top of page
< Back

Eighteenth-Century Anglo-Jewry In and Around Richmond, Surrey

Rachel Daiches-Dubens

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Eighteenth Century Anglo-Jewry in and around Richmond, Surrey 1 By Rachel Daiches-Dubens "/ am enchanted with Richmond Green . . . I should like to let my house and live there. It is still and sweet, charming alike in summer and winter'9. Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. IAM very grateful for the great honour the Jewish Historical Society have bestowed upon me in asking me to deliver this lecture, on the same platform which my dear Father, Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, occupied so often in the past, and to whose memory I dedicate this paper. It is a further honour that my subject has been selected by the Council as a lecture in memory of a great lady in Anglo-Jewry whose family has been linked in friendship with mine for many years. I wish to express my thanks to many eminent and busy friends who were never too busy to answer my queries and offer me snippets, and also to the many libraries and authorities2, who gave their services unstintingly. I should like to thank my husband for his help during the two years' work on this subject, and for the photographs he took of the eighteenth century houses still existing today. THE VILLAGE OF RICHMOND The ancient village of Scheen had its name changed to Richmond in 1500 by com? mand of Henry VII, who was Earl of Richmond in Yorkshire. It then grew in size and importance around the Royal Manor House which Henry rebuilt after its destruction by fire. There was a succession of Royal tenants?James II was the last. At the beginning of our period White Lodge had been built by George I, and the remains of the Royal Palace had been parcelled into private residences. To the people of London, Richmond was a country town, near enough to be enjoyed by them. Unlike other places close-by, it had the advantages of being surrounded by beautiful parkland; it had an exquisite position on the River Thames. Amongst the people of substance of the day, Richmond was one of the towns that had considerable snob-appeal. It had a long-standing reputation as a Royal Borough, and the mansion-houses, and what a house-agent would call bijou-estates, were beauti? fully laid out, and undoubtedly those residents who were more concerned with commercial activities in the City rather than running large estates, found its nearness most convenient, especially when it was possible within a short distance of London, to entertain influential nobility and Royalty. Richmond had no industry or commerce as such, it being completely residential, and I should imagine that the lower classes living in the district were concerned with 1 The Lady Magnus Memorial Lecture delivered before The Jewish Historical Society of England on May 17th, 1954. 2 A list of them is appended to this paper. H3</page><page sequence="2">144 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY service to the nobility, game-keeping and forestry in the local parks and woodlands, and general works on the river. There was a regular River service, bringing high society and wealthy middle-class on leisurely trips to enjoy the benefits of the local colour. One could spend some hours in the Pump Room of its wells or perhaps listen to a concert, or attend a ball, both of which were advertised as taking place "at Richmond Wells every Monday and Thursday evening during the Summer Season", or perhaps during the morning take a cup of coffee in White's Coffee House on the Green, where politics and local gossip would be liberally dispensed, and from where one perhaps might return to London late that night by boat "Tide permitting" with a tasty morsel of scandal. There was the local theatre on the hill where the drama of the day could be enjoyed with the added distinction of its surrounding. Needless to say, Jews of the time who had managed to amass fortunes since their return to England not long before, recognized in Richmond a handy side-entrance into English Society, as well as the possibility of keeping an eye on their thriving business concerns in the City of London, and at the same time adopting the residence and style of country gentlemen. For Jews this was a new mode of life, especially when we realize that many of them had actually come to this country from the ghettoes and oppressed communities of Europe, or were already wealthy merchants of Spain and Portugal. Through religious persecution they had never been able to enjoy their wealth or achieve any social distinc? tion. The religious and social freedom that they were experiencing must still have been a great novelty, and those industrious enough and fortunate enough to be earning great wealth were now in a position to spend it, instead of hiding it in chests and never using it. Many must