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Aaron of York

Rev. Michael Adler

<plain_text><page sequence="1">AARON OF YORK. 113 Aaron of York By the Rev. Michael Adler, D.S.O., B.A. Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England. November 13, 1933. " The king ordains that no Jew should remain in England unless he does some service to the king and that, as soon as possible after birth, whether male or female, every Jew should serve us in some way."1 The purpose for which Jews lived in this country in the pre-Expulsion days could not be more clearly expressed than in the words of this decree issued by Henry III. in the year 1253. As the records of the period demonstrate, the royal authority over the Jews was exercised A.E. The Jews of Angevin England, by Dr. Joseph Jacobs. Rigg, i., ii. The Calendar of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, (published for the Society by J. M. Rigg). Jenkinson, iii., do. vol. iii., by Hilary Jenkinson. S.P. Select Pleas etc., from the Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, edited by J. M. Rigg. Loewe. Starrs and Jewish Charters in the British Museum (published by the Society), i.-iii., edited by I. Abrahams, H. P. Stokes and H. Loewe. Trans. Transactions of the Society, i.-xii. P.R.O. Public Record Office. Stokes. Studies in Anglo-Jewish History, by Canon Dr. H. P. Stokes. M.P. Matthew Paris, English History (1235-1273). Translated by J. A. Giles, i.-iii. Ramsay. The Dawn of the Constitution, 1216-1307, by Sir J. H. Ramsay. Stubbs. Constitutional History of England, by Canon W. Stubbs. 1 Madox, The Exchequer of the Jews, i. 248, " Rex providit et statuit quod nullus Judeus maneat in Anglia nisi servitium regi faciat. Et quam cito aliquis Judeus natus fuerit, sive sit masculus sive foemina, serviat nobis in aliquo." Close Rolls, 1253, p. 312. This is one of thirteen ordinances about the Jews issued by king Henry III.</page><page sequence="2">114 AARON OF YORK. with the utmost rigour. Whilst, as Mr. Cyril Picciotto2 and Mr. Frank Schechter3 have shown, the Jews enjoyed certain rights granted to them by their royal master as against the nobles3* and the general population, they were at the absolute mercy of the king against whose demands they had no redress.4 Professor Ramsay5 points out that there were three attitudes towards the Jewry to be remarked on the part of different classes of the community. By the Crown they were regarded as domestic animals to be milked and utilised. By the common people and the Baronage, with de Montfort and Prince Edward at their head, they were regarded as wolves to be extirpated ; by the merchants who had commercial dealings with them they were respected and protected. Evidence of the close relationship of the king to " his " Jews abounds, and is particularly illustrated in the lives of the most prominent representatives of Anglo-Jewry. Aaron of Lincoln was the typical Jew of Angevin England of the twelfth century?as Dr. Joseph Jacobs has fully indicated6?and another Aaron, who was the son of Jose of the city of York, occupied a similar position in the following century in the days of Henry III. The number of references to Aaron of York in the records is so numerous as to allow a detailed narrative of his life to be compiled,?setting forth his rise, as chief capitalist to the king, to the highest position in the Jewry of England of the thirteenth century, that of Arch Presbyter, and his subsequent reduction to extreme poverty through the exactions of a merciless ruler. The city of York will always be associated in the annals of Jewish history with the massacre that took place in the year 1190.7 Before this disaster befell them, York Jewry, one of the oldest in the land, had enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. In the days of Henry IL, Benedict and Jose were the heads of the community. They were men of wealth, who, according to the chronicler,8 " had built in the middle of the city at very great expense large houses, like royal palaces, 2 Trans, ix. 67. 3 Jewish Quarterly Review (New Series), iv. 1913, p. 121. 3a ? The Jews are in my peace, and if I give my peace to a dog, it must be kept inviolate," King John (1201), Rotuli Cartarum, p. 93. 4 A.E. Introduction, p. xv. 6 Ramsay, p. 299. 6 Trans, iii. 157. 7 A.E., pp. 117-133", and pp, 385-392. 8 William of Newbury. A.E., p. 117.</page><page sequence="3">AARON OF YORK. 115 and there they dwelt like two princes of their own people and tyrants of the Christians, behaving with almost royal state and pomp and exercising harsji tyranny against those whom they oppressed with their usuries." The extent of Benedict's riches may be estimated by the fact that three years after his death his sons paid the sum of 700 marks (i.e. ?424 13s. id., equal to-day to about ?12,720) " to have the lands of their father and of his debts according to his charters."9 These death duties represented the one-third of the estate that was usually paid to the royal exchequer.10 Jose was also a famous money? lender, among his debtors being the Abbot and monks of York Minster,11 and he held many estates in different parts of Yorkshire in pledge.12 He had been a partner of Aaron of Lincoln13 and once purchased from his friend a silver vessel for which, after his death, the sum of 12J marks was still unpaid, which debt was collected for the king by the royal officials.14 Debts due to Benedict and Jose to the value of ?40 and 7 marks are recorded in the first year of king John,15 the latter being the payment for a palfrey, and in 1201 there escheated to John a debt of ?60 owing to Jose and Benedict and another of ?30 to Benedict alone.16 The wife of Jose was named Hannah17 and three of his sons are known, Aaron, the subject of this study, Benedict and Samuel. Whilst his colleague Benedict lived in Spen Lane,18 Jose's house was in the centre of the city in Coney (or Conyng) Street19 later called Via Regia, and was built of stone,20 both for comfort and defence, being described as "having rivalled a noble citadel in the scale and stoutness of its con? struction."21 This building was attacked and partially destroyed in the riots, but was later occupied by Aaron. 9 A.E., p. 145. 10 Gross, Papers of the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition, p. 192. 11 Ibid., p. 267. 12 Pipe Roll, 1192, p. 223. 13 A.E., p. 58. Jose is mentioned in 1176 in the first Starr on record. 14 Ibid., p. 143. Other debts are reported in Pipe Roll, 1191, pp. 24 and 223. 15 A.E., p. 195. 16 Ibid., p. 211. 17 Ibid., p. 126. 18 R. Davies, The Medieval Jews of York (Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, iii. (1875), p. 153. This article is a most valuable study of York Jewry. 19 Ibid., See Davies, Walks in the City of York, p. 49. " To this day, foundations of massive stone walls are visible upon that site." 20 Jews were the first in England to build private houses of stone. (Turner, Domestic Architecture, 7.) See my Paper, " Jews of Canterbury." Trans., vii. 63, Note 46. 21 A.E., p. 119.</page><page sequence="4">116 AARON OF YORK. The coronation of Richard I. on September 3rd, 1189, at West? minster Abbey drew representatives of the Jews from all parts, " who," according to William of Newbury, the chronicler, " feared that the good fortune they had under the former king might be less favourable to them under the new, and who therefore brought presents, most decorous and honourable, and hoped to find favour equal to the multitude of their gifts."22 York sent Benedict and Jose, who were in London when the mob attacked the Jews who had come to the Abbey, many lives being lost and considerable property destroyed. Benedict was seriously wounded, and, in order to escape death, accepted baptism at the hands of a friend, William the Prior of the Church of St. Mary of York, who had accompanied him to the capital.23 The following day, the king sent for Benedict, who had been re-named William, and said to him, " Who art thou ? " The wounded man replied, " I am Benedict, the Jew, from York." The narrative then continues, " And the king, turning to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the rest who had said that Benedict had become a Christian, said to them, ' Did ye not tell me he was a Christian ? ' And they said, ' Yes, sire.' And he said to them, ' What then shall we do about him % ' And the Archbishop of Canterbury answered him in a spirit of fury, less prudently than he ought, ' Since he does not wish to be a Christian, let him be the Devil's man.' So Benedict returned to the ' Jewish depravity ' " and, on his way home, died at Northampton, where he possessed property,?the chronicler stating, most probably incorrectly, that neither Jewish nor Christian cemetery would receive his body. Jose escaped to York where he lived quietly until the following March when a fierce outbreak of violence almost exterminated the Jews of the northern city. King Richard had left England for the Holy Land and a number of local Crusaders took the opportunity of destroying all evidence of their debts by slaying the Jews who lived in their midst. Their leader was Sir Richard Malebis,24 whose name was fittingly rendered in a Hebrew bond still extant by the words HSn rpfi "evil beast."25 They first attacked the stone house 22 Ibid., p. 100. 23 Ibid., p. 105. 24 Davies, I.e., p. 167; A.E., p. 388. 25 A.E., p. 77, with photograph of the Starr; Loewe, i. 119 ; ii. 300 ; Davis, Shetaroth, p. 288.</page><page sequence="5">AARON OF YORK. 117 of Benedict in Spen Lane putting to death his widow, several of his children and many other Jews. Jose's house in Coney Street was next assaulted and stoutly defended. Finding resistance to the mob could not further be maintained, by permission of the governor, Jose took shelter in the royal castle now known as Clifford's Tower. I need not narrate the details of the attack upon the castle and the massacre that followed. When the besieged Jews saw that all hope was lost, on the advice of R. Yom Tob of Joigny who was on a visit from France, they resolved to die by their own hands,?Jose slaying his wife and children, and the aged Rabbi putting an end to the life of Jose. Though the chroniclers26 assert that all Jose's family perished, his sons, Aaron, Benedict and Samuel27 in some way managed to escape, together with some of Benedict's sons. King Richard later showed his anger at the conduct of the Crusaders and the York populace in slaying the Jews and destroying their bonds by inflicting fines upon them, fifty-eight names of men who took part in the riots occurring in a list in the Pipe Roll of 1191.28 After this tragic occurrence, some years elapsed before the York Jewry resumed its normal life, the sons of Benedict and Jose taking the places of their fathers. Four years after the massacre, York is the only city of note that is unable to contribute towards the ransom of king Richard Lion Heart known as the Northampton Donum.29 Other towns which were involved in the outbreaks of 1189-1190, as Stamford, Lynn and Bury St. Edmunds, are also absent from this list, in which 22 Jewries collected the sum of ?1,803 7s. Id. for the king. Aaron became the head of the York community and married Henna (Hannah) the daughter of Samuel Cohen (Episcopus) whose father Leo was a York celebrity and a partner with Aaron in many of his financial transactions.30 Aaron lived in Coney Street, no doubt in the splendid house of his father that had been rebuilt after the 26 A.E., p. 127. 27 Samuel died in 1238, when his brothers Aaron and Benedict paid ?100 in estate duty, and were directed to allow the widow a suitable dowry, " according to the law and custom of Jewry." Gal. of the Fine Rolls, i. 315; Davies, p. 183. 28 Published by the Pipe Roll Society, 1926, p. 69. 29 A.E., p. 162 ; Miscellanies i. (J.H.S.), lix. 30 See p. 137.</page><page sequence="6">118 AARON OF YORK. riots and that stood near St. Martin's Church,31 which latter is still in existence, though not in its original form. The site of the house was later occupied by the George Inn, which was demolished about sixty, years ago and replaced by the present business premises of Messrs. Leak and Thorp.32 There appears to have been no Jewish quarter in York, at any time,33?as many rich Jews lived in Coney Street,34?to this day the central thoroughfare of the city,?and others were scattered in Micklegate, Fossgate,35 Bretgate,36 Feltergayle (now Fetter Lane) and near the cemetery at Jewbury. A royal decree was issued in 1278 permitting the Jews of York to live among the Christians, " as they were wont to do in times past."37 It was not long after the disaster before Jews re-established themselves in York, by the year 1204, the following being mentioned in the records, Gentilia,38 Peitavin of Eye and Isaac the son of Moses,39 31 Davies, Note on p. 183, quoting Drake, Eboracum, p. xxii, concerning a grant to the monks of Fountains Abbey of land with buildings situated between the Church of St. Martin in York and the house of Aaron. Tempo. Hugh de Selby, Mayor, 1230. Cf. Feet of Fines for the County of York, 1246-72, col. lxxxii (Record Series), p. 156, about a messuage " that lay between that which once belonged to Aaron the Jew ... in Cunistrete." 