled the book of poems which she published in 1611 describing her religious conversion Salve Deus Rex Iudaeorum ('Hail to the God who is King of the Jews'). Others were also aware of it. There is now the strongest evidence that Emilia Bassano was Shakespeare's mistress - the Dark Lady whom he describes in the Sonnets (1593-4).8 It is therefore interesting that in these poems Shakespeare sees his mistress as a Jew and dresses her, with deliberate irony, in all the old clothes of conventional anti-Semitism. He calls her Covetous' and a 'usurer' with a 'steel bosom', a cruel 'devil' and a witch. In The Merchant of Venice he allows us to make the obvious connections between the Venetian suitor Bassanio, the Venetian Bassano family, who were Jews, and the Venetian Jew Shylock, and I have suggested elsewhere that he did so in order to show a signifi? cant difference between the Bassanos and their fellow Jew, Dr Lopez, whose execution they could well have seen as a threat to themselves.9 138</page><page sequence="3">A second Jewish community in Tudor London The Jewish musicians survived that danger, as they had apparently survived Mary's reign without harm, and as they would survive the expulsion order of 1609. Their roots in England now went too deep to be easily severed, and their sense of Jewishness grew proportionately fainter. By the end of the seventeenth century the Bassanos were no longer professional musicians in London: they were landed gentry in Derbyshire. The readmission of the Jews had nothing to do with them. By then they had probably forgotten that it was a distant relative of Oliver Cromwell, Henry VIII's minister Thomas Cromwell, who had arranged the passage of their ancestors to England in 1540.10 What evidence is there that the musicians whom Cromwell's agent recruited in Venice were Jews?11 First, many of the musicians or their wives had names which are common among Italian Jews - names such as Simon, Vator, Bassano, Maiohn, Tedesco. More significant still, in some cases the musicians were reluctant to use their Jewish names in Christian society. The sackbut player known as John de Antonia or John Anthony was employed at court during the 1520s and 1530s, but he left no record that his true name was Moyses. This information only emerged after his death, and we owe our knowledge of it to his executor, the viol player Ambrose of Milan, who himself had another name, Ambrose Lupo, and who was certainly a Jew. Similarly an influential figure among the wind players is always known in official records as Anthony Maria, but in daily life in England his surname is recorded as Cuson or Cossin. Cusin and Cassin are Italian Jewish names, as is the surname Albert by which he was known in Venice.12 We must conclude that the names in court records are insufficient as evidence of identity. So many Jewish surnames occurring in one group are hard to dismiss as mere coincidence, especially as it is clear that the immigrant musicians formed a tight, self-sufficient group whose members looked to each other for help and support. Thus it is interesting to note that in 1542 when the sackbut player Anthony Moyses, who had been in England since at least 1526, was near death, he chose as his executors not the other wind players whom he had known for sixteen years, but four viol players who had arrived only eighteen months previously. It looks as if he knew that he could trust them, and a shared Jewish identity would explain this. There is in fact virtually conclusive evidence that the viol consort which arrived in 1540 - the first of its kind in England and only the second or third such consort in Northern Europe - was wholly Jewish, as were the replacements who arrived shortly afterwards. Let us consider first a member of the original consort, Ambrose of Milan, alias Ambrose Lupo, who served in the Royal Music until his death in 139</page><page sequence="4">Roger Prior 1591. As we have seen, he acted as Anthony Moyses' executor, and when the will was proved he recorded a unique and puzzling version of his own name. The clerk wrote 'Ambrosius deolmaleyex'. The first point to notice about this name is that in its ending it resembles the signature of the great Jewish diplomat and friend of Elizabethan England, Alvaro Mendez, a signature that Lucien Wolf reproduces in his article.13 Mendez signed himself 'sallomo abenajayex'. Ambrose's name can, I believe, be interpreted as 'de Almaliach', although obviously it can be written in other ways. Almaliach is a variant of Elmaleh, the name of a wellknown family of Spanish Jews which was dispersed throughout the Mediterranean after the expulsion of 1492. With such a name there can be little doubt that Ambrose was a Jew and acknowledged that he was. Nor was he purely Italian, as has always been assumed, but ultimately of Spanish or Portuguese origin. Indeed we now know this to be true of the entire consort; they were all Iberian Jews. This emerges when we re-examine an incident which for a time seriously threatened the small Marrano community in London. The story was reconstructed many years ago by Wolf and Roth, but it remained puzzling, and it is only the musicians who now allow us to add a few significant pieces to the jigsaw. Towards the end of 1541 Henry VIII received information that some Portuguese nationals living in London