have run riot in their speedy attempts to catch up socially with the long-established and noble English families now their equals in wealth. This was the picture at the end of the seventeenth century, when Solomon de Medina, the great army contractor, the first Jew to have lived in Richmond, the first professing Jew to be knighted, came to feel the need to provide himself with a country residence and style as befitted his new-found status in the circles of government and nobility. Soon after, Moses Hart of Breslau, who had secured himself an appointment as Government agent under Queen Anne, came to Richmond, and established a thriving Jewish household. Many were the Jews who came to follow these early settlers in their pursuit of nobility on holiday. An interesting facet of these Jews of great wealth and quick advancement was their strong religious conviction. De Medina was one of the greatest contributors to the funds of Bevis Marks Synagogue. Moses Hart spent a fortune in the establishment and building of the first Ashkenazi Synagogue. His brother became its first Rabbi. One of the outcomes of this seeking to acquire the veneer of English social esteem and position as country gentlemen, which in those days of a new-found freedom must have been an obsession, was that some of their descendants came to marry into that very nobility, thereby acquiring a title and sometimes bringing the necessary wealth to go with it. From the essentially Jewish point of view this is regretable, but from a social and historical point of view a remarkable feat, since one can find first and second genera? tion descendants of immigrants from Spanish, Polish and Dutch refugees of political and religious persecution and segregation bearing long-established English titles. I think that taking London as the centre, Richmond has probably played the greatest</page><page sequence="3"></page><page sequence="4">EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY 145 part in the social advancement of the early Jews and their quick acceptance without hindrance into Royal and noble circles. Needless to say the prime requirement of this movement was great wealth. The arrival of these opulent newcomers made noticeable by their accent and strange names aroused unkind comment, and it will be no novelty for us to learn that there were rather noisy card gatherings during which the surroundings lane were blocked with carriages and the late departures with the slamming of carriage doors and noisy farewells did not go unnoticed. It was rather unfortunate, that at about this time there was a considerable amount of antagonism to the Jews on the part of the general public, as they were objecting to the passing of the "Jew Bill" through Parliament which enabled Jews to apply to Parlia? ment for naturalisation. In Richmond in 1753 they made themselves known to such effect that a correspondent of The Gray's Inn Journal for Saturday, June 9th, 1753 was caused to write : "The last accounts from Richmond inform us that all the Butchers at that place will shortly be obliged to stop payment, on account of the stagnation in their business, occasioned by the number of Jews, who have fixed their residence in that elegant situation". However, I must point out that this is only one point of view, and I was very happy to find the following taken from letters written by one John Macky who later published them in book-form under the title A Journey Through England?had this to say about Richmond : "I had almost forgot to tell you, that here are mineral purging waters, which in Summer bring a great deal of good Company to the Wells, where there is dancing, and other publick Diversions, every Monday and Thursday, during the Season; and this is the ordinary Summer Residence of the richest Jews, some of whom have pleasant Seats here." And later in another letter he writes : "Indeed the month that I employed in the neighbourhood of Richmond afforded me as much Variety and Delight as I could wish. Here are Men of all Professions and all Religions, Jews and Gentiles, Papists and Dissenters, so that be one's Inclination what it will, you find in every Village thereabouts some of your own stamp to converse with." HERRING COURT Herring Court?or Heron Court?as it is known today, is a charming little cul-de-sac off Hill Street about 20 yards from the road onto Richmond Bridge, but around 1710 when Moses Hart took up residence in the first house on the left facing the River, there was no bridge?only a ferry. Hart's house is the first known residence of a Jew in Richmond, although in 1697 Solomon de Medina lived there. We know this from the writings of Luttrell, a Court and social Chronicler of the day, who in his book Brief Relations of State Affairs records it in an entry under the date Saturday, 18 November 1699 : "His majestie went to Hampton Court where he will stay till