32 T. P. Cooper, The Old Inns of York, p. 12 ; Fletcher, Yorkshire, i. 205. 33 Benedict lived in Spen Lane (see p. 117). In his Later Medieval York (York? shire Philosophical Society, Report 1919), George Benson marks the Jewry on his Map in Coney Street, which is incorrect. This error is also found in Jacobs (London Jewry. Papers of the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition, p. 37), who locates a Jewry near the Guildhall, and in Raine (York. Historic Town Series, p, 59)?"The Jewish quarter or Jewry in York was a street, until recently called Jubbergate, running from Coney Street into St. Sampson's Square." Hargrove (History of York, iii, p. 387) wrongly derives Jubbergate, where the Synagogue stood (?), from Jew-Bret-Gate. 34 See list of houses at the Expulsion. Trans., ii. 105 ; Rigg, ii. 156. Jose le Joevene, whose son Isaac married Antera, the daughter of Aaron, lived next door to Aaron. (Charter Rolls, 1279, p. 222.) Henna, daughter of Leo of York, lived in Coney Street. (Patent Rolls, 1280, p. 380.) Benedict of Winchester had a messuage in this street. (Charter Rolls, I.e.) So also had Roesia, widow of Master Aaron of York. (Patent Rolls, 1268, p. 226.) 35 In Receipt Roll (P.R.O.), 1260; Jacob of Fossgate; also mentioned in Jenkinson, iii. 218. 36 Manser of Bretgate (Market Street). Close Rolls, 1237, p. 1. See Benson, I.e. 37 Close Rolls, 1279, p. 577. 38 A.E., p. 184. 39 Ibid., p. 211.</page><page sequence="7">AARON OF YORK. 119 who successfully claimed debts owing to the late Jose and Benedict, Isaac Blund and Hoppecol.40 The community was officially recognised in the report of a trial in the year 1208 when a local resident named Milo (Meir) was accused of the murder of his wife by her brother Benedict, and appears to have been found guilty.41 Its former pros? perity was restored by the year 1219, as in that year Aaron and Leo were appointed by the king to act as talliators (assessors of tallage) and were among the twelve wealthiest Jews of the kingdom delegated to raise money for the royal needs.42 Allowing that Aaron was about ten years of age when his father met his death in Clifford's Tower, he would be about thirty-nine when he became the representative of the local Jewry and by this time had acquired considerable wealth. His financial operations for the next thirty-six years rivalled those of his namesake, Aaron of Lincoln, of the previous century, and, in the course of his active career, he had dealings with clients in money, lands and houses in Nottingham,43 Derby,44 Leicester,45 Norfolk46 and Suffolk,47 Northampton,48 Lincoln,49 Hereford,50 Cambridge,51 Oxford,52 Bedford,53 London,54 Stafford,55 and in all parts of York? shire and the North.56 Hugh de Selby, the Mayor of York, rented 40 Ibid., p. 233. 41 Curia Regis Roll, 1208, p. 256; Select Pleas (Seiden Society), No. 103. Others mentioned in this Roll are Ursellus Medicus, Isaac Niger and Vives. 42 Stokes, p. 250. 43 Close Rolls, 1238, p. 48; S.P., p. 52 ; Davis, I.e., pp. 231, 237, 239, 280. 44 Close Rolls, 1255, p. 42. 45 Ibid. 46 Ibid., 1235, p. 119; Norwich Day Book, Trans., v. 255 ; Pipe Roll, 14 Hen. hi. 339. 47 Ibid., p. 48; Patent Rolls, 1244, p. 56 ; Rigg, i. 56. 48 S.P., p. 52. 49 Close Rolls, 1238, p. 63 ; Patent Rolls, 1244, p. 89 ; Rigg, i. 89 ; Pipe Roll 14. Hen. iii. 295, 301, 302. 50 Close Rolls, 1243, p. 39. 51 Ibid., 1253, p. 126; Stokes, p. 269, names of debtors whose total debt was ?605 ; Rigg, i. 125. 52 Rigg, i. 25, and Jenkinson, iii. 271 (concerning Balliol College). 53 Patent Rolls, 1244, p. 59 ; Rigg, i. 59 ; Hardy, Rotuli de Oblatis, i. 264. 54 See his relations with the Court, and his house in Milk Street, p. 120. 55 Charter Rolls, 1253, p. 431. 56 Davis, Shetaroth, pp. 361, 364; Rigg, i. 90; Close Rolls, 1236, pp. 315, 318.</page><page sequence="8">120 AARON OF YORK. a house in the city from Aaron57 who possessed considerable property in the Northern capital58 and the district. He took an active interest in the affairs of the local congregation, being a witness to an agree ment made in 1230 with the clergy of the Cathedral Church of York to purchase a piece of ground situated in Barkergate outside the city for use as a cemetery for the Jews of York and Lincoln.59 The district is called Jewbury60 to this day and is located on the western bank of the River Foss. Aaron on one occasion received a grant for his expenses from the communal funds,61 at the request of his local friends, who always chose him as their chief representative. He now came into contact with king Henry and the Court, and must have witnessed the elaborate celebrations that took place in York Minster when the king's sister Joan married Alexander, the king of Scotland, in the year 1221.6 2 In honour of this event, the Jews of England were called upon to help to provide a dowry for the young bride,?she was twelve years of age?a most unusual impost called an Auxilium, or Aid, which was part of the feudal system in which Jews certainly had no place.63 Seventeen Jewries contributed the sum of ?654 13s. 5|cZ. (about ?19,640 in modern value), York heading the list with ?164 (about ?5,040), of which Leo Episcopus, Aaron's wife's grandfather, gave ?27, Aaron ?14 15s., and his brother Samuel ?2 2s. 6d., whilst fifteen other York Jews paid towards the expenses of the royal marriage. Aaron's relations with the royal family now became very intimate, much to his cost. He therefore frequently visited London where he possessed a house in Milk Street64 in the Jewry next to the Cheape, which was the centre of the metropolis. His father formerly had lands in Catte Street (now Gresham Street) 57 P.R.O. E.401.7. (1225) ; Pipe Boll, 1230, p. 268 ; Close Boll, 1230, p. 356. 58 Rigg, ii. 156 ; Pipe Boll, 14 Hen. iii. 268. 59 See Appendix I., p. 149 ; and photograph p. 150. Hugh de Selby was Mayor in 1230. Davies, p. 186. The older cemetery mentioned would have opened after 1177 when Henry II. authorised burial-grounds outside the walls of cities. A.E. p. 62. All the Jewish witnesses on the document are found in the York list of the Princess Joan's Dowry; Trans,, xi. 106. 60 Cf. Trans, ii. 105. 61 Patent Bolls, 1244, p. 84. 62 Ramsay, p. 27. 63 Trans., xi. 92. 64 Patent Bolls, 1253, p. 172.</page><page sequence="9">AARON OF YORK. 121 which had escheated to the king after his death.65 Aaron and Samuel, his father-in-law, also jointly had a house in Colechurch Street, London, that lay between the Synagogue and the house of Aaron le Blund.66 Both in York and London, as a man of affluence, in close touch with the Court and the nobility, Aaron lived during his years of prosperity in a state of luxury. He rode upon a black palfrey known for its beauty and its gentleness which later was taken away from him by a Christian Justice of the Jews who presented it to his friend, Robert Passelewe, Archdeacon of Lewes.67 He bought wine from abroad and it once happened that he sent a certain Milo68 of Northampton,69 to France with ten marks and five shillings to obtain wine for his household,?perhaps Kosher wine for religious use. The Constable of Dover Castle seized Milo and his money, but, at the request of Aaron, the king ordered the release of both. Henry regarded Aaron, ?as he did all " his " Jews, as his personal property, which was to be carefully protected lest the supply of capital would suffer in any way. Throughout the whole of his reign, Henry, who was a notorious spendthrift, was in constant want of money.70 He engaged in wasteful wars, he was most lavish with his gifts to his friends, he paid heavy subsidies to the Pope, and his marriage to Eleanor of Provence in 1236 brought a horde of French favourites to Court whose mainten? ance was very costly.71 To satisfy the needs of this " brood of Pro? vencals and Poitevins," as Green calls them,72 the king made unceasing demands upon his subjects, and his Jews, especially the rich among them, like Aaron, were fleeced without mercy. 65 Jacobs, The London Jewry, 1290 ; Papers of the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition, p. 24. 66 Charter Rolls, 1246, p. 307. 67 Close Rolls, 1251, p. 9. 68 Milo or Miles is the same as Meir. 69 Ibid., 1243, p. 111. Cf. A.E., p. 269, about Jews drinking wine with Christians. In Close Rolls, 1280, p. 60, reference is made to " 7 tuns of good wine made according to the Jewish rite " sold by Master Elias the son of Moses and Aaron the son of Vives, two prominent London Jews, to a man in Gascony. M.P., i. 358, under date 1241, states that Jews would not drink wine unless it was made by Jews. Dr. Roth draws my attention to a note in Hisronot Hashass (Koenigsberg, 1860), p. 39a, which refers to English Jews buying wine in sealed bottles from Gentiles in Germany, by permission of Rabbenu Tarn (died 1171). 70 Cf. Ramsay, Ch. V. and VII.; Stubbs, Ch. 14. 71 Ramsay, p. 76. 72 Green, History of the English People, iii. Ch. 2.</page><page sequence="10">122 AARON OF YORK. The queen also claimed considerable sums from Aaron. One day in the year 1244 a corpse of a child was found in London.73 Upon this body certain ex-Israelites resident in the Domus Conversorum in Chancery Lane discovered some words written in Hebrew, where? upon a fine of 60,000 marks (over one million pounds in modern value) was imposed upon the whole Jewry. The contribution of Aaron towards this tax, the whole of which was in all probability never forthcoming, amounted to ?83 and half a mark, which sum was paid to the queen,74 together with the sum of ?76 due to Her Majesty for previous debts. Queen Eleanor had been brought as a young bride to London when she was twelve years old, by her uncle, William, Bishop-elect of Valence.75 This French warrior-priest, who is des? cribed by Matthew Paris as " a man of blood,?knowing more of temporal than of spiritual arms,"76 was adored by king Henry but was looked upon by the nation as the evil genius of the monarchy. In order to escape this hostility, in 1237, William went, laden with gifts from Henry, on a short visit to France, and, so great was his confidence in the king's Jew, that he entrusted the whole of his estates, which a generous king had given him, to Aaron in return for a loan of 900 marks.77 In the previous year, February, 1236, Aaron had attained the highest honour that an English Jew could receive at the royal hands when he was appointed to the post of Presbyter omnium Judeorum Angliae, Arch-Presbyter of all the Jews of England.78 From the days of John to the Expulsion, six men occupied this important posi? tion?Jacob of London (1199-1207), Jose of London (1207-1236), Aaron of York (1236-1243), Elias l'Eveske of London79 (1243-1257), Hagin son of Magister Moses of Lincoln,80 who, unlike his colleagues, was chosen by the popular vote of the Jewries (1257-1273 ?) and Hagin son of Deulecresse of London (1281-1290). In their patent of 73 Tovey, Anglia Judaica, p. 116; from M.P., ii. 21. 74 Madox, Exchequer of the Jews, i. 225. 75 M.P., i. 7; Tout, Political History of England, p. 54; Ramsay, p. 76 ; Stubbs, p. 53 ; Mugnier, Les Savoyards en Angleterre, p. 20. 76 M.P., i. 134. 77 Ibid., p. 49; Stubbs, ii. 54. 78 Stokes, pp. 29, 244; see Appendix II., p. 151. 79 Loewe, ii. 38. 80 Ibid., p. 82.</page><page sequence="11">AARON OF YORK. 123 appointment their tenure of office was to be for life, habendum tota vita sua, but this did not prevent the king from dismissing them when their value as bankers and tax-gatherers had come to an end, and a new source of revenue had been discovered in the Jewry. They were to hold their posts libere, guiete, honorifice, et integre,81 "freely, quietly, honourably, and entirely?so that no one may presume to molest or trouble them in any way." Their duty was to serve the king by presiding over the Jewish Exchequer which was a branch of the Eoyal Exchequer, supervising the allocation and collection of tallages and no summons against a Jew could be issued without their sanction. As State officials they were expected faithfully to administer justice on behalf of the king, to explain the king's laws,82 and especially to decide upon the validity of Hebrew contracts. In all things they were regarded as the accredited representatives of Anglo-Jewry in relation to the Crown, whose demands for taxes and subsidies passed through their hands to their co-religionists. They were thus secular officials, civil servants of a high degree similar to the Justices of the Jews of an earlier date. This view, which originated with Prynne,83 of the functions and status of the Arch-Presbyters, has given rise to considerable differences of opinion. Tovey84 endeavoured to prove that the office was ecclesias? tical?a Presbyter being styled in the records by the Latin title Pontifex or Sacerdos,85 and its holders were " High Priests," or, in modern phraseology, Chief Rabbis. In the same manner, he argued, as it was a common usage for a Bishop of the Church to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer or a Chief Justice,86 so the Chief Rabbis of the pre Expulsion days attended to the king's business in the Exchequer 81 Cf. the patents of appointment in Stokes, pp. 243-247. 