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Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries

David Stephenson

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 43, 2011 Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries DAVID STEPHENSON Writing at Winchester in the late twelfth century, the chronicler Richard of Devizes includes in his narrative a story of a French Jew who took into his service a Christian youth who was apprenticed to a cobbler. After some time, the Jew persuaded his assistant to travel to England where he told him he would prosper. As they parted, the Jew gave the young man some advice about where he should settle in England. He was, for example, to avoid London, every quarter of which abounded with lamentable obscenities. He was to avoid Canterbury and the region of Ely, which stank perpetually of the surrounding fens. Most other cities were similarly damned and in par? ticular he was advised not to settle in the northern parts, Worcester, Chester or Hereford, because of the danger from the Welsh who were prodigal with the lives of others.1 Modern scholars have tended to accept that this view of the Welsh was shared by those Jews who were resident in England. The basic pattern of settlement is fairly clear: Jews arrived in England in the wake of the Norman conquest; initially resident only in London, they began to establish communities elsewhere in the twelfth century. Although there was a pre? ponderance of Jewish settlement in the south and east, there were significant Jewish communities in some of the English towns that lay close to the Welsh Marches.2 Yet most commentators have seen such settlements as the fur? thest limits of Jewish westward penetration. Writing in 1992, John Gillingham probed the significance of the fact that 'there were no Jewish set? tlements anywhere in Scotland, Wales, or Ireland'.3 More recently, in the introduction to a volume entitled Jews in Medieval Britain, Patricia Skinner comments that 'had English rule spread faster to Wales, Scotland and I am indebted to Dr Rhian Andrews for a number of helpful references to, and discussion and sug? gested translations of, literary texts. 1 J. T. Appleby (ed.) The Chronicle of Richard of Devizes (London 1963) 66. 2 For a list of the English Jewries in the later twelfth century see J. Hillaby, 'Jewish Colonization in the Twelfth Century' in P. Skinner (ed.) The Jews in Medieval Britain (Woodbridge 2003) 33. 3 J. Gillingham, 'Conquering the Barbarians: War and Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Britain' The Haskins Society JournalTV (1992) 83. 7</page><page sequence="2">David Stephenson Ireland, then the remit of the Jewish Exchequer might well have extended to those territories too'.4 She is forced to concede that the volume's title, in referring to Britain rather than England, is 'rather ambitious', but goes on to note that 'there is some fragmentary evidence for a Welsh and Irish pres? ence or involvement by Jews before their departure' (the 'departure' of course refers to the expulsion of the entire Jewish community from the realm of England by Edward I in 1290). Writing in the same volume, Joe Hillaby, who has done more than any other scholar to illuminate the history of the Jewries close to the Welsh Marches with his studies of the communities of Hereford, Worcester and of Gloucester,5 attempts to track down evidence of a Jewish presence in the Marcher lands of south Wales. Once again, the word 'fragmentary' comes into play. We hear of David, a Jew who had died at Caerleon in 1278, of Isaac the Jew at Abergavenny in 1256/7, of Vives son of Vives in the same place twenty years later; he also notes an unnamed Jew at Chepstow in 1270/1 and Peter the Jew in the same town in 1283.6 So far, therefore, there was a thirteenth-century Jewish population in the Welsh Marches that numbered five persons. Attempts to discover significantly larger numbers of Jews in Wales have often been unconvincing. In a paper published in 1903, E. A. Lewis noted that 'the typical charter of the North Welsh boroughs includes the clause pro? hibiting the residence of Jews within their liberties'.7 However, these clauses represent common-form exclusions rather than expulsions. They cannot be used to indicate any previous Jewish settlement in the regions in which the Edwardian boroughs were planted. More specifically, Lewis commented that: 'Jewish merchants and artisans hailing from South Wales are to be found among the free citizens of Dublin early in the thirteenth century. We find Solomon of Cardiff, Abram the son of Bernard of Cardigan, Adam of Newport and Adam of South Wales.'8 Yet, examination of the documents on which Lewis based his claim reveals that these men were nowhere described 4 Skinner (ed.) (see n. 2) 2. 