Wednesday; and dined with Mr. Medina, a rich Jew, at Richmond". The following year Medina was knighted by the King at Hampton Court. Solomon de Medina was known as a Merchant and Banker and as an army contractor who also had dealings with the Government chiefly through the Duke of Marlborough. Amongst many of his dealings he had secured the Contract for supplying bread and bread waggons to the British Services in the field. This he personally managed and I think it was chiefly in return for this contract that he assessed the friendship of the Duke of</page><page sequence="5">146 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY Marlborough at ?6,000 a year. Outside his business dealings he was a good Jew, with a very ready and generous hand, especially when it came to supporting the funds of the Bevis Marks Synagogue, which he did for the whole of his life from a very early age* And no doubt those who were in need could always rely on him for help. Medina enjoyed his establishment in Richmond and made maximum use of it by entertaining anyone of influence or use, that would care to come. He remained there until 1702 when he returned to live in Holland. Unhappily there are many gaps in the local public records, and the Rate Books, one of the chief sources of names in any place, are only complete as far back as 1737, due to fire, bombing, flooding and neglect. We do know about Moses Hart living in Herring Court because I found the original Deeds of The Royal Hotel, which was formed in 1786 out of Hart's house and the house next door, and Hart is mentioned as the tenant for some years before 1716. I feel I must comment here that it is almost certain that there were more Jews in Richmond at the time, because both Medina and Hart were orthodox men, and would probably not have existed in Richmond without the availability of a Minyan. This of course is not conclusive proof, but it is known that people of orthodox conviction at the time did have regular services in their own homes. Moses Hart leased his house from one Vincent Sheppard?a wealthy Richmond property owner. It overlooked the Thames and had a most wonderful view up the River to Twickenham. It also had a terrace behind, with a garden leading down to the water's edge?a very choice position. The house was one of the three which constituted Royal Terrace, and were built towards the end of the 17th century and are still standing to this day. Although in 1763 these houses formed the Royal Hotel, they again became private houses in the 19th century, and strange to relate at this moment they have been reformed into a hotel now known as the Palm Court Hotel, where over the door the Licencee's name is inscribed "Mr. Mendes da Costa". I have visited this establishment and found the occupants completely unaware of the early tenants. Moses Hart's cousin was Benjamin Levy, a wealthy man who had speculated in land in New Jersey, though these were lost to his heirs at the time of the American Rebellion, and from the end of this War to the present day much of his property remains unclaimed. Benjamin Levy died in 1702, and Elias Levy, his elder son, became the Ward of Moses Hart, and from an early age was a frequent visitor to Herring Court. I should imagine that his sister Abigail also came to Richmond before she married Jacob Franks and settled in America. Hart interested himself with Benjamin Levy in the establishing of the first Ashkenazi cemetery, when he procured a lease for 1,000 years on a plot of ground in Globe Road, Mile End, and it was probably through Benjamin Levy's influence that Hart's enthusiasm for furthering the estabhshment of the Ashkenazi Community was fired. One of Moses Hart's first acts in England after becoming well-established in business, in which he was aided by his cousin, Benjamin Levy, was to bring his brother Aaron here. Aaron was a man of different inclinations to his brother; he was a scholar and Rabbi, already well respected in his own country, and Moses Hart knew that he was the fit man to be the first Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Community in England. Although at the time, there were only about 750 Jews here and only 200 of them were Ashkenazi, Hart was confident that the Community would grow, and was ambitious for it to equal in importance and weight the Sephardi Congregation. In addition to the</page><page sequence="6">EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY 147 Cemetery there was already established a small House of Worship, and there is no doubt that Aaron Hart did good work for the Community and was held in high esteem. Moses Hart was in the habit of inviting his brother together with other members of the Community, to enjoy the hospitality of his establishment in Richmond, where it was the custom to hold services in the house. They must have formed quite a congregation and we can but