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Antonio Fernandes Carvajal's grandmother

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 43, 2011 Antonio Fernandes Carvajal's grandmother EDGAR SAMUEL Antonio Fernandes Carvajal, the founder of the modern Jewish community in Britain, was born in about 15961 and brought up in Fund?o, Portugal's cloth-producing town, for in 1656 he certified that he knew the parents and kindred of Antonio Rodrigues Robles in Fund?o.2 He lived and traded in the Canaries and Rouen and settled in London in about 1635. Having been baptized as a child in Portugal, where the profession or practice of Judaism was a capital crime, he and his wife conformed to Roman Catholic practice, while secretly observing Jewish rites in the privacy of their home. In London, as a subject of the King of Spain, Carvajal attended Mass at the Spanish Ambassador's chapel, but when England went to war with Spain in 1654, he and his sons took English nationality by endenization.3 They then converted to open Judaism, taking the names of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob on circumcision. Carvajal leased a house in Creechurch Lane, Aldgate, which he fitted out as a synagogue, and he leased land at Mile End for a Jewish cemetery. When he died, in 1659, he was buried there.4 The surname Carvajal is Spanish and means 'oak grove'. This is a trans? lation of the Portuguese word Carvalhal, which also means 'oak grove', by which surname he was known to his correspondents in Brazil5 and when he lived in Rouen.6 There are at least two places in Portugal named Carvalhal, one near the town of Barcelos and one three kilometers north of the city of Viseu. In the sixteenth century this was not described as a town or village but as a place, where a tin and pewter fair was held. It was usual for Portuguese men with common surnames like Fernandes, Lopes, Mendes, Nunes or Rodrigues to be distinguished from each other by adding their family place of origin to their surname. For example, the Rodrigues Mogadouro family came from the town of Mogadouro. The Rodrigues 1 In 1653 he gave his age as fifty-seven. Trans JHSE XXIV (1976) 52, citing HCA 13/70. 2 Calendar of State Papers Interregnum cxxvi/ 105II, cited in Trans JHSE I (1895) 79. 3 W. A. Shaw (ed.) Letters ofDenization and Acts of Naturalisation . . . 1603-1700, Publication of the Huguenot Society XVIII (1911) 68. 4 Trans JHSE Mise VI (1962) 4. 5 J. Goncales Salvador, Os Crist?os-Novos e 0 Comercio no Atl?ntico Meridional 1530-1680 (S?o Paolo 1978)267. 6 C. Roth, 'Les Marranes ? Rouen: un chapitre ignore de Phistoire des Juifs de France', Revue des etudes juives (1929). 5i</page><page sequence="2">Edgar Samuel Miranda family came from Miranda do Douro (according to David Rodgrigues Miranda). The surname Fernandes Carvalhal points to a fore? bear living in Carvalhal. Since it was a small place, Carvalhal is an unusual surname. In 1568 the Coimbra Inquisition arrested one Leonor Nunes, the wife of Antonio Fernandes, a shoemaker of Carvalhal, and convicted her of aposta? tizing to Judaism. It is the Sephardi custom for the eldest son to be named after his paternal grandfather.7 The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that Antonio Fernandes Carvalhal alias Carvajal, who settled in London, was the grandson of Antonio Fernandes of Carvalhal and of his wife, Leonor Nunes. It was the purpose of the Inquisition to force New Christians to abandon Judaism and to conform to Roman Catholic belief and practice. There was no way that the Inquisitors could arrest and try all the thirty or forty thou? sand New Christians living in sixteenth-century Portugal (the Poll Tax indicated a Jewish population of 30,000 in 1496),8 so their method was to visit a town or village, attend the Sunday Mass and read out an Edict of Faith, listing a series of Jewish practices and urging people, as a religious duty, to report any evidence they had of any person still following Judaism. The denunciations that they collected were then followed up by the arrest and interrogation of the accused New Christians. In 1568 the City of Lamego must have been subjected to such an Inquisitors' Visitation. Earlier, in 1559, out of a total of 192 New Christians tried and sentenced by the Coimbra Inquisition for apostasy to Judaism, 135 were from Lamego.9 On 16 August 1568 Violante da Costa was interrogated. She stated that six years before (in 1562) she had communicated the Ten Days of the Fast of Quipur and the Three Days of Queen Esther with one Leonor Nunes. They both observed them together in Lisbon with her sister, Britis Lourenco. 