were 'secret Jews'. At this time Henry was anxious to ingratiate himself with Emperor Charles V, so he had these 'certain persons' imprisoned, and confiscated their property. Unfortunately his severity was not well received. People of influence - the king of Portugal and the emperor's sister, the Dowager Queen Mary of Hungary - made representations, and the prisoners were released. Some of those arrested were Portuguese Jewish merchants. But it is now clear that the consort of viols was also involved. Firstly, it is significant that the information which led to the arrests arose out of proceedings taken by the Inquisition in Milan, which had been the home of at least four of the consort of six (the Duchy of Milan was now under Spanish rule). Secondly, Charles's ambassador in England, Eustace Chapuys, refers in a letter to the 'New Christians who came from Portugal' who are in prison. He then makes a rather sinister remark, probably intended as a joke: 'Most likely,' he writes, 'however well they may sing, they will not be able to fly away from their cages without leaving some of their feathers behind'. What does he mean by 'feathers'? Their rich clothes? Personal property? Or is this a reference to ill treatment? By comparing the prisoners to songbirds ('however well they may sing'), Chapuys implies that they were singers or musicians. Until 140</page><page sequence="5">A second Jewish community in Tudor London now this interpretation has always run up against the problem that no Jewish or Portuguese musicians were known of in Tudor England. We now know that there was at least one such musician - Ambrose Almaliach, alias Lupo. In the light of these facts, the behaviour of Ambrose and his colleagues at this time is extremely interesting. In January 1542 the songbirds - the Portuguese New Christians - were in prison. In June of that year the viol consort, which had arrived only two years earlier, left the country. The reason they went is not recorded: 'They be gon in to their contrey'. They did not return for nearly eighteen months, during which time a special commission had been inquiring into the religious faith of the Portuguese. They returned only after the commission had reached a favourable verdict. Finally, Chapuys refers to the birds losing their feathers. Two or three months after this remark, two of the royal musicians were dead. One, Romano of Milan, was a member of the viol consort. The other was the sackbut Anthony Moyses, whose will was witnessed by four of the viols. It was witnessed by them, and not by his colleagues in the wind band, because, I suggest, he and the viols were fellow prisoners. The other wind-players were Jews, but they were Italian, not Iberian, and hence not pursued by the officers of the Inquisition in Milan. Romano and Anthony surely owed their deaths to their imprisonment, and their colleagues then fled abroad until they were sure that it was safe to return. It is particularly relevant that it was at this moment that Ambrose called himself and his dead friend by their true Jewish names. Clearly if he was already in prison for being a Jew he had nothing to lose by admitting it. When the viol consort returned to England in 1543 they brought with them a replacement for Romano. His name was Francis of Vicenza (or Venice). He lived near Ambrose Lupo, and he too was quite certainly Jewish, because he used an alternative name which is written as 'Kellim' or 'Kellern' ('Kellim' is probably the more accurate). Kellim is a highly appropriate name for a musician. It is a Hebrew word meaning 'vessels' or 'things', but can also have the musical sense of 'instruments', and as an extension of this it can be used of the instrument-like voice of the cantor in a synagogue. Francis may have chosen it for himself because he not only played instruments, but was a dealer in them and probably also made them. In 1565 he received payment from Queen Elizabeth 'for a set of vyalls by him sold to us'.14 As we shall see, he was in the habit of inventing names for himself. I now want to look in more detail at both Francis and Ambrose Lupo, because I believe that these two violinists, who were close neighbours as 141</page><page sequence="6">Roger Prior well as colleagues, had a history which was significantly different from that of their fellow Jews in London. One sign of this is that they lived in a different part of the City. While nearly all the other Jews that we know of lived on the east side of the City, in Duke's Place, Mark Lane and the Minories, Kellim and Lupo lived on their own in the northwest, in the parish of St Alphage within Cripplegate, later called St Alphage London Wall. We know exactly where Ambrose lived - in the middle house of three that adjoined the church, a house that he rented from the churchwardens for many years.15 Francis Kellim lived close by in Philip Lane, or more precisely in New Alley, which presumably ran into Philip Lane.16 They had other characteristics that set them apart from the rest. Both used a remarkable number of alternative names. The use of aliases was common among Jews who spent much of their time in a Christian milieu, but Lupo and Kellim have no parallel among their London Jewish contemporaries for the sheer number and variety of the names they adopted. Through these names they revealed their Jewish identity