imagine these Doyens and founders of the Ashkenazi Community, talking and planning its development whilst strolling along the banks of the River or up the Hill towards the Wells. Elias Levy, who since his Father's death was the ward of Moses Hart, preferred the society of his guardian and friends rather than the small Rabbi's house in which he was living with a view to taking up a rabbinic career. However, it was not long before Elias decided that the Ministry was not his metier, having always aspired to business and high finance. Shortly after Moses Hart left Richmond in 1716 with the intention of moving to Isleworth, two more Jews came to live in Herring Court. One Moses Medina, nephew of Sir Solomon de Medina, took a lease of the house that Hart had lived in. The other was Isaac Fernandes Nunes who lived in what is now called Hotham House, named after Admiral Hotham, who was a subsequent tenant to Nunes, and which today houses the Borough Surveyor. Nunes was a well-known and wealthy London merchant. He died 16 years after coming to Richmond. He was a Gabay at Bevis Marks and later a Warden. Nunes was next door but one to Moses de Medina in this exclusive terrace of houses, and I find much delight in contemplating the fact that the gentleman who owned the house in the middle was Sir Philip Jackson, a Director of the Bank of England, and I should imagine that Messrs. Medina and Nunes followed a "good-neighbour" policy much to their advantage. In fact it is hard to visualise such a situation ever repeating itself, where two ambitious hard-headed and shrewd Jewish merchants, with everything to gain?with a director of the Bank of England living between them. However, we do know details of one enterprise in which they were all participants together with a Dr. Caleb Cotesworth who lived in the house that is now part of Richmond Town Hall. They subscribed to a Bill of Complaint against Thomas Eggar and sub? sequently William Collins, leaseholders of a neighbouring Alehouse, who had erected an ale brewhouse with a copper in it and a large chimney, in which they were wont to brew about four or five barrels and more of drink per day for use in their alehouse, and as outlined in the Bill of Complaint, the top of the chimney was on a level with the first floor of the houses in Heron Court, and the "smoak, filth, and stench", would injure the fruit and plants in their gardens, spoil the furniture, render the house unhealthy, and otherwise lower the value of the neighbourhood, and prove of great prejudice to the manor of Richmond. It seems that they were not successful in reducing this nuisance, as the chimney is still standing today. ACROSS THE RIVER By 1716 Moses Hart with his large family and considerable income, felt that his Home in Heron Court was too small, and whilst still maintaining a London house in St. Mary Axe, a property he never relinquished, he began to look around for a freehold residence with some land, as the house in Heron Court had been leasehold and there had been no grounds.</page><page sequence="7">148 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JE WRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY By 1718 he acquired a residence which must have satisfied his yearning for a place big enough to accommodate his large family in comfort, and with an aspect that matched his means. The house was situated across the River from Richmond, adjacent to the village of Isleworth, and was a palatial mansion standing in several acres of well-arranged grounds. He subsequently improved this property by adding extra wings to it, but above all other considerations it was freehold and therefore could remain for the benefit of his family. The house was previously owned by General Stanhope, It was adjacent to the property of Isleworth House owned by the Franks family, but unfortunately does not exist to this day. However, on the site once occupied by Hart's house stands Gordon House which today is being used as a Ladies' Training College. John Macky, in his book entitled A Journey Through England wrote ; "Moses Hart the Jew, hath a noble seat and offices in this village, with fine gardens, inferior to few Palaces". Hart lived here with his wife, five daughters and only son, but unfortunately for him his especial pride and joy was taken away, when Hyman, the son who had been ailing^ from childhood, died at Bath where he had been convalescing. A cutting from a local paper dated Wednesday, 16th August, 1738 reads : "Died Mr. Hart of Isleworth, a gentleman of a considerable estate and son to Moses Hart, Esq., the Jew at Isleworth". Unfortunately there are very few press notices concerning activities at Hart's home, except that it was recorded that they experienced a fire there, it seems it was bad enough to have been noticed, but not bad enough for any record of damage or loss. Of Moses Hart's five daughters, three