5 J. Hillaby, 'Hereford gold: Irish, Welsh and English land. The Jewish community at Hereford and its clients, 1179-1253, Part 1' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club XLIV (1984) 358-419; 'Part 2', XLV (1985) 193-270; 'A magnate among the marchers: H?mo of Hereford, his family and clients, 1218-1253' Trans JHSE XXXI (1988-90) 23-82; 'The Hereford Jewry, part 3: Aaron le Blund and the last decades of the Hereford Jewry, 1253-1290' Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club XL VI (1990) 432-87; 'The Worcester Jewry 1158-1290: portrait of a lost community' Transactions of the Worcestershire Archaeological Society 3rd Series XII (1990) 73-122; 'Testimony from the margin: the Gloucester Jewry and its neigh? bours, c. 1159-1290' Trans JfHSE XXXVII (2002) 41-112. 6 Hillaby (see n. 2) 39. 7 E. A. Lewis, 'The Development of Industry and Commerce in Wales during the Middle Ages' Transactions of the Royal Historical Society New Series XVII (1903) 129 n. 5. See comments by Hillaby (see n. 2) 39. 8 Lewis (see n. 7). 8</page><page sequence="3">Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales as Jews or in any way distinguished from their evidently Christian co residents of Dublin.9 Names such as Adam were certainly borne by Christians more frequently than by Jews. Abram's patronymic, Bernard, is not a name found in the records of members of Anglo-Jewry, while names such as Abraham and Solomon might also well have been borne by Christians. The likelihood is therefore that Lewis's Welsh Jews living in Ireland are an illu? sion. A parallel case is perhaps that of Joseph Aaron, who was for a time in charge of the silver mine at Carreg H?fa on the Powys-Shropshire border.10 Despite his apparently Jewish-sounding name, and the fact that he subse? quently became one of the first Justices of the Jews, he was a Christian clerk in minor orders, holding a prebend at the church of St Chad, Shrewsbury. Cecil Roth suggested tentatively that he might have been a convert to Christianity,11 but this can hardly have been the case, as converts were obliged to adopt Christian names that obscured their Jewish origins. If it is, however, necessary to reject some of the identifications of Jews and Jewish converts proposed by Lewis and by Roth, it is clear that the fundamental perceptions of those scholars were sound. Lewis commented that 'there were not many Jews in Wales beyond those radiating from the Jewries of Hereford and Bristol in the Marcher towns', and Roth suggested that it was to Caerleon and Chepstow that one should look for the best evidence of a Jewish presence.12 References to Jews in Welsh contexts reveal a significant concentration in the marcher lordships of the southeast. It is in this region that the Jews noted by Hillaby were all located - two in Abergavenny, two in Chepstow and one in Caerleon. To this last place the largest number of references so far discovered relates. Indeed, the existence of a significant Jewish dynasty at Caerleon was noted by Michael Adler in 1939.13 The patriarch may have been Josce of Caerleon, the father of two sons, Isaac and Aaron (this is stated by Adler, and accepted, perhaps guardedly, by Rokeah).14 Bonds in the Bristol archa in 1290 included ones for debts to Aaron son of Josce de Caerleon (dated 1287) and to Isaac son of Josce de Caerleon (dated 1284). It is possible, but by no means certain, that this Josce was the father of an Isaac of Caerleon who, as discussed below, was the father of a married daughter in 1248. Isaac of Caerleon appears in records relating to the late 1240s through to the late 1280s15 - if indeed 9 J. T. Gilbert (ed.) Historic and Municipal Documents of Ireland, 1172-1320: from the Archives of the City of Dublin (London 1870) 2-48, 136-40. 10 See e.g. Pipe Roll 7 Richard 1182-83. 11 C. Roth, A History of the Jews in England (Oxford 1964) 29. 12 Ibid. 92; Lewis (see n. 7). 13 M. Adler, Jews of Medieval England (London 1939) 219, discussed further by Z. E. Rokeah, 'An Anglo-Jewish Assembly or "Mini-Parliament" in 1287' Thirteenth Century EnglandVlll (2001) 84-5. 14 Ibid. 15 For Isaac de Caerleon see Rokeah (see n. 13) 83-5; Calendar of Patent Rolls (hereafter CPR) 9</page><page sequence="4">David Stephenson there were not two men of that name, a strong possibility suggested by the fact that in 1248 Isaac of Caerleon was old enough to have a son-in-law who was of sufficient standing to act as a surety for him.16 An Isaac of Caerleon certainly had three sons - Cresse, Samuel and Abraham (the existence of Abraham son of Isaac of Caerleon is proven by a reference of 1278 to a debt owed to him in Gloucester, and one of 1281 to debts owed to him in Dorset and Somerset).17 Aaron of Caerleon appears between 1261 and 1279-87 and is identified in a number of records as a son of Josce and thus, quite probably, a brother of Isaac son of Josce.18 Josce son of Isaac who was active in the early 1260s may have to be distinguished from the Josce of Caerleon who appears in the mid-i270s and who was a