82 S.P., p. 173 ; Gross, I.e., p. 193 Note. In referring to the fifth Arch-Presbyter, the words are used?" qui juratus fuit Domino Regi in Scaccario Judeorum ad Justieiariis Domini Regis fideliter consulendum et jura Regis exprimenda." 83 Short Demurrer, ii. 62. 84 Tovey, p. 53, following Coke and Seiden. 85 Ibid., p. 58. 86 In the reign of Richard I., Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury and Walter of Coutances, Archbishop of Rouen, were Chief Justices. Under Henry III., Peter des Roches, Bishop of Chichester, was Chief Justice and Chancellor of the Exchequer; and the Bishops of Salisbury, Bath and Rochester were Barons of the Exchequer. See Tout, Chapters in Medieval Administrative History, i. 184.</page><page sequence="12">124 AARON OF YORK. in addition to exercising spiritual functions over Anglo-Je wry. This view of the title of Arch-Presbyter was maintained by Dr. Joseph Jacobs,87 who calls them Dayanim, and Dr. Cecil Roth,88 and was strongly upheld by the late Chief Rabbi, Dr. Hermann Adler, in his Paper read at the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition of 1887,89 as well as more recently by Mr. Elkan N. Adler, 90 in his History of the Jews in London. Dr. Charles Gross, whose Paper upon the " Exchequer of the Jews of England in the Middle Ages "91 is a mine of information, does not definitely pronounce an opinion but appears favourable to the secular view of the office. The subject has been fully discussed by Dr. H. P. Stokes who arrives at the conclusion that the Presbyters were Government functionaries of high rank without any ecclesiastical status, and with this opinion I entirely agree. Aaron is styled by his nephew Isaac92 by the title 2 "Hin the Honourable, or a patron of learning,?which is a designation never applied to a Rabbi. There is no instance recorded of any of the six Presbyters acting as Rabbis, or taking any official part in the religious life of Jewry.92a Questions of Jewish law were referred to the Magistri Legis, the Masters of the Law, in all cases. When David of Oxford, in 1242,?at the time when Aaron sat at the Exchequer as the lay head of Anglo-Jewry?a friend of the Arch-Presbyter and often associated with him in official and financial matters,?was arranging a divorce from his first wife, Muriel,93 a royal order upon the subject was sent to three noted Masters of the Law, Moses of London, Aaron of Canterbury94 and Jacob of Oxford.95 When Elias FEveske was Arch-Presbyter, in 1250, the king authorised the Masters of the Law of London to excommunicate and inflict fines upon all who refused to contribute towards the 87 The London Jewry, p. 46 ; A.E., p. 203. 88 Encyclopedia Judaica, vi. 656. 89 The Chief Rabbis of England, pp. 253-288. 90 Ch. vii. 91 I.e., p. 178, etc. 92 On two tallies his name is given as2*H2n "?D2 pn2\ See my Paper on "Jewish Tallies," Miscellanies, ii, 11, No. A.10, and 22, No. A.2, where "pHK is an error for ^Tin. 92a The Arch-Presbyter received a salary from the Jewry and could sue in the king's Court for arrears. No Rabbi would do this. Cp. Rigg, i. 71. 93 Close Rolls, 1242, p. 464; Jewish Quarterly Review, v. 158. 94 See my Paper on the " Jews of Canterbury," Trans., vii. 20. 95 Loewe, ii. 111.</page><page sequence="13">AARON OF YORK. 125 maintenance of the communal cemetery96?the fines to be paid into the royal Treasury. When Sadekin of Northampton was excom? municated in 1275 because he would not suffer himself to be tried according to the Law and Custom of Jewry?it was the brother of the Arch-Presbyter, Master Elias the son of Master Moses, described as " Magister Legis Judaice," who reported the details of the case to the king's Justices.97 In 1277, an important point of Jewish law was referred to the Masters of the Law who replied that if a Jew were asked his religion and did not immediately declare his faith, he was not to be regarded as a son of Israel.98 The authority of the Arch-Presbyter was never invoked as he was evidently not qualified as a Rabbi to decide legal questions. Aaron's tenure of office lasted for seven years. In the year before he took his seat at the Jewish Exchequer at Westminster, a stately room had been built by order of the king,99 and at the expense of the Jews of England, on the west side of the Abbey, where the business affairs of the Jewry were carried on, under the supervision of the Arch-Presbyter. When he could not attend at the Exchequer in London, his place was taken by a prominent London representative, Jose, the son of Copin,100 who also acted for some years in the same capacity for Aaron's successor, Elias l'Eveske. During the whole time he occupied his important office, the king taxed Aaron and his co-religionists again and again. In the year before his appointment, king Henry had made an agreement with him that he should pay annually a sum of one hundred marks (later reduced to sixty) and thus obtain exemption from all tallages levied upon the Jewry.101 Outstanding debts claimed from him by Henry were also to be liqui? dated by instalments of ?5 a year. This arrangement was never honoured, for Aaron was compelled to pay both tallage and com? mutation to satisfy the demands of his royal master. 96 Patent Rolls, 1250, p. 72; Stokes, p. 53. 97 S.P., p. 88. 98 S.P., p. 96. 99 Close Rolls, 1235, p. 100. 100 Appendix IT., p. 151; Stokes, p. 245. Jose was not a Rabbi. He eon. tinued to work with Aaron after the latter had been dismissed from office. Rigg, i. 56. 110. Together with Aaron the son of Abraham, he was regarded as a leader of the London community. Rigg, i. 108. 101 Patent Rolls, 1236, p. 137; Madox, i. 233. K</page><page sequence="14">126 AARON OF YORK. The wedding ceremonies of Henry in January, 1236, had been celebrated with lavish splendour and had followed the marriage of Princess Isabel to Frederick II., the Emperor of Germany, when the penniless king promised his sister a dowry of 30,000 marks.102 A Grand Council of prelates and barons was therefore summoned, and, after much debate and protest, taxes were levied upon Church and laity alike which produced the sum of 23,891 marks.103 The Jews were not spared but were ordered to contribute a tallage of 10,000 marks and Aaron acted as the chief of the ten sureties for raising this subsidy.104 He gave ?22105 on behalf of the York com? munity and was later released from his pledge. To increase the Jewish contribution, a number of prominent Jews, whose names occur frequently in the records?including Garcia of Lincoln, Sampson of Nottingham, Deulesaut Koc, Dyaye son of Magister Benjamin of Cambridge, and Ursel of Winchester106?were directed to assess the arrears of 3,000 marks which the Jews owed and collect them within a month, '1 neither for hatred, love or fear of any were they to forego assessing every Jew according to his capacity to pay." When they had drawn up their allocation of the lists among the Jewries they were instructed to deliver the document to Aaron and his colleagues who were authorised to collect the tallage for the king. Earl Richard of Cornwall, later Emperor of Germany, Henry's brother, was about to join the Crusade to Palestine and it was con? sidered fitting that the English Jews should help to supply him with the necessary funds, Aaron and David of Oxford were therefore commissioned to raise the sum of 3,000 marks for this purpose.107 Upon other occasions, Jews contributed towards the Crusaders, paying 6,000 marks to Prince Edward in 1271108 and ?250 to the king's half brother, William of Valence, Earl of Pembroke,109 to enable them to join the Holy War against the Moslem infidel. 102 Ramsay, p. 74. 103 Stubbs, ii. 54. 104 Patent Bolls, 1237, p. 187. 105 Liberate Bolls, 1236, p. 244. 106 Patent Bolls, 1237, p. 178. 107 Close Bolls, 1237, p. 4. Cf. ibid., 1240, p. 47, where a further 1,000 marks were paid to Richard of Cornwall. 108 Ramsay, p. 272 ; Tovey, p. 192. 109 Dictionary of National Biography, vol. lxi. p. 373; Patent Rolls, 1270, p. 446.</page><page sequence="15">AARON OF YORK. 127 The maintenance of a number of soldiers fell upon Aaron and his friends. One of these men, Semon the cross-bowman,110 was not satisfied with his treatment and he made complaint to the king, who severely admonished Aaron for his neglect and ordered him, together with David of Oxford and Benedict Crispin,111 to supply the soldier with all necessaries as well as robes, in the future. An inquiry into the oft-repeated charge of clipping the coin of the realm was set on foot in 1238 at the request of the Jews them? selves who paid the king the sum of ?100 for the purpose.112 Eight leading Jews, with the Arch-Presbyter at their head,113 together with eight Christians, were authorised to bring suspected co-religionists to trial, to confiscate the property of those found guilty and to deport them from the country. In the same year, a sudden call was made upon the Jews to contribute ?200 to pay off the king's many debts, Aaron's share being fixed at 60 marks.114 Whilst Aaron was in office, Geoffrey the Templar115 was Keeper of the Royal Wardrobe,116 or private Treasury, from 1238 to 1240. As fiery Crusaders, the Templars were particularly hostile to the Jews. In the words of Professor Tout, " This hatred was based not only upon the attitude of the unbeliever natural to an order of Crusading knights but also the commercial hostility of a society of bankers interested in cosmopolitan finance to a rival commercial community whose command over capital and international relations made them the chief competitors of the Templars in this sphere." Geoffrey caused a number of Jews to be put to death in 1239 and threw many of them into prison.117 On a pretext of a murder having been committed by them in London, a tax of one-third of their property was imposed,?many payments for which are preserved in the collection of tallies now in the Public Record Office.118 In spite of his high 110 Close Rolls, 1237, p. 494 ; Patent Rolls, 1238, p. 229. 111 Loewe, ii. 90. 112 Patent Bolls, 1238, p. 228. 113 With him were Leo of York, David of Oxford, Benedict Crespin, Aaron le Blund, Aaron son of Abraham, Jacob Crespin and Elias l'Eveske. 114 Close Bolls, 1238, p. 54. 115 Tout, Chapters in Medieval Administrative History, i. 250. 116 Ibid., 181. 117 M.P., i. 175. 118 Miscellanies, ii, 8 sq. Of the " One-Third" Tallage, 46 tallies exist, and of the Worcester tallage of 1241, 211.</page><page sequence="16">128 AARON OF YORK. official position, Aaron appears to have possessed little power to protect his community against the enmity of the Templar lord.119 As part of his contribution towards this " One-Third " tallage?together with Leo, Aaron le Blund120 and Aaron son of Abraham121?Aaron was ordered to pay the sum of 1,000 marks to Earl Richard of Cornwall, the king's brother, to be spent on the Crusade upon which he was going. This money had been derived from a debt paid to the four financiers by the Abbot of Westminster. The Worcester " Parliament " of February, 1241, brought together 109 representatives from twenty-one Jewries.122 Its sole task was to assess a tallage of 20,000 marks (over ?400,000) among themselves to pay the king's debts. York was represented by Aaron, Leo Episcopus, his wife's grandfather, Jose and Benedict, nephews of Aaron, Jose of Kent and Ursell the son of Sampson. As Arch Presbyter, Aaron played a prominent part in the proceedings of the assembly and acted as president of the executive committee of the six wealthiest Jews upon whom the task of organising the collection fell.123 As his quota, Aaron contributed the large proportion of 1,000 marks,124 receipt-tallies to the amount of ?239, ?175 and ?3 3s. (equal to about 650 marks) being extant in the Record Office.125 Among these tallies are also included two from his nephews, Isaac126 and Jose.127 There is no other example of instances where not the father's, but the uncle's, name is given. In the work of collecting the Worcester tallage, Aaron co-operated with Peter Chaceporc,128 at this time a clerk and later the Keeper of the Wardrobe and Archdeacon of Wells, ??in whose annual statement of accounts Aaron's name often appears 119 Close Rolls, 1240, p. 47. 121 Ibid., 62. 123 Close Rolls, 1241, p. 354. 120 Loewe, ii. 68. 122 Stokes, p. 83 ; M.P., i. 322. 124 Liberate Rolls, II., p. 127. 125 See Miscellanies, ii, 14, Nos. 1, 2, 17, and 20, No. 1. A photograph of one of Aaron's tallies is given in Trans., ix. 185. 