subsequent to their marriage lived very nearby, and one may assume that they were a very happy and united family. Bilah Hart married Aaron Franks and lived next door in Isleworth House, still standing today in perfect repair without any change whatsoever. Judith Hart married Elias Levy, her Father's Ward (once a frequent visitor to the Hart household in Heron Court), and eventually settled in Richmond, of whom more later. Isabella and Rachel, married two Adolphus brothers, Jacob and Michael. Rachel and Michael lived a number of years in Richmond. Simcha Hart, also known as Frances, married Aaron Franks' brother, Isaac, who had a fine town house. A rather interesting notice as regards this marriage appeared in the Original Weekly Journal in 1719 as follows : "Engagements. November 7th. We hear a marriage is on foot between Mr. Isaac Franks and a Daughter of Mr. Moses Hart, the two Gentlemen who got the twenty thousand pound prize in the present lottery; so that by virtue of this agreement Mr. Franks is to have the whole twenty thousand pound". And it is interesting to note that this money must have been put to good use, for at the time of his death reported in 1739 there was a notice in the European Magazine as follows : "Isaac Franks Esq., a Jew Merchant, worth 300,0001, who for several years past has given 50001 per Annum to the poor." The London Magazine added that he was "equally eminent for Riches and an excellent good Character, and particularly charitable, as well to Christians as Jews." Moses Hart's home in Isleworth was always full of people; for his family and friends, there was the ever open door, and no-one who knew him ever hesitated to take advantage of this. The voices of his children and grandchildren echoed through his home. And well on into the nineteenth century, there were always various members</page><page sequence="8">CATALOGUE OF THE GENUINE and ENTIRE COLLECTION O F Italian, Fkmi?) and Dutch PICTURES, Two magnificent large Sconces, and a curious OElave Spinnet. O F Moses Hart, Efq; Late of Ifleworth, in the County of Middlesex, ?&gt;ccc&lt;ifcD; Which, (by Order of the Executors) Will be fold by A U C T I O N, By Mr. LANGFORD, At hi:-. Houle in the Great 'Piazza, O^eut Garde?/, On Wednefday the 23d of this Inftant March 1757. The faid Collection may be view\l on Monday the 2 1 ft: Ii.ihnr, and till the" Time of Sale, which will begin punctually at Twelve o'Clock. C; a t a l o g ? l s of which may be had at Mr. LANGFORD'*, in the Great Piazza aforefaid. \ CONDITIONS of SALE as ufual. N. B. / '.r the Accommodation cf the Nobility and Gentry, Mr. Lakcford has enfi*J \ ? Civer:^ oi\r the Stone Pa (Tage and Staircafc leading up to his Auction Room. L _ _ The Sale Catalogue of Moses Hart's Pictures</page><page sequence="9"></page><page sequence="10">EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY 149 of the family, or those of his sons-in-law, living in the neighbourhood. The name Franks was extremely well-known all over the district of Isleworth, Teddington and Mortlake, and I shall have a good deal to say of them further on. Moses Hart's residence in Isleworth was in such style that it was worthy of inclusion in a set of engraved views of great houses on the banks of the River Thames visible from Richmond Hill. It was bracketed in this series with the establishments of the Earl of Radnor and the Countess of Suffolk and others. They were drawn by famous engravers of the day and published at the price of "1/- plain or 2/- neatly coloured". So we may conclude that Moses Hart in this acquisition had made his mark socially, in that he possessed an establishment ranking with the noblest. An interesting snippet reads as follows : "Last Friday afternoon, as Mr. Gonzales, an eminent Jew Merhcant, was going to Richmond, in company with some Gentlemen and Ladies, they were attacked on Barnes Common, by a single Highwayman well mounted, who robbed them of their watches and considerate sums of money. Five coaches were robbed within an hour by the same man". I think that it is a reasonable assumption and a pleasant thought, that Mr. Jacob Nunes Gonzales and company, were hastening to join Moses Hart for the week-end, and hoping to be in time for the commencement of the Sabbath, as of course Hart held religious service in his own home, and made a point of having his friends around him. For a long, long time, it has been generally accepted that in 1750 Moses Hart left his home in Isleworth to move back to Richmond. No doubt this conclusion was encouraged by the fact that he was known to own property there which he purchased about the year 1750. It was the site in Palace Lane?a very choice position which originally had formed part of Richmond Palace?where 20 years later, Asgill House was built for a Lord Mayor of London, Sir Charles Asgill. It is interesting to know that Asgill House still