far more openly than their fellow musicians did. To take Francis Kellim first, in the parish records we find him recorded not only as Kellim, but also as 'Francis Kener' and 'Francis Kennytt'.17 To the parish constables who wrote down details of the foreigners in London he gave the name 'Kennyth' (a variant of Kennytt) and two others: 'Francis Francisco' and 'Francis Hithcoke'.18 It is worth noting that he was only called 'de Vicenza' in Court records: he never used this name in less formal situations. Names, an important part of our identity, have added meaning when they are chosen by those who bear them. What meaning did Francis give to these four new names: Kener, Kennytt, Hithcoke and Francisco? First, 'Kener'. We have seen that his name Kellim is probably the Hebrew word for instruments - an appropriate name if he was, as seems likely, a maker of viols. On the same principle I suggest that 'Kener' is simply an attempt by English speakers to reproduce the Hebrew word kinnor. Short i and e were very close in Elizabethan pronunciation, as they are today. Just as kelim is Hebrew for 'instruments', so kinnor means a stringed instrument, and in particular the harp of David. This does not necessarily mean that Francis made harps, although he may have done so. In the view of some scholars kinnor is a general term for instruments of the string family. In modern Hebrew it means 'violin'.19It seems likely then that Francis chose this name for the same reasons that he called himself 'Kellim': he was identifying himself with the stringed instruments that he played and, as is now even more likely, also made. 142</page><page sequence="7">A second Jewish community in Tudor London The name 'Hithcoke' looks puzzling at first, but can also be explained. 'Hitchcock' was commonly used as an English version of the Hebrew name Yitzchaq, or Isaac.20 Francis's name may therefore have been Isaac, and this in turn may explain his choice of the Christian name Francis. There is at least one other example of a Sephardic Isaac assuming the name Francisco in Italy.21 Francis Francisco therefore may be the same name as Francis Hithcoke. Only one name remains unexplained, that is 'Kennytt' or 'Kennyth'. I have little doubt that this too has a Hebrew origin, but so far I have not been able to identify it with confidence. In view of the varied pronunciation of Hebrew in Europe and the common English confusion of i and e, it may represent another Hebrew word with strong musical associations, kinot, meaning 'lamentations'. I now turn to Kellim's neighbour and colleague, Ambrose Lupo.22 He too had the 'diversity of names' which is, according to Salo Baron, typical of sixteenth-century Portuguese Jews.23 He began as Ambrose of Milan, but by 1559 he is Ambrose Lupo in official documents, and this was the surname that he and his family most commonly used. Once, as we have seen, he called himself de Almaliach. Ambrose was well known in his parish. He was a royal servant; he lived near the church; and he was one of the richer parishioners, who left money to the poor in his will.24 To his English neighbours he and his family were usually Lupo, but for a period of ten years, between 1567 and 1576, they called themselves by another name which is found in several forms; 'Luck','Lucki', 'Lux' and possibly 'Lucksor'.25 Why Ambrose suddenly took this name and then no less abruptly dropped it is impossible to say, but he clearly used it habitually, since it was recorded over a long period by people who knew him well. For at least ten years the parish clerk and constable knew their well-to-do neighbour as both 'Mr Luck' and 'Mr Lupo'. Where does this alias come from? Lucki, with its variant Lux, is in fact a Jewish family name.26 It is derived from the name of a town in the Ukraine which in its Polish form is written &lt;tuck, but Lutsk by non-Polish speakers. Polish speakers pronounce it 'wutsk', but the first language of sixteenth-century Polish Jews was not Polish, but German or Yiddish, and they would have pronounced it 'Lutsk' with a German (or English) /. To English ears, unaccustomed to Slavonic surnames, 'Lux' is a reasonably accurate rendering of 'Lutsk'. Ambrose was therefore, I suggest, not only Iberian and Italian, but also in some way Polish. He was a native of Lutsk, a Lutsker, or a 'Lucksor', as the clerk's transcription has it. If he was Polish, it is likely that his 143</page><page sequence="8">Roger Prior friend Kellim was too. Their Polish identity may explain why to some extent they kept themselves separate and why they left in the archives far more evidence of Jewish consciousness than their colleagues did. How can we explain that the obviously Sephardic Ambrose, who lived near Milan, also came from Lutsk? This is not as difficult as it may seem. Lutsk had a large and prosperous Jewish community in the sixteenth century. It was a natural haven for refugee Spanish Jews, and we know that some settled there after the expulsion of 1492.27 Lutsk became in fact a centre of Sephardic cabbalism, and it is interesting to note that the Elmaleh family to which Ambrose belonged was also associated with cabbalism.28 Ambrose could thus have been born in Lutsk, the son or grandson of Spanish Jews who had settled there in the 1490s or earlier. He would have had a Sephardic identity, but also a Polish