'Leonor Nunes is the sister of Heytor Rodrigues, who is a pris? oner here. Leonor's husband is Antonio Rodrigues and they live in the Fair of Carvalhal in the diocese of Viseu.'10 On 15 November 1568 Maria Garcia was interrogated. She stated that five years before (in 1563) she had kept a fast of Quipur without eating until night time, together with Leonor Nunes, wife of Antonio Rodrigues, shoe? maker, who lived in Carvalhal. The two of them observed it in the house of the said Leonor Nunes, New Christian. Her sister Isabel Rodrigues, wife of 7 See Edgar Samuel, At the End of the Earth: Essays on the History of the Jews in England and Portugal (London 2004) 4-6. 8 M. J. Pimenta Ferro Tavares, Osjudeus em Portugal no seculo JVTF(Lisbon 1982) L74. 9 L. de Bivar Guerra, Inventdrio dos processos da Inquisi$?o de Coimbra (Paris 1971) 43-8. 10 This and the following quotations are all from the Coimbra Inquisition Processo 7727, 1569. 52</page><page sequence="3">Antonio Fernandes CarvajaPs grandmother Diogo Rodrigues, a shearer living in the Rua Dalmacave in Lamego, sent them food to eat. On the Eve of Quipur they practised how they were to fast on another day and they declared to each other how they were Jews and made that fast in conformity with the Law of Moses. The Familiars of the Inquisition went to Carvalhal, where they found that Leonor's husband's surname was not Rodrigues but Fernandes. She was arrested, brought to Coimbra, imprisoned and interrogated. A series of denunciations were collected from the other New Christian women impris? oned in the Inquisition's cells, in order to prove that Leonor Nunes was following Jewish practices: On 9 December 1568 Branca Rodrigues testified that in 1561 she had fasted all day for ten days in September, together with Leonor Nunes who was then single. (The Inquisitors seem to have confused the fast on the tenth day after the New Moon of September with an impossible ten-day fast.) On 10 December 1568 Tarasia Gomes testified that in 1561, or 1562, she had kept the fast in September together with Leonor Nunes without eating until night time. On 12 December 1568 Branca Dias Peixota testified that Leonor Nunes was married to Antonio Fernandes, shoemaker, and had a sister named Isabel Rodrigues, married to Diogo Rodrigues, a shearer. On 15 December she testified that in 1559 or 1560, when the day of the Great Fast fell in the month of September, she had fasted together with Leonor Nunez, who lived in Lamego in the Rua da Cruz, in the house of her brother, Heitor Rodrigues, cutter. 'She is now married to a man who lives in the Tin and Pewter Fair [a Feira de Estanho] at Carvalhal.' On 15 December 1568 Leonor Nunes was interrogated about the geneal? ogy of her family, which reads as follows in translation: On the 15th of December 1568, in Coimbra in the Casa de Despacho of the Holy Inquisition, being present, the Inquisitor the Senhor Licentiate Luis Alvares de Oliveira summoned before him a woman who was arrested in the place of Carvalhal in the diocese of Viseu and brought to the prison of the Holy Office, where she is a prisoner and for the oath on the Holy Gospels in which she placed her hand and promised to tell the truth. The Licentiate asked her name, of where she was a native and her present residence. She answered that her name is Lianor Nunez and she would be aged 25 a little more or less. She is a native of Lamego and lives in Carvalhal. Her father was named Gabriel Rodriguez and her mother Britiz Rodriguez, both deceased New Christians who were residents and natives of Lamego. She has no Master or Mistress and has an uncle named Andre Rodriguez shoemaker married with Lianor Nunez, New Christian, who lives in Lamego in the Rua 53</page><page sequence="4">Edgar Samuel da Cruz and now have fled, she does not know where to. She has an aunt called Filipa Rodriguez married to Paul Rodriguez, shopkeeper, New Christian, who lives in Aveiro and has three brothers; One, named Heytor Rodrigues, shoemaker, who is a prisoner in this prison, married to one Isabel Rodrigues, New Christian, also a prisoner, and another named Rodrigo Rodriguez, shoemaker married to Britiz Lourenco, who are in this prison and live in Lamego in the Rua da Cruz, and another named Manuel Rodriguez, resident in the same street, married to Tarasia Gomez a prisoner here and she has one sister named Isabel Rodriguez, married to Diogo Rodriguez, a shearer, who was imprisoned when she was. She is married to Antonio Fernandes, shoemaker, New Christian, and has one son aged three and two daughters, the older one is aged two and she nor any relative has been impris? oned or penanced by the Holy Office, only those now imprisoned in this prison. She is a baptized Christian. It