carries the Cohen Coat of Arms above its front door, and that Sir Andrew Cohen, present (1956) Governor of Uganda, was born there. On the river end of the property there were stables and a brewery. There were also two other houses in Palace Lane, and no doubt Moses Hart derived quite an income from his investment as it was all very profitably leased out. There is no record of Moses Hart ever having lived on this site, although later he gave one of the houses to his daughter Rachel, married to Michael Adolphus, who were childless. Their house was situated between Trumpeter's House and the corner of Palace Lane. Unfortunately, this part of the property was bombed in the 1939-45 war, and has not been touched since. However, it is possible to see this house in an engraving of the period. I have found ample proof to show that Moses Hart remained in Isleworth until his death on 19th November, 1756. Firstly, there is in existence the catalogue of the sale of his paintings. On the cover is printed : "Moses Hart of Isleworth". Secondly, in a codicil to his Will it defines Moses Hart as of St. Mary Axe and of Isleworth. The sale of the paintings took place on Wednesday, 23rd March, 1757. In his Will Moses Hart left his Lands at Richmond and Isleworth (and Topsfield) to his daughters. To Judith Levy he left his Horses and Coach. In the codicil to his Will it states that he left his furniture to Judith Levy, and the house at Richmond to his daughter Rachel and Michael Adolphus. One further interesting point about this codicil is recorded by Sir Thomas Colyer-Ferguson, who devoted a considerable amount of his talents and time to compiling K</page><page sequence="11">150 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY archives of notable Anglo-Jewish families. In his notes on Moses Hart I discovered the following : "On 24th December, 1756, John Botley and Susannah Hughes, both of Isleworth and servants of Moses Hart of St. Mary Axe but of Isleworth, state they found a book bound in red leather with clasps being Riders British Mertin for 1756 in which they found Codicil behind a looking glass". Moses Hart in his lifetime rendered one great service to the Anglo-Jewish Com? munity for which his name will always be remembered, and that was the fantastic effort he exerted in playing an almost single-handed role in the building and financing of the Great Synagogue in Duke's Place, London. It was opened in the year 1722, and from then on he took a prominent part in its management and communal matters associated with it. Later three of his sons-in-law became the first wardens, and his brother Aaron was its first Rabbi. Altogether, a notable milestone in the history of Anglo-Jewry had been reached, all the more remark? able for being virtually the work of one man. FRANKS IN ISLEWORTH There must have been many Jews who lived in Richmond in the eighteenth century, but the ones we really do know about were relative giants, and I think one of the families with the largest ramifications was the Franks family, which seemed to suffer from in marriage as much as any Royal Family. One can only conclude that it was either because there was a lack of suitable matches, or an intense wish to keep their wealth and connec? tions within the bounds of the one family. It would be possible to devote a separate work to their history, but in this chapter I will be referring only to those who lived on the other side of the River from Richmond, at Isleworth and Teddington. There were some more who lived in Mortlake, but of them later. Abraham Franks, a rich broker of Duke's Place in the city, and his wife Abigail, a sister of Moses Hart, had five sons and one daughter. Two sons Aaron and Isaac married two of Moses Hart's daughters, Bilah and Simcha (Frances). A strange piece of inter-marrying between cousins?a practice never recommended today in the light of our more modern knowledge on eugenics and heredity. Aaron Franks and his wife Bilah came to live in Isleworth on a property adjoining Moses Hart's new home. The Frank's house was a beautiful mansion called "Isleworth House" and remained in Aaron Franks' family for over a century. It stands to this day in its original form, although the surrounding views and properties have changed. Moses Hart's house has disappeared, and on the site of it now stands Gordon House. Isleworth House is now occupied by the Nuns of Nazareth who use it as a Home for the Infirm. They have also built a Children's Orphanage and a Chapel on the property. I have visited the Nuns there and was very impressed with the wonderful work they are doing, and I do feel that it is through their care that the house is in such a wonderful state of preservation. It has a stone-flagged and pillared entrance-hall with a beautifully carved oak staircase sweeping up in two wings, and off the Hall are two fine reception rooms with bay-windows overlooking the River. And as far as is visible, the only change is an unobtrusive installation of central-heating. In the dining-room can be seen a carved pelmet after the style of Grinling Gibbons which has probably never been touched since it was installed.