one. Nor is the move to Italy, which may have occurred long before 1540, surprising. The Sephardi newcomers to Poland were not wholly welcome to the existing Ashkenazi community and their opposition may have encouraged Ambrose and his family (which included his father) to move yet again.29 The transfer to Italy was natural enough, as Lutsk was on Italian trade routes. There is also a very early record which may link Ambrose to central Europe. In the Royal Household accounts for the year 1520 we find the following entry: 'Ambros de Millayn horse keeper'.30 It is possible that this is the same Ambrose of Milan who brought the viol consort to England twenty years later. We know, for example, that the Bassanos made an exploratory visit to England seven years before they finally settled.31 If we assume that Ambrose was aged fifteen when he kept horses he would have been a not impossible eighty-six when he died in 1591. Dealing in horses was a Jewish speciality and it was particularly characteristic of the Jews of Germany. It is thus consistent with an upbringing in Lutsk.32 But there is further evidence, which not only confirms the Polish origins of Kellim and Lupo but reveals for the first time the importance of Polish Jews in the royal string consort. Only one other royal musician, so far as we know, lived in the same parish as Kellim and the Lupos before 1600, and he too was a string player. He was certainly living there, together with his brother, by the year 1587 and probably for some years before that.33 He usually went under the improbable name of Rowland Rubbish or Rubbidge, and he was awarded a permanent place in the Royal Music in 1602,34 although he may have played with them before then. His association with Lupo and Kellim is unlikely to be due to chance or solely to his profession of string player, and although he has always been assumed to be English, it becomes apparent that he was in fact Polish, 144</page><page sequence="9">A second Jewish community in Tudor London from a parish document that he attested in 1587.35 Instead of signing his name at its foot he drew a picture: the head of a fish between two vertical lines. This pictogram points to his true identity and the Polish origin of his English name. The Polish word for 'fisher' or 'fisherman' is rybarz or rybiarz (pronounced 'rib-arch'). 'Rubbidge' and 'rubbish' are attempts to render rybarz in English. We know that there was doubt about how to pronounce the first syllable of his name, since he is also found as 'Ribrige'.36 Rubbish, therefore, was Polish, a fact which strengthens the likelihood that Lupo and Kellim also were. He was also probably a Jew, since Rybarz is a common Jewish name,37 and he was a close associate of two Jewish violinists. Thus, in the 1580s a small group of Polish Jews were living in the tiny London parish of St Alphage Cripplegate. If we include Rubbish's brother we can add four more to the very small number of Polish Jews living in sixteenth-century England. We must now try to answer the question: how Jewish were the musicians? It is clear that some of them quickly converted to Christianity, but did they or their children still think of themselves as Jews? Did any of them practise their religion in secret, as we know the London Marranos did? So far there is no evidence that they did, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. In the nature of the case we are likely to know least about those who were most devout, who did not marry local wives and who left no children. Francis Kellim, for example, whose knowledge of Hebrew seems so clear, disappears leaving no trace except his many aliases. About the Bassanos, on the other hand, we know a great deal precisely because they adapted to their new circumstances so quickly and in the end so thoroughly. The evidence suggests that at least until 1600, and probably beyond, all these musical families thought of themselves as Jewish, but they varied in their determination and desire to hold on to that identity. The Lupos, for example, seem to have clung to it much more strongly than the Bassanos. This is not surprising. Their forebears, like the London Marranos, chose exile because of their faith, and we might therefore expect them to keep alive at least some remnant of that faith. The family had resisted assimilation in Poland and Italy; and their assimilation in England was correspondingly slow. The many records that the Bassanos have left show no parallel to Ambrose Lupo's use of the Jewish names Almaliach and Moyses. The Lupos intermarried with the Bassanos, but in some significant ways their behaviour was closer to that of the Portuguese Jews. Neither of Ambrose's two sons, for example, married English wives. In Mary's reign, while the Bassanos were confident enough not only to remain in England but even to send petitions to the queen,38 some of the 145</page><page sequence="10">Roger Prior London Marranos had to leave the country. Ambrose Lupo remained, but his sons did not join him. During this period they were both in Antwerp, where they became members of the musicians guild.39 The elder, Pietro, married and had a child there.40 They eventually came to England, but only after several years of Elizabeth's reign. Another incident may throw light on the beliefs of the second son, Joseph or Gioseffo. C. J. Sisson