colleague of Isaac in the 1280s.19 The Josce of the 1280s can hardly have been the patriarch of the family, unless one assumes longevity of biblical extent. It is possible that he is to be identified as the Josce son of Aaron of Caerleon who was associated with Hereford in the mid-i270s.20 Adler suggested that the David the Jew who died at Caerleon in 1278 may have been a son or grandson of Josce the patriarch,21 but there is no clear evidence either for or against that surmise. Although it is not yet pos? sible to construct a genealogy for all the Caerleon Jews, it is clear that at least one significant family group was established there. The evidence of Jewish settlement in southeast Wales is not confined to the Jewish dynasty connected with Caerleon. To the references to Isaac in 1257 and Vives in 1277 at Abergavenny can be added a record of an unnamed Jew there in 1275.22 The date suggests that he may be identified as Vives. Again, the records of an unnamed Jew at Chepstow in 1270-1, and to a Jew named as Peter there in 1283, can be supplemented by several references to a Cok (Isaac) of Strigoil relating to the period 1284?7.23 ^ *s likely, though (1247-58) 44?&gt; 443; CPR (1266-72) 13; H. Jenkinson (ed.) Calendar of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer ofthe Jews III (London 1929) 133; J. M. Rigg (ed.) Select Pleas, Starrs and other Records from the Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews A.D. 1220-1284 (London 1902) 129. 16 Rokeah (see n. 13) 84. 17 For Cresse see Adler (see n. 13) 246, 248; refs for Samuel and Abraham, ibid. 219, are perhaps inconclusive, but for Abraham see S. Cohen (ed.) Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews V (London 1992) 164; P. Brand (ed.) Plea Rolls ofthe Exchequer of the Jews VI (London 2005) 295. 18 Catalogue of Ancient Deeds III, D20, D268, D277, D278; H. G. Richardson (ed.) Calendar of Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews IV (London 1972) 5, 33; R. Mundill, England's Jewish Solution: Experiment and Expulsion, i262-i2go (Cambridge 1998) 172, 174; M. Adler, 'The Medieval Jews of Exeter' Transactions ofthe Devonshire Association for the Advancement ofScience, Literature andArtUilll (1931) 221-40; Adler (see n. 13) 233. 19 Rokeah (see n. 13) 83, 85 (though the ref. to Adler, Jews of Medieval England 223 n. 4 appears not to be pertinent); Rigg (see n. 15) 129; Adler (see n. 13) 244. 20 Adler (seen. 13)234. 21 Ibid. 219. 22 Mundill (see n. 18) 286, quoting J. M. Rigg (ed.) Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews II (London 1910) 278. 23 Adler (see n. 13) 243-5. 10</page><page sequence="5">Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales not entirely certain, that he is the same man as the Isaac of Chepstow recorded in the same period.24 One further sign of a Jewish presence in this region is the appearance in accounts for the lordship of Grosmont in 1256-7 of a Jewish licence, presumably for residence, of one mark.25 Gwentian ref? erences do not quite exhaust the indications of Jewish settlement in Wales. To the north there occurs in 1262 a Master Samuel of Radnor (his designa? tion as 'Master' indicates that he was a Rabbi), apparently a man connected with the Hereford Jewry.26 Eleven years earlier comes a reference to Jews in southwest Wales, where Solomon of Haverford and his colleague Abraham were apparently active in the area of Carmarthen (a mandate to the bailiff of Carmarthen to assist Solomon was occasioned by the fact that the king would receive half of the money recovered from the Jew's debtors).27 Beyond these instances of residence, there are in addition a few indica? tions of Jewish financial activity in or pertaining to Wales. Jewish loans almost certainly helped to fund Anglo-Norman conquest and retention of Welsh lands; Richard, son of Gilbert fitz Richard, whose forces had occu? pied much of Ceredigion in the second decade of the twelfth century, is recorded as a significant debtor to the Jews in the 1130-1 Pipe Roll (the scale of Richard's indebtedness is indicated by his gift of 200 marks to the king for his help against his creditors).28 In the thirteenth century, Marcher magnates like Walter de Lacy were deeply involved with Hereford Jews.29 In the 1190s the Pipe Rolls record that the bishops of Bangor owed some ?45 of the debts due on the account of Aaron of Lincoln. Aaron, perhaps the richest member of the Jewish community in England, had died in 1186, so the debt was clearly acquired before that date.30 It may relate to a continuation of the building campaign at the cathedral that had begun in the first half of the century. Yet there is no evidence that Aaron had actually visited Wales, or indeed had been resident there. The money might have been borrowed 24 Ibid. 245 ('Cok de Schepestowe'). 25 R. A. Griff iths, T. Hopkins and R. Howell (eds) The Gwent County History, Vol. 2: The Age of the Marcher Lords (Cardiff 2008) 77. 