126 See Miscellanies, ii, 11, No. 10. "De Is nep Aaron de tallagio xx m. m." nin TD3 j?n2T and ibid., the Birmingham list, No. A.2, 22. 127 See ibid., 12, No. 14. " De Jose nep Aaron de tallagio xx m. m." 128 Dictionary of National Biography, vol. ix, p. 430; Tout, I.e., i. 263 ; Patent Rolls, 1241, p. 247. Aaron paid his 1,000 marks to Peter; see Note 124.</page><page sequence="17">AARON OF YORK. 129 as that of a regular contributor to the king's private Exchequer.129 The Templar knights also assisted in the receipt of the tallage, Elias l'Eveske, later famous as an Arch-Presbyter, paying his quota to them.130 Whilst the " Parliament" tax was being collected, the immediate need for money became very urgent, as four weeks later the king commanded Aaron, David of Oxford, Aaron the son of Abraham and Aaron le Blund of London to come to him at Oxford and deliver to him in person, " by way of prest,"13oa the sum of 400 marks?" upon pain of all they possess,"?which special gift Henry promised to repay out of the funds of his Wardrobe I131 In April of the following year, the king went to France to fight against Louis IX., the Jews paying 2,000 marks (=?40,000) towards his expenses.13ia In his absence, Aaron was accused of some " trans? gressions "132 against the king, the details of which are not recorded. Walter Gray, the Archbishop of York, was acting as Regent133 and the Arch-Presbyter was thrown into prison and all his chattels con? fiscated. He, however, soon made his peace and obtained his freedom and the return of his property by the payment of a fine, of which ?100 is recorded in the Pipe Roll of the king's Wardrobe.134 Some of this money, to the amount of 50 marks, he borrowed from Peter Chaceporc, the Keeper of the Wardrobe himself,135?the first indication that the rapacity of the king was beginning to bear heavily upon Aaron. In the following year, he was accused of having forged a 129 Several of the Pipe Bolls containing the annual accounts of Peter are in the P.R.O. In E.372.88 (1241-1244), Aaron and his brother Benedict, as heirs of their late brother Samuel, paid the Keeper of the Wardrobe ?100 ; in E.372.95 (1245-1252), payments of 3 gold marks, 60 marks, 5 marks and 1,000 gold marks are recorded, as well as rent paid to Aaron by Hugh de Selby, the Mayor of York. 130 The inscription upon one of the tallies reads, " Elias Levesq de tallagio xx. mil. m. per fratres milites Templi." See Miscellanies, ii, 17, No. 107. 130a Concerning praestita, special advances to the king, see Tout, I.e., i. 49. 131 Patent Rolls, 1241, p. 246. The entry on p. 47 of this year mentioning a prest of ?118 6s. Sd. from the same four rich Jews probably refers to the same payment. " Henry had been reduced to the necessity of collecting money from the Jews with his own hands." Stubbs, ii. 61. 131a Liberate Rolls, 1242, p. 119. 132 Close Rolls, 1242, p. 423. 133 Ramsay, p. 101. 134 P.R.O., E.372.88. 135 Liberate Rolls, 1242, p. 517.</page><page sequence="18">130 AARON OF YORK. deed,136 an offence frequently alleged against Jews?that was punish? able by death.137 At the time, king Henry was still engaged in war in France from which campaign he returned in September, 1243.138 Aaron was at once ordered to appear in person before the king to hear his judgment.139 The French war had been an utter failure and the money collected from an unwilling nobility, clergy and people before the expeditionary force had crossed the Channel had not sufficed to meet all expenses.140 Aaron's punishment was accordingly made the instrument of raising a large sum for the empty royal exchequer on the threat of a second period of imprisonment. To Matthew Paris, the renowned chronicler of the monastery of St. Alban's, Aaron later stated141 " by legal attestation and on his faith " that on this occasion he had paid to the king the sum of 30,000 marks in silver (equal in modern value to some ?603,000) in addition to a further gift of 200 gold marks (about ?40,000) for the personal use of queen Eleanor who had accompanied her husband to the war. The payment of these exorbitant fines must have almost ruined Aaron and the king realised that his usefulness as an Arch-Presbyter was coming to an end. Accordingly Aaron was dismissed from office next month and Elias l'Eveske of London was appointed in his stead142 ?the new chief of the Jewry remaining at the Exchequer for four? teen years until he had likewise been reduced to a state of poverty. But this loss of the bulk of his wealth and consequent deposition from office did not exhaust the demands made by the king upon " his " Jew of York. In November of the same year, Earl Richard, the king's brother, married a sister of the queen, Sanchia of Provence.143 The king made handsome settlements upon the bride whilst the festivities and pageants that followed were on a scale, till then, only associated with coronations. At the royal banquet it is recorded by Matthew Paris that in the cook's department 30,000 dishes were prepared for the guests. Towards the cost of these nuptial celebrations our ex-Arch-Presbyter was compelled to contribute the sum of 400 136 M.P., ii. 357. 138 Ramsay, p. 104. 140 Ibid., p. 108. 142 Stokes, pp. 30, 245. 137 Loewe, ii. cxxix. 139 Close Bolls, 1243, p. 130. 141 M.P., ii. 358. 143 M.P., i. 461.</page><page sequence="19">AABON OF YOBK. 131 marks in gold (some ?80,000) and 4,000 silver marks (a further ?80,400),144 whilst a contribution of 100 marks was received towards the expenses of the wedding from the general body of English Jews.144a Even Matthew Paris, who was no lover of the Jews, declares that the king " defrauded " Aaron in wringing these payments from him. " The king received from each Jew," adds the chronicler, " whether man or woman, the gold into his own hand, becoming, from a king, a new kind of tax-gatherer, but the silver was received by others for the king ! " Aaron continued to be one of the king's chief sources of income, for, in the following year, a sudden demand was one day made by royal order to pay to the bearer of the message the sum of 20 marks out of the arrears of ?100 which he owed to the king, " on sight of these letters, as he loves his body,"145?an ominous threat,?and, on another occasion, Aaron is commanded, together with other Jews,146 to transmit to four merchants of Siena and Florence the sum of 1,000 marks147 which Henry had borrowed from the Italians to be used in the king's service at Rome where he was seeking to arrange certain Church matters. Towards the same purpose Henry allocated 600 marks out of the previous payments of Aaron,148?the money of the Jews thus being freely expended for the intrigues at the Papal Courts. 250 marks were also paid by Aaron in 1244, owing from the tallage of 6,000 marks levied in the year 1230.148a The number of rich Jews in England was comparatively small, the greater part of the community being extremely poor,?but these successful men were apparently able to accumulate great fortunes from their financial dealings,?in spite of the crushing exactions of the king.149 Thus, for example, when Leo of York died in 1244, his son Samuel, who was Aaron's father-in-law, paid 7,000 marks as 144 Ibid., p. 459. 144a Close Rolls, 1253, p. 491. 145 Close Rolls, 1244, p. 275. 146 Benedict Crispin, Aaron son of Abraham, Aaron le Blund, Moses son~of Jacob. 147 Patent Rolls, 1244, p. 445. 148 Liberate Rolls, 1244, p. 209. 148* Ibid., p. 256. 149 ?phe heirs of Isaac of Norwich paid to the Keeper of the Wardrobe the sum of ?4,878 7s. 10c?. as " arrears " of their death duties, in 1241. (P.R.O. E. 372.88.) Those of H?mo of Hereford in 1235 paid 5,000 marks. See Tovey, p. 107.</page><page sequence="20">132 AARON OF YORK. legacy duty150?the customary one-third of the estate. Samuel there? upon received the royal assurance of exemption from contributing towards the tallage of 60,000 marks levied as a fine for the discovery of the dead body of a child, as mentioned above,?which promise, as usual, was not kept. Aaron was the surety for Samuel and was directed to pay the sum of ?215 towards the punishment tallage on behalf of his father-in-law.151 Aaron appears to have been dilatory in obeying and he was again put into prison. Upon his release, Aaron was made to pay his own quota towards the tallage in the form of a gift to the queen152 as detailed on a previous page, under penalty of further imprisonment and confiscation of property. Another example of wealth among the Jews is noted in the case of Licoricia of Winchester, the widow of David of Oxford. She was called upon to pay a death duty of 5,000 marks for her husband's estate.153 Failing to comply with this demand of the Treasury, Licoricia was committed to prison and her chattels given into the charge of Aaron, though he had ceased to act as Arch-Presbyter. The rich widow, who met her death by violence some years later,154 settled the royal claims upon her and was set free, Aaron being appointed her trustee and security. The Jew of York appears to have asked to be relieved of this responsibility and his request was granted upon pay? ment of a fine to the Exchequer. The objects for which the king obtained money from Aaron at different times knew no limitations. I have already mentioned his being compelled to maintain a cross-bowman named Semon, and in 1244 a war was impending against Alexander of Scotland, the king's brother-in-law, when Aaron was forced to give ?100 for the hire of foreign mercenaries.155 Peace, however, was arranged before hostilities began, though Aaron's contribution was probably not repaid to him. ?15 of this war loan was ordered to be paid to a Flanders merchant, John of Bruges, for a supply of wax which the Sheriff of Northumber? land had bought for the use of the army. Jews often financed the 150 Madox, i. 225. 151 Close Bolls, 1246, p. 447. 152 Madox, i. 225. 153 Ibid., p. 247; Close Rolls, 1244, p. 260; Trans., x. 202. 154 Jenkinson, iii. 248, 258. 155 Close Rolls, 1244, p. 154.</page><page sequence="21">AARON OF YORK. 133 king's wars. In 1230, in his first French war, Henry sent a request to the Jews for the sum of 6,000 marks for army pay to be despatched overseas,156 in addition to the arrears outstanding from a previous tallage of 8,000 marks. Aaron also had a share in building the Tower of London, a debt of 100 marks paid to him and Leo of York by the Abbot of Waleden (Yorkshire) being appropriated by the king and utilised for this purpose.157 Henry was a very devoted son of the Church, his love for Westminster Abbey, which he largely rebuilt, being especially dis? played.158 Within the walls of this sacred edifice, there lies to this day the shrine of Edward the Confessor, Henry's patron saint, which the king adorned with many costly gifts?and expected his Jewish subjects to follow his example. Towards the decoration fund, Aaron accordingly contributed the sum of 20 gold bezants,159 (equal to-day to about ?300) and his successor in the office of Arch-Presbyter, Elias, was similarly the enforced donor to the Abbey of a chalice160 which Henry ordered to be decorated with gold and precious stones and requested the Abbot to use it for the service of the Mass. Towards the building fund, a levy upon the Jews produced ?100161 (i.e. about ?3,000),?whilst other remarkable Jewish gifts were that of the widow, Licoricia of Winchester, who contributed the sum of ?2,591 (=to-day over ?77,000), towards the work of rebuilding the National Temple of Honour,162 and that of Moses the son of H?mo of Hereford who gave ?3,000163?a grand total of ?170,300 in modern value. The Abbot himself was no stranger to the Jews, for he once borrowed from four of them, including Aaron and Leo, the sum of 1,000 marks, as mentioned above (p. 128), the debt being appropriated by king Henry to help his brother Earl Richard to go to the Crusade. The Abbot of Westminster was one of many ecclesiastics who took loans from Aaron. In his own city of York, the Abbot of the 156 Close Rolls, 1230, p. 411; Madox, i. 223; Ramsay, p. 54. 157 Liberate Rolls, 1240, p. 482. 158 Ramsay, pp. 121, 269; G. G. Scott, Gleanings from Westminster Abbey, p. 24. 159 Close Rolls, 1244, p. 156. 160 Loewe, ii. 42. 161 Liberate Rolls, 1245, p. 14. 162 Patent Rolls, 1246, p. 478 ; Trans, x. 202. 163 Patent Rolls, 1246, p. 474.