pointed out that the London Portuguese were naturally reluctant to have their children baptized, and consequently no such baptisms are found in the parish registers.41 Joseph Lupo was married to a Laura Bassano, and they had a son, Thomas. The baptism of 'Thomas Lupo' is not recorded, but the baptism of a 'Thomas s[on of] Basanew' is, on 7 August 1571, and there are reasons for believing that this is Joseph's son baptized under his mother's surname.42 It looks as if Laura wanted her son to be baptized, as most of the Bassanos were, while Joseph did not. The Lupos evidently had extensive interests overseas, although precisely what these were or what they traded in, is still unclear. Ambrose's elder son, Pietro, travelled in Germany and had creditors there.43 Other descendants of Ambrose were sailors, and one of them painted a fine Portolan map of the Mediterranean which is now in the British Library.44 Another musician, Segar van Pilcom, a wind player employed by the City of London, shows clear signs of a Jewish identity and consciousness. He came to England 'for religion' from Antwerp in 1567 or 1568, presumably escaping death at the hands of Alva's soldiers.45 A second wind player, the biblically named Gomer van Oosterwyck, made the same journey at this time and was given a place in the Royal Music.46 In February 1570 both men were formally banished from Antwerp in their absence.47 Segar may have been Calvinist in religion, but two things suggest that he had Jewish origins. The first is his nationality. Most records describe him as 'a Netherlander' or 'born in Antwerp', but one record identifies him as Italian.48 This changes our view of him, since we now know that so many migrant Italian musicians were Jews. Moreover the name Segar could obviously represent the Italian Jewish name Segre. Secondly, he had a Marrano connection. A list of strangers in London for 1568 describes him as a 'musician, born in Antwerp, dwelling with Mr Fitzwilliams; and Tanakyn his daughter'.49 John Fitzwilliams was a protege of William Cecil and in Antwerp had been Deputy Governor of the Company of Merchant Adventurers. He too was obliged to flee the city in 1567. He was married to the daughter of an Antwerp merchant whose name, Nunez Roderigo, suggests Portuguese and Marrano origins. The Fitzwilliams named their own daughter Susanna.50 Their hospitality towards Segar is highly 146</page><page sequence="11">A second Jewish community in Tudor London unusual and implies an unusual personal connection. Segar left England in 1581. I have suggested that the family that showed least conviction in holding on to their Jewish identity was the Bassanos, but we cannot generalize too confidently about the extent of their assimilation. For it is they who, apart from Segar, provide us with the one known point of contact between the musicians and the Portuguese Jews. Augustine Bassano, who was a Court wind player and the eldest son of the oldest of the five original immigrants, lived near or in Mark Lane. In 1564 he was sharing his house with Erasmus Anes, a member of the well-known family of Portuguese Jews.51 Joseph Lupo, whose possible dislike of Christian baptism we have already noticed, was Augustine's brother-in-law, and was living with him in 1571.52 Augustine may have been in closer touch with Italian Jewry than others of his family, since he was born in Italy and his mother and some of his siblings probably lived there. We saw above that another member of the second generation, Augustine's cousin Emilia, was aware of her Jewish origins, and that Shakespeare probably thought of the Bassanos as Jews. He may refer to their coat-of-arms in the Sonnets; and this coat itself may have been a reminder of their Jewish identity, since it displayed a mulberry tree and silkworm moths,53 and their home town of Bassano del Grappa, forty miles northwest of Venice, was a centre for the farming of silkworms, a trade which Jews first introduced into Italy and in which they were heavily involved for a long time. Clearly the ancestors of the English Bassanos had at one time been engaged in it, and it is possible that they themselves were exiles from the Sicilian town of Catanzaro, whose Jewish silk farmers were expelled en masse at about the time when the industry was introduced into Bassano.54 In England the Bassanos chose to live in areas favoured by the Portuguese Jews. In 1552 three of the brothers bought a house in Mark Lane, in the east of the City.55 Hector Nunez also owned a house in this street, not far south of Bevis Marks, and closer still to Crutched Friars. Nunez and several other Portuguese Jews attended the same parish church as the Bassanos, and another immigrant royal musician, Innocent Corny, also lived in Mark Lane. When the Bassanos began to move out of London they chose to settle in the neighbourhood of Waltham Holy Cross, in Essex.56 Like Mark Lane, this too was the home of Portuguese Jews.57 The Bassanos' connections with the Mint are also suggestive. It seems that in this respect they were following a common European pattern, for in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Jews were in charge of the mints of several states.58 One of the original immigrants, Baptist, had two English 147</page><page sequence="12">Roger Prior friends, Stephen Vaughan and John Austen, and just