26 Mundill (see n. 18) 176. 27 Close Rolls (1247-51) SSI- Solomon of Haverford may be the same as Solomon le Waleys men? tioned in a London record of 1280: Plea Rolls (see n. 17) 150. 28 J. Hunter (ed.) Pipe Roll31 Henry 153. 29 Hillaby (see n. 2) 36-8. For the debts of Walter de Baskerville of Eardisley to Jews in the early 13th century see B. Holden, Lords of the Central Marches: English Aristocracy and Frontier Society 1087-1265 (Oxford 2008) 118; for the Jewish debts of Walter de Clifford of Clifford see 212-13. 30 Pipe Rolls j and 4 Richard 180, 257; 5 Richard 1112; 6 Richard 143; 7 Richard 1245; 8 Richard I 43; 9 Richard 1157. For Aaron of Lincoln see Roth (see n. 11) 15-16 (who noted that Aaron had important interests in 25 counties in England, in at least 17 of which he maintained agents; that his loans were used in the building of 9 Cistercian abbeys and 2 cathedrals in England; and that at his death he 4was probably the wealthiest person in England'). See extensive discussion of Aaron in R. R. Mundill, The Kings Jews (London 2010) 21-8. II</page><page sequence="6">David Stephenson through an intermediary, or the bishop may have encountered Aaron or one of his agents while in England. Much the same can be said of debts owed by the abbot of Mar gam to Jews in the mid-1250s. In 1255 it was noted that two debts were to be acquitted on the abbot's behalf: two and a half marks to Cress son of Mill, and two marks to Sampson son of Mauger.31 The form of Sampson's patronymic seems corrupt: Mauger is unlike any known Anglo Jewish name. However, Cresse son of Milo appears in the middle years of the thirteenth century among the more prominent Jews of Bristol. He was one of the Bristol chirographers in 1253, but was hanged on a charge of murder in 1261.32 The full significance of this identification will be exam? ined later, but here I note that neither of the abbot's creditors has a toponym that might indicate residence in Wales, and the fact that the debt was to be acquitted by a third party suggests that they did not live at all close to Margam. Thus one is left with a distribution of a Jewish presence in Wales which is concentrated in the southeast, with outliers in the southwest and in the middle-march. An interesting feature of this distribution is that it closely reflects the location of Jewries in the western counties of England. Jewries in the middle and lower reaches of the Severn are well attested at Worcester, Gloucester, in the central stretch of the Wye at Hereford, and on the Avon close to the point at which it flows into the Severn estuary, at Bristol. Further north they are remarkable for their absence. Thus in all of Shropshire there was, it seems, no officially constituted Jewry - a settlement characterized by possession of an archa or chirograph chest, with keys held by Jewish and Christian chirographers appointed and removed by royal authority. Jews might on occasion pass through the county. Gerald of Wales, as usual, has a story, occasioned by his journey from Shrewsbury to Wenlock Edge: The archdeacon of Shrewsbury was called Peche and the dean was a Daiville or De Eyville. It happened in our lifetime that a certain Jew who was travelling towards Shrewsbury in their company heard the archdeacon refer casually to the fact that his jurisdiction began in Malplace and stretched as far as Malpas near Chester. He thought for a moment about the surnames of the archdeacon and the dean and then said wittily: Tt will be a miracle if I ever arrive home safely after travelling in a region where the archdeacon is Sin, the dean is called Devil, and the archdeaconry stretches from Evil Street to Evil Pass'.33 31 G. T. Clark (ed.) Cartae et alia Munimenta quae ad Dominium de Glamorgancia pertinent II (Cardiff 1910) 613, no. 586. 32 Adler (see n. 13) 213-19. 33 L. Thorpe (ed. and trans.) Gerald of Wales: The Journey through Wales/The Description of Wales (Harmondsworth 1978) 204. 12</page><page sequence="7">Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales The Jew's comment demonstrates that he did not live in that region from which he comically despaired of being brought safely home. There are some later signs of Jewish residence in Shropshire, but this was, it seems, always fraught with danger and short-lived. A group of six Jews from an unknown location in the county were accused in 1230 of theft and of coin-clipping: they appear in the records only when they had been taken from the county to the Tower of London to await their fate.34 In June 1273 the sheriff of Shropshire was ordered to maintain and defend the King's Jews of Bridgnorth in his bailiwick, as the king had caused his peace to be pro? claimed throughout his realm.35 Some fifteen months later the sheriff was ordered to remove the Jews from Bridgnorth, 'as the king's Jews of England ought not to dwell in other cities, boroughs or towns than those