</page><page sequence="22">134 AARON OF YORK. Minster once borrowed ?500,164 and Aaron was accused of a mis? demeanour for not having deposited this bond in the official Archa, according to the regulations,165 for which offence Aaron was fined 500 marks. Local tradition to this day ascribes the beautiful lancet windows in York Minster, known as the " Five Sisters " to money lent by Aaron to the Church,166 and calls them the Jewish windows. Among other members of the clergy who were debtors of Aaron were the Abbots of Waleden,167 Eggleston (Yorkshire),168 Newton Pagnel (Buckinghamshire),169 Bullington (Lincolnshire),170 Fountains Abbey (Yorkshire),171 who also borrowed from Jose, Aaron's nephew,172 and the Prior of Hexham (Northumberland), with whom the scholars of Balliol College, Oxford,173 were associated. The clergy of Durham Cathedral paid to Aaron a debt he had contracted with their Sergeant or Steward, Thomas of Alverton,174 the acquittance for which in Aaron's own handwriting being among the treasures of the Cathedral to this day. The clerk of the Bishop of Lincoln pledged his lands to Aaron for debt,175 whilst another clerical client was Walter Langton,17 6 whose brother Simon,177 Archdeacon of Canterbury, inherited his estate and was sued by Aaron for money owing. The Langtons were brothers of Archbishop Stephen Langton of Magna Carta fame. An 164 Close Bolls, 1250, pp. 339, 382. 165 A.B., p. 157. 166 C. A. Austen, The Five Sisters, York, 1923, and Our Holy and Beautiful House, p. 41. 167 Close Bolls, 1250, p. 59 ; P.R.O. Exchequer Accounts, 249.3 ; Stokes, p. 269. 168 Close Bolls, 1234, p. 427. 169 Ibid., 1235, p. 110, a debt of 300 marks. 170 Pipe Boll, 14. H. iii, 295, a debt of ?27 10s. 171 S.P., p. 52. Aaron was a witness to a debt paid by the monks in 1238 to Ursel of York. Da vies, p. 180. 172 Patent Bolls, p. 151, a debt of ?900; Jenkinson, iii. 99. 173 Jenkinson, iii. 270. 174 J. T. Fowler, On Certain Starrs or Jewish Documents partly relating to Northallerton. (Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, iii. (1875), p. 55), where photo? graphs of the documents are given. Davis, Shetaroth, pp. 360-364. See Appendix III., p. 152. 175 Close Bolls, 1227, p. 7. 176 Close Bolls, 1236, p. 256. 177 He became Archdeacon of Canterbury in 1227 and was the author of a treatise upon the Song of Songs. (Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xxxii, p. 122.) There is a Simon Langton School still in Canterbury.</page><page sequence="23">AARON OF YORK. 135 Archdeacon of Coventry, Philip Lovel,178 also had dealings with Aaron. Lovel was a high official of the Crown, being Treasurer of the Exchequer and also one of the Justices of the Jews. He was a special favourite of the king who wished to appoint him to the Bishopric of Coventry but the monks successfully opposed this nomination. He was accused of taking bribes from the Jews, was dismissed for a time from office, paid a heavy fine and his estates were confiscated. Many of the nobles and gentry came to Aaron for monetary assistance. The Earl of Vavasour for the sum of ?330 pledged his estates at Hazlewood179 given to his ancestor by the Conqueror. The Vavasours were among the principal contributors to the erection of York Minster and a statue of one of the Earls stands to this day on the front of the Cathedral.180 Another great baron was Peter de Wadworth181 near Doncaster, whose debt was paid for him to Aaron and his relatives, Leo and Samuel Episcopus, by the monks of Roche Abbey who thus became possessed of a portion of his lands. Picot, an ancestor of the Lascelles family, was heavily in debt to Aaron.182 From Picot de Lascelles is descended the present Earl of Harewood, who has married the Princess Royal, daughter of king George.183 Another member of the same family, William de Lascelles, was also a client of Aaron.184 The wife of Hugh Bigod, who was a son of the Earl of Norfolk and who became Chief Justice and a Justice of the Jews,185 being indebted to Aaron for the sum of ?50,186 the king ordered Hugh to pay the debt direct to the Exchequer, as the king claimed it for himself. Other nobles were Walter de Clifford,187 a baron of the Treasury, and his nephew Roger,188?whose family gave the name to the Clifford's 178 Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xxxiv, p. 164. 179 Davies, I.e., p. 179 ; Burke's Peerage, p. 238. 180 Fletcher, Yorkshire, i. 162. 181 Davies, I.e., p. 179; Fletcher, I.e., i. 263. 182 Close Bolls, 1252, p. 242. 183 Fletcher, ii. 99 ; Burke, I.e. 184 Patent Bolls, 1272, p. 694. 185 DUgdale's Baronage, i. 132 ; Ramsay, p. 113 ; Gross, Exchequer of the Jews of England, p. 216; Dictionary of National Biography, vol. v, p. 24. 186 Close Bolls, 1244, p. 154. 187 Close Rolls, 1233, p. 34; Stubbs, Select Charters, p. 340. 188 Close Rolls, 1230, p. 415 ; M.P., iii. 339 ; Rigg, i. 68, 102.</page><page sequence="24">136 AARON OF YORK. Tower in York, Anketil Mallory,189 a Poitevin favourite of the king and a member of a famous Yorkshire family whose tombs are to be seen in Ripon Cathedral,190 Odinelli d'Albiniaco,191 and his son William,192 cousins of the Earl of Arundel, Philip de Kyme of Ilkley,193 Ralph Marshal, a royal favourite, relative of the Earl of Pembroke,194 Peter de Brus,195 a brother-in-arms of Earl Richard of Cornwall in the Crusades, and Margaret de l'lsle196 who married Baldwin, Earl of Ripon. The number of clients mentioned by name of lesser degree is very large, in a list of accounts for Cambridge, eight being given.196a The scholars of Balliol, Oxford, borrowed from Aaron, and, after his death, an inquiry was held as to the validity of certain starrs, and a panel of twelve Jews took oath that Aaron had written and signed the documents with his own hand.197 Like many of his con? temporaries, Aaron was often his own clerk, as is shown by several starrs that are in existence to-day,198 and many others are mentioned as having been written by Aaron himself.199 Aaron possessed a seal200 which bore the classic design of a human head,?an unusual form for an orthodox Jew. This seal was in existence in the library of Durham Cathedral until quite recently, but has now been lost. In 189 Close Rolls, 1230, pp. 434, 485; 1232, p. 165; Cf. ibid., 1239, p. 158 ; 1240, p. 192 ; 1246, p. 48; Davies, I.e., p. 180. 190 Fletcher, ii. 299. 191 Close Rolls or Daubeny, 1238, p. 119; ibid., 1252, pp. 116, 264. 192 See Appendix III., p. 153. 193 Close Rolls, 1231, p. 499 ; Fletcher, ii. 137 ; Dugdale, 620. 194 Close Rolls, 1231, p. 562 ; 1232, pp. 69, 144. 195 Patent Rolls, 1248, p. 33 ; Ramsay, pp. 94, 234; Dugdale, 449. 196 Madox, i. 241; Dugdale, 737. 196a See note 51. 197 Jenkinson, iii. 270. 198 Davis, Shetaroth, pp. 360-364; Appendix III., and photographs. 199 Jenkinson, iii. 271. Testimony of twelve Jews that " Aaron made the said Starrs and signed them with his own hand." 200 To the Starr in the Durham Cathedral Library photographed on p. 150 are appended the words, " Hoc est sigillum aar? in testimonio." Part of the string still exists but the seal has disappeared since the Rev. Mr. Fowler wrote his article in 1875, and photographed the document. He describes the seal and quotes Maimonides, De Idolatria, iii. 13, 14, in surprise that Aaron should have transgressed the law by using a seal of this description. Upon this, see A.B., p. 269. For a full account of Seals, see Loewe, ii. Excursus on " Signed and Sealed."</page><page sequence="25">AARON OF YORK. 137 many of his business transactions, he was a partner with other prominent Jews,?in addition to his relatives, Leo201 and Samuel of York,202 and Jose and Isaac, his nephews. Other colleagues were David of Oxford,208 H?mo of Hereford,204 one of the richest Jews of the day,205 Copin206 and Bonefey207 of Oxford, Aaron son of Abraham of London,208 Leo,209 Pictavin210 and Hak211 of Lincoln, Jose Pres? byter,212 Aaron213 and Elias le Blund of London214, Benedict Crespin,215 Elias l'Eveske,218 his successor as Arch-Presbyter, Elias of Bedford,217 Jose of Kent,218 who was a neighbour living in Coney Street, Elias of Pontefract,219 and many others. There thus appears to have existed a regular system of supplying capital throughout the country, a net? work of loan offices in which the Jews were associated with each other, ?which scheme had originated with Isaac the son of Rabbi Jose of London and Aaron of Lincoln in the previous century.220 As the representative of the king?whom Dr. Jacobs rightly calls the " Arch usurer " of the country,221?a man of wealth like Aaron, or any of the Arch-Presbyters, was at the head of this banking organisation that played so important a part in the economic life of the period. Aaron was removed from his high office in 1243 but, during the 201 Patent Bolls, 1223, p. 385; Close Bolls, 1234, pp. 14, 421; Ibid., 1235, pp. 110, 119, 121 ; Ibid., 1236, p. 318; Ibid., 1238, p. 56. 202 Patent Bolls, 1248, p. 33 ; Close Rolls, 1248, p. 84. 203 Close Rolls, 1230, p. 415; Cf. Trans., x. 193. 204 Ibid. 205 See Note 149, where Tovey points out that, compared with the death duties paid, the " relief" for an Earl's son for a whole county was ?100, of a baron's heir 100 marks and of a knight's fee 100 shillings. 206 Close Rolls, I.e. 207 Ibid., 1232, p. 52. 208 Ibid., 1238, p. 48 ; Ibid., 1249, p. 167 ; Madox, i. 228 ; see Loewe, ii. 62. 209 Close Rolls, 1232, p. 52; Loewe, ii. 45. 210 Ibid., 1231, p. 499. 211 Ibid. 212 Close Rolls, 1232, p. 52 ; Ibid., 1235, p. 125. 213 Ibid., 1231, p. 499; Ibid., 1236, p. 299; Ibid., 1238, p. 48; Ibid., 1248. p. 69; Ibid.. 1249, p. 167; Loewe, ii. 68. 214 Ibid., 1248, p. 69. 215 Ibid., 1235, p. 125; Ibid., 1236, p. 299; Loewe, ii. 90. 216 Ibid., 1238, p. 48; Ibid., 1249, p. 167; Loewe, ii. 38. 217 Ibid., 1249, p. 167. 218 Davies, p. 179. 219 Close Rolls, 1234, p. 377. 220 Trans., hi. 160. 221 A.B., Introduction, p. xix.</page><page sequence="26">138 AARON OF YORK. subsequent twelve years, he continued to occupy a prominent place in Anglo-Jewry. He was more than once thrown into prison, from which he bought his liberty by heavy payments. The strain upon his resources is now beginning to tell, leading to his complete impoverish? ment. To meet the king's demands he is forced to borrow money from non-Jewish financiers. Three French merchants of Bordeaux lent him 500 marks222 " for the use of the king," which the king graciously promised to repay if Aaron failed to do so, and Halengrat the cross-bowman, a noted citizen of Bordeaux, advanced a loan of 400 marks.223 This soldier-merchant was one of the financial agents of king Henry who had resided in this French city for many months during the late war, and had granted Halengrat the sum of ?20 a year in addition to a house confiscated from the Jews.224 To meet their liabilities to this Bordeaux money-lender, Aaron and his father-in law sold to him their London house in Colechurch Street. At one time Aaron was in debt to the king for 540 marks, being the arrears for nine years of the annual composition that he had under? taken to pay. 225 As already pointed out, Aaron was thus called upon to give both his annual commutation as well as his full share of the tallages paid by all Jews. The king was at last forced to recognise that he could expect little more from the man he had ruined, for he allowed a respite for a sum of ?100226 and, after a further term of imprisonment suffered by Aaron and his father-in-law, the settlement of all their debts was postponed for a time. 227 The same year, how? ever, the Royal Wardrobe received two sums of ?130228 and 60 marks,229 from Aaron, followed by a joint contribution of three gold marks from Aaron, Samuel and a nephew named Samuel,230 and next year the impoverished financier was called upon to pay 1,000 gold marks231 to the king. It is quite evident, however, that Aaron was unable to continue to pay these heavy taxes as the Wardrobe accounts now contain few entries concerning him. 222 Patent Rolls, 1246, p. 480-81. 223 Ibid.,?. 492. 224 Ibid., 1244, p. 419 ; Rigg. i. 80. Frequent mention of this Bordeaux agent of the king is found in the records. 225 Madox, i. 224. 226 Close Bolls, 1248, p. 49. 227 Ibid., p. 49. 228 P.R.O. Pipe Boll (Accounts of Peter Chaceporc) E.372.95. (1248). 229 Ibid. 230 Ibid. 231 Ibid.</page><page sequence="27">AARON OF YORK. 139 About this time, Aaron came into contact with one of the half brothers of the king, William of Valence. He arrived in England in 1247, together with many other French favourites and was created Earl of Pembroke.232 By his insolence and audacity, as Matthew Paris reports,233 he became the most unpopular of all the foreigners attached to the Court. He was very wealthy234 and lent money to the king and also to his eldest son Edward, who pawned his estates to him.235 To repay his kinsman, Henry allocated to him some of the debts of Aaron.236 Later, in 1257, William was expelled from the kingdom after a violent quarrel with Earl Simon de Montfort and the anti-royalist party, 237 on which occasion Aaron sold a debt of 400 marks to the royal outlaw.238 After Aaron's death, a debt of ?250 owed by Peter de Brus, a notable baron,239 as well as other debts owing to the Jews, 240 was given by the king to William of Valence when he went on Crusade with Prince Edward.241 In 1249, Aaron was associated with the Arch-Presbyter Elias and others242 in raising a tallage of 500 marks and 26 gold marks for the king, and, in the royal mandate, they were directed to take with them " two middle-class Jews and two poor Jews to arrange the assessment so that the rich be not spared and the poor not too much grieved."243 The advisers of the king, ever seeking for new methods of raising revenue, invented a new scheme of anticipating the payment of death duties. The heirs to an estate were obliged to surrender one-third of the property of the deceased before being granted probate.244 But 232 Ramsay, p. 126. His tomb, with his effigy in armour, lies in Westminster Abbey near that of his kinsman, Henry III. 233 M.P., iii. 279. 