before his death in 1576 he appointed them trustees of his estate.59 Both were closely connected with the Mint. Vaughan was the son of a former under-treasurer at the Tower Mint, also called Stephen (he had been ambassador at the Court of Queen Mary of Hungary when she interceded for the imprisoned Jews).60 Austen was himself a moneyer and probably the father of another moneyer, Richard.61 In 1584 one Edward Bassano married Richard's daughter,*62 he and his brother Jeronimo both bought land near the Austens' properties in Hoxton.63 Finally, by the 1660s, their relative John Bassano was himself a moneyer.64 What conclusions can we draw from this new material? The Jewish community in sixteenth-century England can now be seen to have been very different from our previous view of it. For one thing, it is much larger than we thought, although this is a development that both Luden Wolf and Cecil Roth foresaw. I have little doubt that the account of the community that I have given still does not convey its full size. It is likely that many more of the Italian strangers in London will turn out to have been Jews - certainly several merchants, probably some of the glassmakers and possibly some workers in the printing trade. The community is now not only larger; it has a quite different appearance. It is less homogeneous, and more complex and diverse. Nor was it at all marginal or introspective. Despite its obvious differences of culture and belief it was firmly established and well integrated into English society. Many of its members were confident and at home. 'We have as good friends in the court as thou hast and better too' was the boast of one Bassano when the sheriff of London, John Spencer, tried to arrest him. 'Send us to ward? Thou wert as good kiss our etc.'65 The new evidence suggests that Jews were not strange or unusual figures to the citizens of Elizabethan London; in certain areas, and in the Court itself, they were encountered every day. The Jews may have felt at home because they knew that they were wanted. Lucien Wolf writes that the Jews of Europe took a keen interest in the progress of the Reformation of England.66 We now know that reformed England was equally interested in them. Henry VIH's agent in Venice, Edmond Harvel, undoubtedly knew the identity of the musicians that he hired for the Royal Music. It seems clear that there was a consistent Tudor policy of employing Jews as royal servants. Elizabeth's employment of men like Hector Nunez, Rodrigo Lopez and the Anes family was not due to mere chance or their availability. In this respect, as in so many others, she was following a policy that her father had begun. It need no longer surprise us to find that the celebration of the Passover in a London house by a group of 148</page><page sequence="13">A second Jewish community in Tudor London Portuguese could be described in open court without provoking any reaction from the powers that be.67 If there was a policy of royal employment, there was also a policy of readmission. It is surely no coincidence that two quite separate groups of Jews - one from Italy and one from Portugal - came to settle in England at the same time, around 1540, and that this settlement coincided with the foundation of Chairs of Hebrew at Oxford and Cambridge. It looks as if a decision had been taken to encourage Jewish immigration. Perhaps we should think of a tacit readmission in 1540, long before the overt one of 1656. We can now begin to appreciate the full extent of the Jewish contribution to sixteenth-century England. Henry VIII deliberately hired foreign musicians to raise the standard of music at his Court. After 1540 the majority of these musicians were Jews. Moreover the two most artistically advanced elements in the Royal Music, the recorder and viol/violin consorts, were entirely Jewish. It is clear that during this 'golden age' of English music the best instrumentalists in the country were Jews. The new information also casts an ironic sidelight on the events surrounding the readmission of 1656. One of the most virulent opponents of that readmission was the anti-Semitic pamphleteer Thomas Violet, the first recorded visitor to the Creechurch Lane synagogue. We now know that Violet was himself the grandson of one of the royal musicians, William Daman, a wind player and composer of music for the psalms.68 Daman came from Li?ge, and is said to have been born there, but he was clearly of Italian parentage. He belonged to the Italian church, identified himself as Italian and called himself Gulielmo.69 His surname, which is also written 'de Man' and 'de Ammanno', is close to the Italian Jewish names Amman, Mann and della Mann. Daman was a colleague and friend of the Bassanos. After his death his daughter Elizabeth married the royal musician Lodovico Bassano,70 and Lodovico seems to have taken responsibility for Daman's widow and family. Taken together these facts suggest that Daman was, like the Bassanos, of Italian Jewish origin. If so, Thomas Violet's intense dislike of Jews, reflecting also an intense interest in them, may have derived from his knowledge of his own Jewish descent, for his mother Sara was William Daman's daughter. The new discoveries have implications which extend far beyond this country. In particular they throw light on the part played by Jews in