was in the Church of Our Lady of Almacreve in the City of Lamego where she was also anointed. And after she came to years of discretion, she went to Masses, sermons and on Sundays and Saints' days and gave every year to the marked boxes living as a baptized and anointed Christian and saying the Christian prayers and she recited the Pater Noster and Ave Maria, the Creed - making mistakes at certain points - and Salve Regina. On 20 December 1568 Leonor Lopes testified that in 1560 or 1561 she and Leonor Nunes, who then lived with her brother Heitor Rodrigues in the Rua da Cruz in the City of Lamego and was married to Antonio Fernandes, shoemaker, and lived in Carvalhal, had communicated with each other about how to observe the Fast of Quipur without eating until night time. On 20 January 1569 Brites de Li?o testified that in 1559 she had commu? nicated her belief in the Law of Moses to Leonor Nunes sister of Isabel Rodrigues, including an account of all the fasts and how to perform them according to the Law of Moses. On 25 January 1569 Clara Gomes testified that in 1564 she kept the Great Fast and gave an account of how to do it to her Comadre Isabel Rodrigues, wife of Diogo Rodrigues, to her sister Leonor Nunes and to Isabel's daughter Maria Rodrigues 'who is now married to an Old Christian, who also spoke of how they should fast on the said Fast.' On 3 February 1569 Isabel Rodrigues testified that six or seven years ago (in 1562 or 1563) Joanna Garcia and Leonor Nunes and she fasted together. On 5 February 1569 Maria Rodrigues of Castro Daire testified that four years ago in 1565 she observed the General Fast with her aunt, Leonor Nunes. On 8 February 1569 Brites de Gouvea testified that in 1563 her sister Violante Gomes and she fasted with Leonor Nunes. 54</page><page sequence="5">Antonio Fernandes Carvajal's grandmother On 23 February 1569 Rodrigo Rodrigues testified that in 1563 he communicated his belief in the Law of Moses to his sisters, Isabel Rodrigues, wife of Diogo Rodrigues, shearer, and Leonor Nunes, wife of Antonio Fernandes, shoemaker, resident in Carvalhal, both prisoners in this prison, and to his niece Maria Rodrigues, also a prisoner in this prison, who married Gaspar de Paiva, Old Christian in Castro Daire, and all kept the Great Fast, which comes in September, in Isabel Rodrigues's house in Lamego. On 20 April 1569 Gracia de Li?o testified that in 1557 or 1559 she observed the Great Fast with a girl named Maria Leonor, New Christian of Lamego, who at that time lived in the Praza and afterwards married. She did not know her husband's name. She was in the house of her sister, Isabel Rodrigues, wife of Diogo Rodrigues, shearer, and both of them carried out the said fast without eating until night time. The information collected in this enquiry led on to the interrogation and sentencing of Leonor Nunes by the Coimbra Inquisition. Leonor Nunes's trial is strange because no fewer than fourteen friends and relations confessed frankly to the Inquisition that they had spent Yom Kippur fast? ing with her, when she was young and single. They were most assiduous in gathering information about her and her family when she was single and aged from fourteen to twenty-one. The Inquisitors did not have any infor? mation about the period after her marriage in 1564, or about her husband's conduct. She admitted fasting on Quipur before her marriage, but made no admissions about the later period and denied having told her husband about her belief in the Law of Moses. The Inquisitors did not torture her and limited themselves to convicting her on the information they had in hand. It is clear that this was a family of humble and industrious artisans. Most of the men were cobblers. The shearer was almost certainly engaged in shearing broadcloth before it was felted. Leonor herself was illiterate and an Inquisitor signed her confession on her behalf. The Inquisition under Cardinal Dom Henrique was very much part of the royal government of Portugal. Its laws and procedure were unjust, as was indeed the case in most sixteenth-century European criminal courts, but the Inquisitors proceeded on the basis of evidence. Leonor Nunes had confessed quite fully and the Inquisitors had sufficient evidence to convict her of apostasy. Prisoners seem to have associated freely with each other, for she knew who was there and they probably agreed together on what to confess. The Inquisitors kept to the rules. Leonor Nunes, New Christian, aged twenty-five, was sentenced by the Coimbra Inquisition in 1569 as follows in translation: 55</page><page sequence="6">Edgar Samuel The Inquisitors, Ordinary and Deputies of the Holy Office etc. seeing