234 See S.P., pp. 56-60, concerning his financial dealings. 235 Ibid., iii. 270 ; Ramsay, p. 168. 236 Patent Bolls, 1248, p. 33. 237 Ramsay, p. 174; M.P., iii. 287, 291. 238 Patent Bolls, 1257, p. 543. 239 See Note 193. 240 Patent Bolls, 1270, p. 446. 241 Ramsay, p. 273. 242 The assessors were Aaron, Elias l'Eveske, Aaron son of Abraham and Abraham of Berkhampstead.* (*In the following year, he was appointed a king's commissioner, " to expedite certain arduous business touching the Jewry in London, Canterbury, York, Lincoln and Nottingham," Patent Bolls, 1250, p. 63.) 243 Close Bolls, 1249, p. 46. 244 A.B., pp. 321, 332.</page><page sequence="28">140 AAEON OF YORK. Henry could not wait till Aaron died, he must have foreseen that the estate would not be very considerable, and therefore, nineteen years before, he ordered the wife and family to commence to pay the king the sum of 200 marks a year as death duties.245 An enquiry into the wealth of Aaron the son of Abraham, the deputy-Presbyter, cost Aaron of York a fee of five gold marks in the same year246 that a tallage of 5,040 gold marks was paid by the whole of the Jewry to the Wardrobe through the hands of Peter Chaceporc, the Treasurer.247 Aaron was once again threatened with imprisonment when, in 1250, he was charged with two serious offences. A certain debtor, William of Marmion, accused him before the Justices of the Jews with having falsified a charter.248 A further indictment brought against him was of having failed to deposit in the royal Archa a bond of 500 marks owing by the Abbot of York. This bond had been bought by Aaron from the king who claimed it in order to buy gold for the royal use, Aaron and Elias, the Arch-Presbyter, having given between them a sum of ?1,000 for this purpose.249 A penalty of 500 marks was inflicted upon Aaron for the second offence and the charge of forgery was dropped. In his history of the year 1250, the following passage occurs in Matthew Paris : 250 " The king did not cease to scrape up money from all quarters, especially from the Jews, and, in a secondary degree, from his Christian subjects ; to such a degree did he carry his exactions among the former that from one of them, named Aaron who was born at York and kept a house in that city, he extorted fourteen thousand marks, and ten thousand in gold, for the use of the queen (because, as was reported, he was proved guilty of forging a certain charter) to be paid at a short period, to prevent his being put in prison." These amounts probably refer to the payments of many years rather than at one particular time. The York financier had not yet entirely lost the favour of his master, for at this time the king actually repaid him and two other Jews, Cok the son of Aaron and Isaac the son of the Arch-Presbyter Elias, some of their loans to the value of ?1,377 6s. 8d.?this money 245 Close Rolls, 1249, p. 57. 246 Pipe Holl, (E.372.95) Accounts of Peter Chaceporc. 247 Ibid. 248 Close Rolls, 1250, pp. 60, 284. 249 Ibid., pp. 339, 382. 250 ii. 357.</page><page sequence="29">AARON OF YORK. 141 being obtained from Jewish taxation.251 Elias l'Eveske and his deputy, Aaron the son of Abraham, having undertaken to commute their payment to tallages for an annual sum of 10 and 25 gold marks respectively, Aaron was appointed their surety, promising to pay 200 silver marks if they did not fulfil their engagement.252 As in the case of Aaron, the king soon broke his word with the two London Jews. A new tallage of 10,000 marks was levied upon the Jewry, of which Aaron's quota was to be no less than 2,000 marks.253 Aaron obtained an audience with the king and pleaded that he was not in a position to meet this new demand. Henry replied by commanding that the three men, Elias, Aaron of London and Aaron of York, were to act as guarantors of each other's payments, and that therefore Elias and his deputy were to make up any deficit upon Aaron's con? tribution,?in spite of the promise of exemption he had previously given to them. This evidence of the growing impoverishment of the York Jew is strengthened by the events of the following year (1252). Unable to satisfy the greed of the king, Aaron's property was distrained and confiscated. To bring pressure to bear, the wife and two children of the ex-Presbyter were taken to York Castle and Aaron appealed again for mercy.254 As a special act of clemency, he was allowed to have goods to the value of ?400 returned to him, his tallage payments were postponed, whilst his lands were to be held as security by the Sheriff of York.255 Among these pledges was the estate of Picot de Lascelles which was to be sold for the benefit of the king.256 A repayment of a debt of five marks through the hands of the Christian Chirographers of Nottingham was acknowledged on behalf of the almost insolvent Aaron by his "?iTI?X " attorney," Moses the son of Moses of Colton, a village near Leeds. 25 7 Aaron may at the time 251 Ibid., p. 402. In Roberts, Excerpta e Rot. Ein., ii. 267, Aaron together with Isaac son of Elias l'Eveske, Deulecress, Aaron son of Abraham and Samuel of Norwich paid 100 marks to have these debts of ?1,377 6s. Sd. formerly belonging to Isaac of Norwich. 252 Ibid., pp. 457, 545. 253 Ibid., p. 523. 254 Patent Rolls, 1252, p. 132. 255 Close Rolls, 1252, p. 62. 256 Ibid. p. 24. 257 Davis, Shetaroth, p. 232. In the Starr, he signs as HP? tt JTO? pTHK? pnX TllDK pD^lpa See Loewe, ii. 201. T</page><page sequence="30">142 AARON OF YORK. have been in prison and his agent signed the acquittance. He could no longer hold his houses in Milk Street, London, and he accordingly leased258 them to Elias the son of Magister Moses,259?later selling the property to him in 12662 60?the king undertaking not to distrain upon these houses for any of Aaron's debts. Elias was a Master of the Jewish Law,261 as well as a well-known buyer of houses, obtaining, in 1257, on the deposition of Elias, the Arch-Presbyter, the latter's houses in London and Nottingham for which he paid king Henry the sum of 400 marks.262 He belonged to a noted London family, his brother Hagin or Vives being the agent of Earl Richard263 and also Arch-Presbyter after Elias l'Eveske for 23 years,264?whilst a nephew, Hagin the son of Deulecress, served as the last of the Arch Presbyters until the days of the Expulsion. In the same year (1253) a tallage imposed upon the Jewry to help to pay for the king's war in France produced ?57 from Aaron, ?20 from the York community and a total of ?320 from all England.265 The business career of our York magnate was not yet brought to a close. He was charged at this time with having sold to Adam of Balliol, the founder of the Oxford college, an estate which he had no right to dispose of,266 and, being adjudged guilty, was punished, probably by imprisonment and fine. He was also fined for absenting himself from a law-suit about certain debts.267 Three starrs of this period refer to acquittances of debt on the part of Nottingham clients, being written in Aaron's own handwriting, and in two of them Jornin ben Diaie acts as his witness.268 Next year, the king was fighting his rebellious subjects in Gascony and wrote home for money to his wife and his brother, Richard, who had been appointed Joint Regents in his absence.269 A Grand Council 258 Patent Rolls, 1253, p. 172. E?as lived in Milk Street in 1282. S.P., pp. 119, 131. 259 Stokes, p. 6. 260 Patent Rolls, 1253, p. 544. 261 S.P., p. 88. 262 Charter Bolls, 1257, p. 16. Cf. Stokes, p. 32. 263 See p. 145. 264 Stokes, p. 35. 265 P.R.O. Exchequer Boll E.401.20. 266 Rigg, i. 125. 267 Rigg, i. 126. 268 Davis, Shetaroth, pp. 237, 238, 280. 269 Ramsay, p. 145 ; M.P., p. 75.</page><page sequence="31">AARON OF YORK. 143 was summoned and both prelates and barons refused to grant sub? sidies, a similar result being reached at a gathering of representative knights and lesser clergy who met on April 26th. The following Sunday, May 1st,270 Aaron and three of the richest York Jews and other representatives, with the Arch-Presbyter, Elias, at their head, were called to appear before the Exchequer authorities at Westminster to learn the wishes of the king. Earl Richard, as Regent,271 met them and, in the words of Matthew Paris,272 " demanded of them a large sum of money for the use of the king?who, he said, was highly indignant with them,?under penalty of imprisonment and ignominious death." Elias made an eloquent and fearless speech, recorded by the St. Alban's monk, in which he pointed out the distress of the Jews and their inability to comply with the royal commands. " He has papal merchants," he exclaimed, " or rather his own (I will not call them usurers), who amass endless heaps of money : let the king depend upon them and gape after his emoluments by them : they it is who have destroyed and impoverished us. The king conceals his knowledge of this, and demands of us what we have not the power to give, though he should pluck out our eyes or skin us and afterwards cut our throats." The Arch-Presbyter therefore appealed to Richard that the Jews should be allowed to leave the country never to return, that " we may seek a prince who has bowels of compassion and will properly observe truth and good faith." But the plea of Elias was in vain, and, adds Matthew, " the small remnant of their small sub? stance, which if left would only afford them a meagre subsistence, was extorted from them by force." They were ordered to raise a sum of 1,000 marks forthwith from their brethren,?the only section of the king's subjects who had no power to disobey. In four sums, Aaron paid ?83 3s. id. and the community of York ?41, of which Jose, Aaron's nephew, gave 20 marks and another nephew, Samuel, 10 marks.273 The tallages of 1253 and 1254 were the last in which the name of Aaron appeared, his wealth having entirely evaporated. A remark? able step by which to obtain money was now taken by the king. 270 Close Rolls, 1254, p. 127. 271 Called in the Shetaroth (Davis, p. 54) Mpn pD^H 272 M.P., p. 76. 273 P.R.O., Exchequer Roll, E.401.1566.</page><page sequence="32">144 AARON OF YORK. Hostilities with the French had ceased. Henry had made a treaty with the king of France and peace festivities were held in Paris274 that were on so magnificent a scale that Matthew Paris275 declares that the famed splendours of the courts of Ahasuerus, Arthur and Charlemagne were all eclipsed. To the Pope, moreover, Henry had promised huge sums of money in return for an offer to make his second son, Edmund, king of Sicily.276 The king returned to London and greedily sought for money wherever he could find it, " for his debts were reported to amount to more than 300,000 marks, so he made urgent and imperious demands upon all classes of his people like a man hungering for food." 27 7 From the Jews he demanded the immediate collection of 8,000 marks, " on pain of being hung in case of non-payment." 27 8 The Jews, seeing nothing but ruin and des? truction were impending, again implored Henry to let them depart, as no hope now remained to them of breathing freely. To them he replied angrily, " I am a mutilated and diminished king, for it is dreadful to think of the debts in which I am involved. I am there? fore under the necessity of living on money obtained in all quarters, from whomsoever and in what manner soever I can acquire it." The only member of the royal family who was possessed of ample means was Henry's brother, Earl Richard. Ramsay says279 of him that " his chief talent was for making money." To him therefore Henry turned for help and he accordingly sold " his " Jews (in 1255) for an immediate payment of 5,000 marks (about ?100,000 in modern value), " that the Earl might disembowel those whom the king had skinned," says Matthew.280 Richard was to get back this loan, together with a profit of ?2,000 (?60,000 to-day), by taxing the Jewry, who were made over to him bodily, with all legal powers for enforcing payment of the money advanced to the king. The jewels of the old Treasury were given in pledge for this brotherly transaction, including several valuable crowns and a royal collection of 324 rings with precious stones.281 Fortunately, the Earl was somewhat more merciful than his 274 Ramsav, p. 150. 276 Ibid., 89. 278 Ibid., 114. 280 Ibid., 115; Ramsay, p. 151. 275 M.P., iii, 107. 277 Ibid., 112. 279 Ibid., 276. 281 Patent Rolls, 1255, p. 400.