Renaissance music. The Jewish musicians who came to England were practitioners of the highest standard. Harvel wrote to Cromwell that the Bassanos were 'esteemed above all other in this city in their virtue'. The 149</page><page sequence="14">Roger Prior king would enjoy, he wrote, 'music comparable with any other prince, or perchance better'.71 The instruments that they made had a European reputation. They were sought by great collectors such as the Fuggers,72 and were especially ordered for Spanish cathedrals.73 Excellence of this kind does not spring from a vacuum. It is the product of a vigorous tradition and a large pool of skilled performers and craftsmen. Given the nature of their society, these players and craftsmen must themselves have been Jews. The natural conclusion is that Jews played a far larger part in Renaissance music than has hitherto been realized. The origins of the viol, for example, can be traced to late-fifteenth-century Spain.74 Its subsequent development, however, took place in Italy. The violin, too, is 'conspicuous by its absence [in Spain] in the sixteenth century'.75 Yet Ambrose Lupo was Iberian, and he and his fellow viol players were referred to as the 'New Christians who came from Portugal'. These anomalies are most easily explained by the hypothesis that the viol was first developed in Spain by Jewish craftsmen who were forced to leave before 1492 and took their skills with them to Italy and Poland. The Jewish identity of the royal viol consort is then precisely what we should expect. If this theory is correct, it is likely that the violin too was the creation of Jewish musicians, and the name of the Amati (Haviv) family of violin makers is consistent with this and with the theory of Iberian origin. Once arrived in Italy the Jewish musical skills would have been quickly passed on to Gentiles, but Jews may have remembered what they had contributed to Christian society. In the sixteenth century several Jewish scholars claimed that the art of music was a Jewish discovery. As one of them put it: 'What does the art of music say to Christians? I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews!'76 In the light of the new evidence from the English Court this claim is easier to understand.77 NOTES 1 Luden Wolf, 'Jews in Elizabethan England* Trans ]HSE XI (1926) 1-91. 2 Some of the evidence is given in more detail in Roger Prior, 'Jewish Musicians at the Tudor Court' The Musical Quarterly LXIX (1983) 253-65. 3 For a probable exception, see Edgar Samuel, 'Passover in Shakespeare's London' Trans JHSE XXVI (1979) 118. Gomes Davila is said to be 'married to an Englishwoman*. 4 The principal (and comprehensive) source for the Bassano family is David R. G. Lasocki, 'Professional Recorder Players in England, 1540-1740' (unpublished PhD dissertation in two volumes, University of Iowa, 1983) particularly vol. II, 539-629. Among shorter studies are Eleanor Selfridge Field, 'Venetian instruments in England: a Bassano Chronicle (1538-1660)* Studi Musicali VIII (1979) 173-221; Roger Prior, 'The Bassanos of Tudor England* Jewish Chronicle Literary Supplement June 1979, 1 2; several articles by David Lasocki, including 'Professional Recorder Playing in 150</page><page sequence="15">A second Jewish community in Tudor London England 1500-1740,1:1500-1640* Early Music X (1982) 23-9, and 'The Anglo-Venetian Bassano Family as Instrument Makers and Repairers* Galpin Society Journal XXXVIII (1985) 112-32. 5 PRO SP 12/181, No. 48. Valentine Wood deposes that Mark Anthony Bassano was speaking Italian in 1585; Mark Anthony lived until about 1599. 6 PRO PROB 11/168, ff. 383v-384. Will of Jeronimo Bassano. 7 Her own statement; see A. L. Rowse, The Poems of Shakespeare's Dark Lady (London 1978) 144. 8 A. L. Rowse, Shakespeare the Man (London 1973) and other works; Roger Prior, 'Cracking Shakespeare's Passionate Code* The Times 12 May 1973 and 'More (Moor? Moro?) Light on the Dark Lady', Financial Times 10 October 1987 p. xvii. 9 Roger Prior, 'Shakespeare, the Bassanos and The Merchant' Jewish Chronicle Literary Supplement 12 June 1981. 10 Letter from Stephen Harvel to Thomas Cromwell, PRO SP 1/153. 11 The following account is largely based on Prior, 'Jewish Musicians' (see n. 2). 12 Archivio di Stato, Venice, Notarile Atti, Notaio Angelo da Canal, Busta 3097, ff. 88r-89r. In his will of 1572 he refers to 'his brother Franncisco Alberties children' (Archdeaconry Court; Guildhall MS 9051/4, f. 19). 13 Wolf (seen. 1)29. 14 BL Add. MS 5750, f. 64. 15 London Guildhall MS 1432/3, ff. 2r, 10v, 13v. 16 London Guildhall MS 1432/2, not foliated; lists of parishioners who have contributed to the wages of the scavenger and the clerk. 17 Ibid. 18 R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (eds) Returns of Aliens Dwelling in the City and Suburbs of Jjondon Publications of the Huguenot Society of London X (Aberdeen 1900-08) 1,358; II, 268; II, 316. 19 Macy Nulman, Concise Encyclopaedia of Jewish Music (New York 1975) 133-4. 20 Paul Levy, Les noms des Israelites en France (Paris 1960) 19-20,152. 21 B. Pullan, The Jews of Europe and the Inquisition of Venice 1550-1670 (Oxford 1983) 224. 22 For information on Lupo, Kellim and the viol consort, see Peter Holman, 'The English Royal Violin Consort in the Sixteenth Century' Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association CIX (1982-83) 39-59 and his forthcoming book Four and Twenty Fiddlers (Oxford 1990). 