</page><page sequence="12">EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY 151 THE FRANKS IN ISLEWORTH, TEDDINGTON, AND MORTLAKE ISLEWORTH Isleworth House Aaron Franks m. Bilah Hart Phila m. Moses Franks * (from America) Priscilla m. Jacob Franks (from America; Isabella m. Rev. Sir William Cooper *lived in Teddington MORTLAKE Barnes Terrace Naphtali Franks m. Phila Franks (from America) (niece of Aaron Franks) Charlotte Abigail Jacob Henry m. Miss Roper Margaret George H. Emma John F. I think it is a very happy thought that two families so closely connected should live on adjoining properties of such magnificence, and it is recorded that many musical evenings and social functions that took place there, would have been by our contemporary standards, of unimaginable magnificence. And it was the practice to invite the great artists of the day to come and entertain at these gatherings. Aaron Franks, whose city address was Billiter Square, was a very wealthy diamond merchant, who made a habit of lending or hiring his jewellery to the gentry and nobility for great social occasions ; he even lent his most precious stones for the crown used at King George IPs Coronation. This activity was recorded by Horace Walpole, a friend and subsequent neighbour.</page><page sequence="13">152 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY In a letter dated 1742 to Sir Horace Mann, he writes of the Princess of Wales?that at a Masquerade at Norfolk House she "was vastly bejewelled; Franks had lent her forty thousand pounds' worth, and refused to be paid for the hire, only desiring that she would tell whose they were". Walpole, who in 1774 lived in Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, also recorded : "This morning I was at a very fine concert at old Franks' at Isleworth, and heard Leoni, who pleased me more than anything I have heard these hundred years". Aaron and Bilah had one son and two daughters, Phila, one of the daughters, was known as a great beauty. Reynolds painted her in 1766 on her twenty-first birthday. Phila married her cousin Moses Franks, the son of Aaron's brother Jacob Franks of New York, and Abigail, sister of Elias Levy. Jacob had followed his Uncle Benjamin to New York, but his three sons Naphtali, Moses, and later David, came to England and made their homes in Mortlake, Teddington, and Isleworth. Phila and Moses Franks bought a house in Teddington, and their only child Isabella will figure prominently later. The Moses Franks household was very happy and very popular. They often exchanged visits with Horace Walpole as was noted by Rev. William Cole, a frequent visitor to Strawberry Hill: "Mr. Franks, the Jew, also called on Sunday morning to ask him to a concert, where his daughter who is an incomparable hand was to be the chief performer". Aaron Franks' other daughter, Priscilla, married her second cousin Jacob Franks, also from New York. At this point Jacob's father, David Franks, came to live in Isle? worth House after the death of Aaron Franks in 1777. And when David died, he recorded with grateful thanks the attention accorded him by his son and daughter-in-law in his Will dated 1785 : "I give to my son Jacob Franks 800 acres of any lands I own and I give my son Jacob this preference to the rest of my children for his and wife's very kind attention to me." In 1787, Isabella, daughter of Moses and Phila Franks of Teddington married by special licence a non-Jew, William Henry Cooper, when they were both minors, at 7 Cavendish Square, the home of the bridegroom. Obviously Moses Franks and Cooper's father, Sir Grey Cooper, Bart., came to an amicable understanding on the relationship between money and nobility. Many years later Isabella's husband became Chaplain-in Ordinary to George III. A year after Priscilla Franks' death, we find Isleworth House in possession of Isabella and her husband, now Sir William and Lady Cooper, and as Isabella's parents, Moses and Phila Franks of Teddington were both dead, she was next in fine of inheritance to this family property. As we see by a notice concerning the death of Moses Franks in The Scots Magazine of 1789 Sir William Cooper did himself very well in the end. "By his death Mr. Cooper (son of Sir Grey) who lately married his (Moses Franks) daughter becomes entitled to above ?70,000, the rest of the fortune, if Mrs. Franks dies unmarried, will to the amount of ?100,000 more devolve on that gentleman." The local affiliations of the Franks families in Isleworth and Teddington and Mort? lake were certainly not insular. They all made a point, very successfully it seems, of becoming local popular figures. And this popularity resulted in considerable material gain to the local deserving and needy. A good example in this direction is contained in Priscilla Franks' Will, in which she left ?200 to the Ministers and Churchwardens of the Parish of Isleworth to be distributed to the local poor, and ?50 to the Trustees of two local almshouses.