</page><page sequence="33">AARON OF YORK. 145 brother. He realised that he had an impoverished community under his control and he moderated his demands accordingly. Talliators were appointed to raise the sum of 500 marks and to gather in the arrears due to the king of the old tax of 1,000 marks still outstand? ing.282 Aaron and his nephew Jose were among the representatives of the York Jewry which was assessed in the sum of 50 marks. His new master was personally acquainted with the affairs of the poverty stricken Aaron who could now contribute nothing to the tallages. He therefore explained to his brother that Aaron should be pardoned all payments283 and suggested that his quota, together with certain arrears of taxes, should be allocated among the Jewries who, between them, were to pay the amount due from the ex-Arch-Presbyter. In this manner, the sum of ?39, plus 107 marks,284 was collected for the Earl, in the name of Aaron,?and, in addition, a debt of 100 marks owing to Aaron by a Lincoln client, Ealph de Normanville, was paid into Richard's coffers.285 In 1259, part of Aaron's tallage was paid out of a debt owing by Reginald de Cobham (Kent).286 The principal agent for the Earl's taxes levied upon the Jews was not the king's Arch-Presbyter, Elias, but Hagin, the son of Magister Moses of Lin? coln,287 who, two years later, succeeded Elias in this office,?the latter, after having been brought to poverty like Aaron by the exactions of the king, being deposed on account of some " transgression " both against Henry and " our beloved brother, the king of the Germans."288 Whilst overlord of the English Jewry, Richard had been elected Emperor of Germany where he reigned from May, 1257, to 1272, visiting his German subjects only four times in fifteen years.289 During this period Hagin, now appointed Arch-Presbyter in February, 1258,2 90 282 Patent Rolls, 1255, p. 439. 283 Close Rolls, 1255, p. 140. " Aaron in tantum decidit paupertatem quod non habet unde reddat tallagia super eum assessa, bene placet regi quod tallagia ilia super communitatem Judeorum Angliae predictus comes recuperet." Patent Rolls, 1255, p. 442. 284 Close Rolls, 1255, p. 241. 285 Ibid. 286 Seiden Society, " Select Cases in the Exchequer, 1933," by H. Jenkinson and B. Formoy, p. 28. 287 Close Rolls, 1255., p 140; Stokes, p. 33. 288 Stokes, p. 246. 289 Ramsay, p. 160. 290 Hagin and many other Jews fled to the Continent before the battle of Lewes (1264) " propter timorem turbationis habitae in regno." Gross, I.e., p. 194 note.</page><page sequence="34">146 AARON OF YORK. looked after his Jewish interests in England. Together with Cresse,291 another of Earl Richard's agents, Hagin collected a debt of Aaron's which had been owing by Lord Baldwin de l'lsle, whose estate was at Weston, near Bradford, and paid it into his master's account. Erom the year of the sale of the Jewry to Richard to the year 1268 when Aaron died, the records have little to relate concerning our ruined financier?beyond references to a few old debts and a lawsuit in which he was involved shortly before his end. Although the English Emperor of Germany was entitled by his bargain to all Jewish revenue, the wealthy William of Valence, the king's half brother, bought a debt of 400 marks from Aaron together with 40 marks yearly interest.292 His contract with Earl Richard having expired, in 1262, Henry mortgaged his Jewish subjects to his son Prince Edward,293 later Edward L, who four years previously had himself been in such need that he pawned his estates to William of Valence, Earl of Pembroke.294 Edward in his turn pledged the Jewry for five years to the Cahorsins,295 the Italian money-lenders in the service of the Pope, whose rivalry had helped considerably to the ruin of the Jewish capitalists. About this time, a claim was made by the agent of Prince Edward upon the estate of Archdeacon Philip Lovel for the sum of ?120 owing to Aaron.296 Jose the nephew of Aaron had held the bond for this debt which had been lost in the disturbances caused by the Barons' War. Later this money was given to queen Eleanor for a contribution of gold which Aaron owed Her Majesty.297 The wife of Aaron, Henna, with the help of her nephews Jose and Isaac, now became active in the world of finance. Shortly before his 291 Madox, i. 241. 292 Patent Bolls, 1255, p. 543. 293 Close Bolls, 1262, p. 79. Owing to the prince joining the Barons, the Jews were taken back into the hands of the king. Close Bolls, 1265, p. 62. Tovey, p. 157. 294 Ramsay, p. 168. 295 Tovey, p. 158. " Cum Edwardus noster dilectus primogenitus ex precepto, assensu et voluntate nostra, concesserit et tradiderit insolutum Petro Cerando et Will. Bernando, fratribus, et eorum sociis, civibus et mercatoribus, Caturcensibus . . . totum Judaismum nostrum, ipsius regni nostri, cum Scaccario ejusdem Judaismi et omnibus et singulis aliis proventibus et exitibus, caeterisque ad idem Judaismum spectantibus. . . . " 296 Rigg, i. 44; Patent Bolls, 1267, p. 170. 297 Jenkinson, iii. 18.</page><page sequence="35">AARON OF YORK. 147 death, Henna and her husband and Isaac were sued in court about a debt incurred by two brothers. 298 The charge was that they had given an acquittance for all loans, but had afterwards sold, for the sum of ten marks, some of the goods of the brothers which they had retained for themselves. The three defendants failed to appear and the Sheriff of York was instructed to arrest them and to distrain upon their property, if, as the Plea Roll adds, " there is aught whereby they may be distrained." Isaac had gone to London, Henna was already distrained by a house of a yearly rental of 6 marks and Aaron appears to have possessed nothing. The aged Henna was sent to prison whilst Aaron was allowed to go free after appearing for judg? ment until a settlement of the dispute was reached by mutual agree? ment and the payment of a fine. The last incident in Aaron's business activities was the sale of an estate, together with four horses, which had been pledged for debt by Sir Geoffrey de Rufford (Yorks) to Henna's father, Samuel,299 who had left all his property to his daughter. Through their nephew Isaac, the heiress and Aaron assigned the house in Rufford and the other chattels to a certain Master Alan Breton with full rights of possession. Aaron died in the year 1268,300 well over eighty years of age, after a chequered career that had touched the extremes of affluence and of poverty, leaving two children. His daughter Antera had married first Isaac the son of Jose le Jovene,301 receiving a house in York from her father as a dowry, and afterwards Lumbard, a wealthy local financier, who was hanged for felony.302 His son Samuel, 298 Rigg, i. 181, 186. (1268). 298 Ibid, i. 210. 300 Davies, p. 182, wrongly gives the date as 1256, and was also in error in stating that Cok and Manasser were his sons.?This mistake is repeated by Elkan Adler in his History of Jews in London, p. 38. 301 Close Rolls, 1280, p. 28. Concerning his house, see Note 34. He and a son Aaron were hanged for coin-clipping in the year 1278 (Charter Rolls, 1279, p. 222), when so many were executed on this charge. [See my Paper on " The Inventory of the Property of the Condemned Jews," Miscellanies, ii, 56.] There are frequent references to his business in Rigg, ii. and Jenkinson, iii ?the Abbot of Fountains Abbey once borrowing ?800; Jenkinson, iii. 99. Cf. also Close Rolls, 1280, p. 39, where a debt of ?100 owing to him was " pardoned " by the king to one of his soldiers. 302 Probably among the suspensi of 1278.</page><page sequence="36">148 AARON OF YORK. after Aaron's death, at once sold his father's houses in Coney Street303 to the Arch-Presbyter, Hagin the son of Magister Moses,304 and, in view of Hagin's " deserts, " these houses were never to be distrained.305 Several of Aaron's debts were collected for the Crown,306 including one of ?120 borrowed by one of the Lascelles family which was given to the mother of king Edward, the Dowager queen Eleanor.307 Henna survived her husband for several years and continued his business on a modest scale. Though over eighty years of age, she appears to have been well able to safeguard her interests, with the help of her son Samuel and her nephews. On one occasion, a Christian debtor had deprived her of a house in Northampton which her husband had given to her as a marriage dowry and the judges upheld her claim.308 A Jew of Stamford named Sampson had also withheld part of her marriage portion but in this case she was not so successful.309 Her brother Samuel had bequeathed his estate to her and she had paid the customary death duties.310 In prosecution of her rights, she sued the Abbot of Fountains Abbey and others for a debt of ?6 owing to her late brother,?the bonds for which had been lost in the turmoil of the Civil War.311 The Abbot and the other defaulters were ordered to be arrested but allowed bail. A house belonging to her brother, as well as one of her own, were confiscated by the king.312 Three men in Nottingham whose bonds had also been destroyed were summoned before the Justices by Henna for debts amounting in all to ?14 9s. and the verdict was given in her favour.313 In 1273 an action for debt was brought against her by a Christian. As she did not appear, a warrant for her arrest was issued and her York houses were confiscated.314 She, however, obtained this property back, and later sold some of the houses, at the same 303 Patent Rolls, 1268, p. 255. 304 Stokes, p. 33. Hagin also had several houses in London. S.P., p. 105. 305 After Hagin had sold these houses, they became the property of queen Eleanor. S.P., p. 110. 306 Rigg, i. 270, 313 ; ii. 83, 105, 112. 307 Patent Rolls, 1272, p. 694. 308 S.P., p. 52. 309 Rigg, i. 167, 232. 310 Ibid, ii. 278. 311 S.P., I.e. 312 Rigg&gt; P- 156. 313 S-P" lx 314 Rigg, ii. 31, 78.</page><page sequence="37">AARON OF YORK. 149 time as her nephews Samuel and Jose and other local Jews had also disposed of several houses?the document in which this is recorded showing that many tenements in York had fallen into Jewish hands.315 The date of Henna's death is unknown : when the published Plea Rolls end in 1277,316 she was about ninety years of age?and there is no mention of her activities having ceased. The lives of Aaron and his wife are typical of the conditions of the age in which they flourished and illustrate to the full the relations of the Jew of the period to the State and to the general community. Their ultimate stage of poverty foreshadowed the final disaster that befell the Jews of England?when, a few years later, Edward I., having no further use for them, decreed their Expulsion and they wandered forth to seek new homes elsewhere. APPENDICES. APPENDIX I. DEED OF SALE OF LAND FOR CEMETERY, 1230. (From the Muniment Room of York Minster. See photograph p. 150.) Text. Sciant presentes et futuri, Quod ego, Iohannes Romanus Sub-deeanus Eeclesie Sancti Petri Ebor', uendidi Commune Iudeorum Ebor' et aliorum Iudeorum Anglie, pro quadam certa summa peeunie quam michi dederunt, Totam illam terram meam Cum pertinenciis in Barkergate in suburbio Ebor', quam emi a Galfrido Bru' ; sicuti iacet in longitudine et in latitudine, inter terram, quam ego tenui de Communa Canonicorum Ebor' Eeclesie et anti quum Cimiterium Iudeorum. Habendam et tenendam dictis ludeis et eorum assignatis imperpetuum de me et assignatis meis in feodo et hereditate, libere, Quiete, et integre, Cum omnibus pertinenciis et aisiamentis suis sine omni retenemento. Reddendo inde annuatim michi in tota uita mea, duos solidos sterlingorum, mediatatem ad festum Sancti Martini hieme et mediatatem ad Pentecosten. Et post decessum meum, uicariis Ebor' eeclesie ad eosdem terminos, sicut meis assignatis inperpetuum et domino Regi, 315 Ibid, ii. 156. 316 The last date in Jenkinson, iii. is the year 1277. There are no references to Henna in the later extracts in S.P., which continue to 1285. In a Plea Roll of 1278, not yet published, there is an entry of a fine of 6s. Sd. being paid to the Exchequer by Henna.</page><page sequence="38">150 AARON OF YORK. Hus-gablium suum, pro omni seruicio. Et ego, Iohannes et assignati mei Warantizabimus dicte Commune Iudeorum, prefatam terram, cum omnibus pertinenciis suis per predictum seruicium contra omnes gentes, et eorum heredibus et assignatis inperpetuum. Et ut nec uenditio Rata et stabilis sine fine permaneat, huic carte in modum CyrographaP confecte sigillum meum apposui. Hiis testibus, Rogero decano beati Petri Ebor', Willelmo de Redefend tune Thessauraris euisdem Ecclesie, Galfrido de Norwyc' tune precingtore predicte Ecclesie, Ricardo de Norcie Walays tune Cancelario, Hugone de Seleby tune maiore Ebor', Iohanne de Warthil, Alexandro filio Radulphi, Nicholao Wineur', Roberto de Cardoil, Thome Sperri, tune prepositis, Ranulpho filio Yuonis, Waltero Clerico, tune Cyrographariis Ebor', Thome filio Aci et multis aliis Christianis ; et ludeis, Ysaac de Norhamton, Leon episcopo, Aron filio Yocy, Benedicto episcopo, Yoceo de Kent', Samuel filio Yocey, et multis aliis Iudeis. Hebrew signatures : 03p? iv 'or iv *ov n V*o&amp;t2? 