these acts and the confession of Lyanor Nunez, New Christian, wife of Antonio Fernandez shoemaker, inhabitant of Carvalhal, accused prisoner who is pres? ent, because she showed that being a baptized Christian and obliged to have and to believe in our Holy Catholic Faith and Evangelic Law, she did the contrary, separating herself from it and passing herself to the Law of Moses and its rites and ceremonies after the last General Pardon having belief in it and she hoped to save herself in it, keeping Saturdays from work, avoiding work on them, fasting on the fast of Quipur, which comes in the month of September and other Jewish fasts without eating all day until night time, like a Jewess, and as such she did not believe in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ not having him as God and all the things she did as a Christian were to complement the world without having any belief in them, remaining in the belief of her errors and heresies for many years, until being taken prisoner by the Holy Office, and to confess them communicating them with other persons of her nation. Seeing all of which, with other acts they declare that the Accused was a heretic apostate from our Holy Faith and incurred major excommunication and further penalties in law established against such and the confiscation of all her possessions applied to the Fisc and Royal Chamber. And seeing that she has used salutary advice, confessed her faults, asking for pardon and mercy, they receive the said Lianor Nunez into reconciliation and union with the Holy Mother Church as she asks and they order that she abjures her heretical errors in form and in pain and penitence for them they assign her to prison and perpetual penitential garment in which she will be well taught the matters of Faith necessary for the salvation of her soul and they order that she shall be absolved from the said excommunication in forma ecclesiae.11 Leonor Nunes went out in the auto da fe in the public square in Coimbra on 24 July 1569 together with her brothers, sister and their spouses. Five New Christians were burnt at the stake, namely: Antonio de Coimbra, New Christian Merchant of Oporto - inadequate confession [Dimin to] Francisco de Chaves, New Christian of the town of Pereira in this diocese - inadequate confession Antonia Rodrigues, unmarried of the City of Lamego - inadequate confes? sion Isabel Fernandes, New Christian wife of Manoel Fernandes, Cutter of Lamego - inadequate confession 11 E. Azevedo Mea (ed.) Sentengass da Inquisig?o de Coimbra .... (Oporto 1982) 118. 56</page><page sequence="7">Antonio Fernandes CarvajaPs grandmother Martha Rodrigues, New Christian, widow of Alvaro Nunes, trader of Torre de Monc?rvo - for denying her guilt [Negativa].12 There is nothing exceptional about the trial of Leonor Nunes. After she went out in the auto da fe she was instructed in saying the standard Catholic prayers and returned to her husband, wearing the sambenito costume of a convicted heretic. It was no longer safe for them to remain in a small place like Carvalhal. The risk of being denounced to the Inquisition a second time was too great, and a second conviction for Judaism could lead to Antonio Fernandes's arrest, the confiscation of his property or to Leonor's execution. A move to Fund?o with its larger New Christian population of cloth workers, would make it possible to resume a normal life with less risk of a re-arrest. Unfortunately, the names of her children are not stated in the Inquisition processo. If her three-year-old son survived, he would have been aged thirty one in 1596, when Antonio Fernandes Carvalhal alias Carvajal was born. Furthermore, if, as seems highly probable, he was the grandson of Antonio Fernandes, the shoemaker of Carvalhal, then Leonor Nunes was his paternal grandmother. Despite Leonor's conviction for Judaism by the Inquisitors, the tradition of secret Judaism persisted in the family and her grandson's loyalty to Judaism was manifested in his establishment of the synagogue in Creechurch Lane, Aldgate, in 1656, ninety-eight years after her arrest. 12 From the unpublished 'Lists of the Coimbra Inquisition', courtesy of Joy Oakley. THE RODRIGUES FAMILY OF LAMEGO Gabriel Rodriguez = Britiz Rodriguez Deceased by 1568 Heitor Rodrigues Rodrigo Rodrigues Leonor Nunes Isabel Rodrigues Manoel Rodrigues Shoemaker Isabel Rodrigues Shoemaker t&gt;1543 - = = Diogo Rodrigues Britiz Lourenco Antonio Fernandes Shearer d.o. Shoemaker Duarte Fernandes in Carvalhal deceased Son b. 1565 daughter b. 1566 daughter b.1568 Maria Rodrigues wife of Gaspar de Paiva Old Christian Shoemaker Tarasia Gomes Antonio Fernandes Carvajal (1596-1656) 57</page></plain_text>