23 Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews (New York 1950-83) XIV, 274. 24 Guildhall MS 1432/3, f. 39. 25 R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (see n. 18) I, 358; II, 268; II, 316; Guildhall MS 1432/2, ff. 84r, 88r and other, unnumbered folios. 26 Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem and New York 1972) 11: 594-5. 27 Bernard D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland (Philadelphia 1976) 92-3. 28 Ibid. 102; Encyclopaedia Judaica (see n. 26) 6: 680 'Elmaleh'. 29 Seen. 27. 30 PRO E 36/232, f. 6. 31 David Lasocki, 'Professional Recorder Playing* (see n. 4) 23. 32 Jonathan I. Israel, European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism 1550-1750 (Oxford 1985) 95. 33 Guildhall MS 1431 /l, pp. 19,25; MS 1432/3, f. 28r, burial of the brother of 'Rolande Robishe' in 1589. Rubbish is also mentioned in two isolated entries at the end of MS 1432/3. Under 'Ship Alley' he is recorded as paying one penny towards the clerk's wages in an account which probably antedates 1586. On 10 March 1587 he made his mark when he witnessed bonds read before the parishioners at a vestry meeting. 34 Peter Holman (see n. 22) 48. 35 See n. 33. 36 BL Add MS 15, 649: 'Mr Rowland Ribrige'. 37 P. Hanks and F. Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames (Oxford 1988) 464. 38 Their own statement in PRO SP 12/47, No. 83. 39 Peter Holman, review of R. Charteris (ed.) Thomas Lupo: The Two and Three-Part Consort Music (Clifden 1987) in Journal of the Viol da Gamba Society 18 (1989) 44. 40 R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (see n. 18) I, 451: 'Peter Lopoo and Koven his wife'; Peter Holman (see n. 22) 43 and letter to the author. 41 'A Colony of Jews in Shakespeare's London' Essays and Studies XXIII (1938) 49. 151</page><page sequence="16">Roger Prior 42 Peter Holman (see n. 39) 45. 43 BL Cotton MS Titus B VII131. 44 BL Add. MS 10041. 45 R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (see n. 18) III, 334. 46 Ibid. 1,451; II, 126. 47 Edmond Vander Straeten, Les Menistrels aux Pays-Bas du Xllle au XVIIIe stiele (Brussels 1878; Geneva 1972) 152-3. 48. R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (see n. 18) I, 442. 49 Ibid. Ill, 334. 50 G. D. Ramsay, The City of London in International Politics at the Accession of Elizabeth Tudor (Manchester 1975) 25. 51 R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (see n. 18) I, 300. 52 Ibid. 1,434; II, 65. 53 R. Prior, 'More .. . Light on the Dark Lady* (see n. 8). 54 Encyclopaedia Judaica (see n. 26) 5:252-3 'Catanzaro*; 15:1038 'Textiles'; 16:1285: 'Economic History'. 55 Corporation of London Records Office, Hustings Roll 248 (30). 56 Among much other evidence, see the wills of Edward (PRO PROB 11/139, ff. 340 1) and Jeronimo Bassano (see n. 6). 57 Francis (de) Tapia (also Fawkner) lived in Waltham Abbey (PRO REQ 2/158/155). 58 Encyclopaedia Judaica (see n. 26) 12:63-4: 'Mintmasters*. 59 E. A. Fry (ed.) Abstracts of Inquisitiones Post Mortem of the Tudor Period for the City of London, Vol. Ill: 1577-1603, British Record Society XXXVI (London 1908) 145-6. 60 S. T. Bindoff (ed.) The House of Commons 1509-1558 III (London 1982) 519-20. 61 C. E. Challis, 'Mint Officials and Moneyers of the Tudor Period' British Numismatic Journal XLV (1975) 72. 62 London Guildhall Library, parish registers of St Leonard Shoreditch, 13 January 1584; PRO REQ 2/63/69. 63 Survey of London, Vol. 8: Parish of St Leonard Shoreditch (London 1922) 59, 66, 69, 71. 64 Vestry House Museum, Waltham stow, notes on Court Baron of Rectory Manor, Walthamstow, 4 March 1668. 65 PRO SP 123/173, Nos 25,47. 66 Lucien Wolf, Menasseh ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell (London 1901) xv. 67 C J. Sisson (see n.41) 38-51. 68 See the Vyolet family tree in J. J. Howard (ed.) The Visitations of London A.D. 1633, 1634 and 1635, vol. II, Publications of the Harleian Society XVII (London 1883) 314. I owe this reference to Mr Peter Scott, who has written an MA thesis on William Daman for Trinity College, Dublin. 69 R. E. G. and E. F. Kirk (see n. 18) I, 377-8; 1,442; II, 318. 70 London Guildhall MS 9221, 13 November 1592. 71 PRO SP 1/153. 72 D. Lasocki, 'Professional Recorder Playing* (see n.4) 24. 73 Beryl Kenyon de Pascual, 'Bassano instruments in Spain?' Galpin Society Journal XL (1978) 74-5. 74 Ian Woodfield, The Early History of the Viol (Cambridge 1984). 75 David D. Boyden, The History of Violin Playing from its Origin to 1761 (Oxford 1965) 41. 76 Moses Shulvass, The Jews in the world of the Renaissance (Leiden 1973) 242. 77 In collecting the material for this article I have been helped by a number of people. In particular David Lasocki and Peter Holman generously made available to me the results of their researches. Dick Danik and Marcus Wheeler of the Department of Slavonic Studies, Queen's University, cheerfully gave me Polish lessons. For a variety of help and advice I would like to thank Hugh Denman, Peter Goodwin, David Katz, Edgar Samuel, Peter Scott, David Wasserstein and Ian Woodfield. Much of the research on the Bassanos was done during my tenure of a Leverhulme Fellowship. 152</page></plain_text>

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