</page><page sequence="14"></page><page sequence="15">Wonderful museum . Auch Jewess usually called TAo Quetft ofilzcfonondCrem</page><page sequence="16">EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY 153 In Aungier's History of Syon and Isleworth is written : "The poor of the neighbour? hood speak in glowing terms of the innumerable acts of kindness and charity which they experience from the liberal possessor of Isleworth House". The various owners of Isleworth House were very proud of this wonderful residence and obviously did much to improve and enhance it. Priscilla Franks, at the turn of the century, had purchased and pulled down some old houses and cottages, and part of the old Isleworth Road, in order to enlarge and improve the grounds; and extend them down to the water's edge. She had a new road built, and a high wall now surrounded the estate. When Sir William and Lady Cooper took up residence there, they improved and altered it greatly "and fitted it up in admirable style". After his death, Isabella, his widow, also had the house "thoroughly repaired and beautified". When she was visited by William IV he admired the scene from Isleworth House; Thorne in his Environs of London writes that to improve it and in obedience to the King's instructions "the Syon Vista in Kew Gardens was cut in order to open a view of the pagoda and observatory to the front of the house". It is unfortunate that this record of the Franks family presents such a series of confusing relationships. As not only did they all marry each other and live in each other's houses, but the whole family seemed to restrict itself to the use of a very Umited number of names, I have found it very difficult to paint a clear picture of their progress within my period, and it is for that reason I have drawn a family tree. In general the Franks family were good, but I feel that their Jewish convictions were not quite so pronounced as in the case of their immediate forbears, although several of them were Wardens of the Great Synagogue; it seems to me that a conscious effort was being made at assimilation. I think this naturally followed on with the ambition to ally their great wealth to noble position and prestige in the community. It is recorded that Priscilla, Jacob and David were all buried in Isleworth Parish Cemetery. I do not admit of any good reason to condone the activities in this direction by the Franks families, but it occurs to me that there is a factor about the Jewish Community that might have encouraged it, and might also explain the inter-marriage within the family. Although by 1750 there were already more Ashkenazim than Sephardim in England, the number of wealthy and cultured families was proportionately much less among the Ashkenazim than among the Sephardim; and marriage between Ashkenazim and Sephardim was severely discouraged, especially by the latter. Therefore, a wealthy family of Ashkenazim, which had many contacts with the non-Jewish world, might well tend to walk either among themselves or outside the community altogether. THE QUEEN OF RICHMOND GREEN Judith Levy, nee Judith Hart, a daughter of Moses Hart, lived from 1706 until 1803, a life-span of 97 years, a remarkable feat in those days of prevalent disease and lack of skilled care. She was a colourful personality and in her lifetime saw the rise of the Jewish Community in England. She saw it grow from a few hundred in number to many thousands. She witnessed the establishment of the first Ashkenazi Synagogue by her Father in 1722, and when the Great Synagogue was rebuilt in 1790 she handsomely assisted the project to the extent of donating ?4,000. She was a good wife, but was unhappy in that the last 50 years of her life she spent as a widow and an eccentric recluse. She achieved local recognition by her good works and eccentricites, and was generally known in Richmond as The Queen of Richmond Green.</page><page sequence="17">154 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY ANGLO-JEWRY IN AND AROUND RICHMOND, SURREY Judith Levy spent her youth in Heron Court and at Isleworth in her Father's House. Her home life must have been very happy and very full, as the family were never lacking in guests, entertainment, and cultural and religious activities. I think it was in the company of her Father that she developed a brilliant business head, and being very sharp-witted and intelligent, she had long discussions with him about his dealings in the City, and no doubt she contributed considerably in ide