7hd Vki?p or?irmi? pn:r IV IV Translation. Know (all) the present and to come :?That I, John Romanus, Sub deacon of the Church of St. Peter at York, have sold, to the Community of the Jews of York and of other Jews of England, for a certain sum of money which they have given to me, the whole of that land in my possession with appurtenances in Barkergate, in the suburb of York, which I have bought from Geoffrey Bru\ [And this,] as it lies in length and in breadth, between the land which I have held from the Chapter (Communa) of Canons of the Church at York [on the one side] and the ancient cemetery of the Jews [on the other]. To be had and held, by the said Jews and their assigns for ever, from me and my assigns in fee and inheritance freely, in peace and intact, with all its appurtenances and liberties, without any withholding whatsoever. To be returned to me, thenceforth, yearly during my life, two shillings sterling,?[one] moiety at Martinmas in winter and [the other] moiety at Pentecost. And after my decease [these to be returned] to the vicars of the Church at York, at the same terms, as though to my assigns, for ever, and to the Lord King his rent for all service. And I, John, and my assigns will warrant to the said Community of Jews, the aforesaid land with all its appurtenances, because of the above mentioned service, against all people and their heirs and assigns for ever. And in order that this sale may remain "eternally confirmed and established, to this charter made in the manner of a Chirograph, I have affixed my seal. These being witnesses : Roger, deacon of the [Church of] Blessed Peter at York, William de Redefend</page><page sequence="39">i. Deed of Sale of Land for York Cemetery, 1230 (York Minster) (p. 149). ii. Starr in Durham Cathedral Library, 1250 (/&gt;? 154).</page><page sequence="40">AARON OF YORK. 151 then Treasurer of the same church, Geoffrey of Norwich, then precentor of the said church, Richard de Norcie-Walays then Chancellor, Hugh de Seleby then Mayor of York; John de Warthil, Alexander son of Ralph, Nicholas Wineur', Robert de Cardoil, Thomas Sperri, then wardens ; Ranulph son of Ivo, Walter the clerk, then Chirographers of York; Thomas son of Ace and many other Christians. And Jews, Ysaac of Norham[p]ton', Leo' episcopus, Aron son of Jose, Benedictus episcopus, Jose of Kent, Samuel son of Jose and many other Jews. Hebrew signatures : Isaac of Northampton?witness : Samuel Cohen?witness : Samuel son of Jose?witness : Jose?witness?of Kent: Jose nephew of Aaron? witness. APPENDIX IL I. PATENT OF APPOINTMENT OF AARON AS ARCH-PRESBYTER1 Rex. De Aaron' de Eborac' residente ad Scaccarium. Rex assignavit Aaron de Eboraco Judeum ad residendum ad Scaccarium Regis Judeorum de negotia regis una cum Justiciariis regis ad custodiam Judeorum assignatis ibidem facienda. Et mandatum est predictis Justiciariis quod ipsum Aaron ad hoc admittant et negotia regis ad honorem et comodum (sic) regis de consilio suo faciant. (Close Bolls, February, 1236, p. 243.) II. JOSE SON OF COPIN TO ACT AS DELEGATE AT THE EXCHEQUER Pro Aaron' Judeo Eboraci. Mandatum est Justiciariis ad custodiam Judaeorum assignatis : Quod Rex concessit Aaron Judeo Ebor. Presbyteratum omnium Judeorum Angliae, cum omnibus pertinentiis suis habendum tota uita sua : et quotiens Aaron intendere non possit ad sedendum ad Scaccarium regis ad officium illud Joceum fil. Copin loco suo recipiant, ad ea facienda ad Scaccarium regis quse ad officium illud pertinent. Rotulos etiam qui fuerunt Jocei Presbyteri pra?decessoris sui eidem Aaron uel predicto attornato suo habere faciant. (Close Bolls, December, 1236, p. 408.)2 1 Stokes, pp. 29, 244, omits this earlier record. 2.Cf. Charter Rolls, 1236, p. 255, addressed to the Justices of the King and the Jews of England, which adds that " Aaron is to be maintained, defended and protected in his office."</page><page sequence="41">152 AARON OF YORK. Translation, I. The King. About Aaron of York sitting at the Exchequer. The king has appointed Aaron of York, Jew, to sit at the Jewish Exchequer of the king there to transact the business of the king together with the Justices appointed for the custody of the Jews. And it is com? manded to the aforesaid Justices that they admit the said Aaron to this office and that they transact the business of the king to the honour and benefit of the king acting on his advice. II. For Aaron the Jew of York. It is commanded to the Justices appointed for the custody of the Jews. Inasmuch as the king has granted to Aaron the Jew of York the Pres byterate of all the Jews of England with all belonging thereunto to be held for all his life, whenever Aaron is not able to sit at the king's Exchequer, they shall receive in his place Jose the son of Copin to do at the king's Exchequer whatever belongs to that office. In the same way they shall allow the said Aaron or his above-named attorney to have the rolls of his predecessor, Jose Presbyter. APPENDIX III. STARRS AND CHARTERS OF AARON a. in Durham cathedral library. (Davis, Shetaroth, pp. 360-64.) i. Latin charter in which Aaron quit-claims to Hugh Derlyngton, Prior of Durham, all the lands formerly belonging to Thomas, the Sergeant of Alverton. The Jewish witnesses are Jose, nephew of Aaron, Meyr and Baruch, sons of Jose and Ursell the son of Mansel (Menasseh). The Latin document concludes, " In witness thereof, I have signed this present writing in my Hebrew letter in the presence of John Gocelin." Then follows in Aaron's handwriting :? ddk *ontp f?Vn nVttfcV mnDip n? Vst? mi? hd? mnnn na ??or p p^mxa prut " I the undersigned acknowledge that all that is written above in Latin is true. Aaron of York son of Jose." ii. In similar terms, abbreviated, without the list of witnesses : Same Hebrew words at foot.</page><page sequence="42">in. Starrs of Aaron (Westminster Abbey) 1. p. 153. B. i. 2. /&gt;. 153. B. ii. 3. p. 153. B. iii.</page><page sequence="43">AARON OF YORK. 153 iii. Latin deed dated 17 June, 1237, in which Thomas, the Sergeant of Alverton, acknowledges to Aaron a debt of six pounds which he promises to repay with interest?in the meantime pledging all his lands, rents and chattels. Endorsed in Aaron's handwriting, pITlVxa ttJVHttfV " Thomas the Sergeant of Alverton." iv. A counterpart of iii.?with the same endorsement, not in Aaron's handwriting. v. A Latin deed dated 1250, " the 34th year of the Coronation of our Lord king Henry, son of king John " in which Deulecress son of Jose of Kent and his brother Jorin quit-claimed to the Prior and Convent of the Church of Durham all their debts. The Hebrew addendum is in Aaron's handwriting. (See text in Appendix IV.) B. IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY MUNIMENT ROOM. i. W.A.M. No. 6750. (Davis, No. 108, p. 237). Nottingham, 1253. See photographs. A quit-claim from Aaron to William the son of Odinelli a" Albiniaco. rraiKT p aaV^t? mim n*mn mia nt&gt;a Dinnn omsnrsn nni?i nisrnm mmn V:&gt;a ^anrai ^aa amoe rsnm nan ^Van mnx niDVa1? snm nwbv bxn iv nbwn nanaa viann vninp nai jrr ^an p iv "wi p pnv jrmaa pnx " I the undersigned make unqualified acknowledgment that William the son of Odinell Daubeny1 (d'Albiniaco) and his heirs are quit from me and from my heirs from all debts and demands and claims of any kind from the creation of the world to Noel (Christmas) the 37th year of the reign of our Lord king Henry the son of king John and what I have acknowledged I have signed." Aaron of York. Jornin son of Diaie?witness. ii. W.A.M. No. 6767. (Davis, No. 109, p. 238.) Nottingham, 1253. A quit-claim from Aaron to Raoul de Beaufoy ^DVm in almost identical terms. iii. W.A.M. No. 6754. (Davis, No. 138, p. 280) undated. A polite request from Aaron to the Christian and Jewish Chirographers of Nottingham, that, on receipt of this letter, they should deliver to Walter 1 The Daubenys were prominent barons in the Magna Carta movement. See Dictionary of National Biography, vol. i, p. 234.</page><page sequence="44">154 AARON OF YORK. le Kaverlink2 all the deeds that they could find in the Archa in Aaron's name and in the name of John de Estuteville.3 mainnn *?d pvhmpb t?u1? noan n? mm ifcnnt? t?&amp; omm Kin JIT K^?lBt^KT ]KT? D?31 *??V3 MVU IKS?Dff " I, Aaron the undersigned, peacefully greet the Chirographers of Nottingham, Christian and Jewish, with the request that as soon as you see this my letter you should deliver to Walter le Kaverlink all the sealed documents that you may find in the Archa in my name and in the name of John de Estuteville because he is quit and at peace as my own soul. Aaron of York." APPENDIX IV. STARR IN DURHAM CATHEDRAL LIBRARY (1250). (See photograph, p. 150). Text. Omnibus presens scriptum uisuris uel audituris, deulecres, filius loci de Kent et lorin' frater eius, Iudei ebor', Salutem. Noueritus nos quietos clamasse, pro nobis et heredibus nostris et omnibus iudeis, priorem et Conuentum dunelin ecclesie et domum eorum imperpetuum ab omnibus debitis, et demandis, que dicti prior et conuentus dunelin aliquo tempore debebant nobis uel aliquibus aliis iudeis per cartam uel talliam uel aliquod aliud instrumentum seu obligationem ab origine mundi usque festum apos tolorum petri et pauli anno regni regis Henrici filii regis Iohannis tricesimo quarto. Ita quod nullus iudeus in mundo possit ab eis, uel eorum monasterio, aliquid exigere occasione aliquius debiti, quod dicti prior et conuentus aliquo tempore debebant in iudaismo per aliquod instrumentum usque ad predictum diem apostolorum petri et pauli. Volumus, eciam, et concedimus et presenti scripto testamus quod si aliquod scriptum uel aliud munimentum inueniatur penes nos uel aliquem alium iudeum super aliquo debito contingente dictum priorem et conuentum uel domum eorundem ab origine mundi usque ad predictum diem, sicut predictum est, irritum et cassum habcatur et nos dictum scriptum falsum esse ostendemus et dictum priorem et conuentum et domum, eorum indempnes conseruabimus. In cuius rei testimonium littera ebraica nostra presens scriptum signauimus. 2 The Chamberlain? Loewe, ii. 67, suggests " le Caberleng." 3 This name occurs in York documents of 1218 and 1219. Rigg, i. 3, 12. Nicholas de Stute ville signed the Magna Carta.</page><page sequence="45">AARON OF YORK. 155 ompm nnsn ntptf miaa nann dhi? h?? '?airm mm oVis; nanna onna amm Vd?i la^rai naa oniaa o^nna nan "jVan irmx iid^1? nwiKi dV?p naw ?Vidi wtd 't ts7 nnw 'in laann nn jar ^Van p ?apn ??ov p trnpbT oapT ??oi*? p pnr iv pna Hoc est sigillum aaronis in testimonio. Translation. To all, who shall see or hear the present writing, Deulecres, son of Jose of Kent and Jorin his brother, Jews of York, Greeting. Know ye, that we have quit-claimed for ourselves and for our heirs and for all Jews, the Prior4 and Convent of the Church of Durham and their house for ever, of all debts and demands, which the said Prior and Convent of Durham were owing to us at any time, or to any other Jews, by charter, tally or any other instrument or obligation, from the beginning of the world to the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul in the 34th year of the reign of king Henry, son of king John.5 So that no Jew in the world can claim anything from them or their monastery, by occasion of any debt, which the said Prior and convent, at any time were owing in the Jewry by any instrument (whatever) up to the aforesaid day of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Moreover, we will and grant and testify in the present writing, that if any charter or other record be found with us or with any other Jew in respect of any debt touching the said Prior and Convent, or the house of the same, from the beginning of the world to the above mentioned day, as aforesaid, it stands null and void and we shall show the said charter to be false and we shall maintain safe from damage the said Prior and Convent and their house. In testimony whereof, we have signed the present writing in our Hebrew character. Hebrew : We, the undersigned, make unqualified acknowledgment that the Prior and Convent of Durham are quit from all debt from us and from our heirs and from all other Jews from the creation of the world to the feast (seven days) of Peter and Paul in the 34th year of the coronation of our Lord the king Henry the son of king John and this we have sealed in four lines and a half. Deulecress son of Jose of Kent: Jornin son of Jose of Kent: Aaron? witness. This is the seal of Aaron in testimony. (Attached are strings belonging to the missing seal.) 4 Bertram de Middleton (1244-1258). The Prior of the Monastery of Durham was confirmed in office by the Bishop who at this time was Walter de Kirkham, dean of York (1249-1260)1 5 i.e., 29th June, 1250.</page></plain_text>

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