wherein they were wont to dwell in past times, and certain Jews, as the king learns, have entered and dwell in the town of Bridgnorth, where no Jew was wont to dwell in past times.' (It is possible that there was a limited Jewish pres? ence at Bridgnorth at an even later date: in a record of 1279 relating to Shropshire there is reference to chattels of Meir de Bruges and his col? leagues.)36 Some years later, in 1284, a grant of pontage relating to Montfort Bridge, to the west of Shrewsbury, provided for special tolls on Jews cross? ing the bridge.37 This could be interpreted as suggesting that Jewish traffic in this part of western Shropshire was both quite frequent and lucrative. Pontage grants might take various forms, but one of 1279 relating to Huntingdon in eastern England, couched in identical terms, raises the sus? picion that it may have been used as a model for the Montfort Bridge grant,38 which thus cannot be taken with any confidence as an indication of the frequency of Jewish traffic in the region. If the tolls were in fact set in the expectation that Jewish travellers might cross Montfort Bridge, this might have been done in the belief that they would be attracted by the prospect of doing business with the large workforces then engaged on the construction of the Edwardian castles of middle and north Wales.39 There are, then, at least fleeting glimpses and hints of Jews in Shropshire; but from Cheshire they are almost entirely absent. There is indeed a reference to a Hugo Judeus who transferred property to the monks of Poulton before the Justiciar of Chester around 1200.40 However, this gives no indication of 34 Close Rolls (1227-31) 304. 35 Calendar of Close Rolls (1272-79) 49. 36 Ibid. 130. Plea Rolls (see n. 17) 185; references to Hake de Brug and Meir de Brug in 1281, ibid. 215, 221, 233 relate to Hereford and Oxford respectively. 37 Calendar of Patent Rolls (1281-92) 146. 38 Calendar of Patent Rolls (1272-79) 331. The Montfort Bridge reference is taken at face value as evidence of Jewish traffic in the Shrewsbury region by Mundill (see n. 30) 13. 39 I owe this point to Brian Farrington. 40 B. Dobson, 'The medieval York Jewry reconsidered' in Skinner (ed.) (see n. 2) 150 n. 24. 13</page><page sequence="8">David Stephenson Hugo's place of residence. There is no record of a Jewish community, still less of an established Jewry, in Chester. Alongside this initial description of the geographical distribution of Jews in Wales and the bordering regions, it will be illuminating to investigate the chronological element in Jewish settlement in Wales. At first sight a pattern seems to emerge. All the clear references to Jews resident in Wales come from the years between the mid-thirteenth century and the expulsion of 1290. Closer examination reveals a rather different picture. In the case of the majority of the members of the most significant group, the Jews of Caerleon, it is clear that by the time they appear in the records, from 1248 onwards, they were no longer resident at Caerleon, but were settled, or perhaps reset? tled, in English Jewries, particularly that of Bristol. The designation 'of Caerleon' implies that the bearers had been at one point resident in, or closely associated with, that area. The fact that these designations appear only from 1248, and were then apparently retrospective, indicating previous residence, perhaps suggests that the period of previous residence in Caerleon may have been brief. A long period of Jewish residence at Caerleon in the first half of the thirteenth century would presumably have left some traces, such as earlier toponyms or records of financial transactions. Isaac of Caerleon, in spite of his toponym, appears only in the context of his activities in Bristol. Indeed, he was one of the chirographers of that Jewry from the early 1250s until his probable dismissal in 1274.41 Likewise, Isaac's children are noted as members of the Bristol Jewry.42 The Josce of Caerleon who was prominent in the years before the Expulsion likewise appears only in connection with the Bristol community. He represented the Bristol Jewry in the Jewish assembly of 1287, along with Isaac of Caerleon, and his house near Bristol castle was recorded in 1290. (Like other cases discussed here, that of Josce of Caerleon suggests that one must view with caution any assumption that a toponym is an indication of current residence.)43 Isaac's brother, Aaron of Caerleon, is more difficult to locate. One of his earliest recorded loans, in 1261, was to a Thomas Meade of Wigmore,44 which sug? gests involvement in territory that would normally be associated with the Hereford Jewry; a business transaction of 1272 in which he was involved relates to Somerset and Dorset,45 suggesting that he may have been based at 41 Adler (see n. 13) 215-21. 42 Ibid. 219 but see n. 17 above. 43 Rokeah (see n. 13) 83-5. Mundill (see n. 18) 25, though at 22 he notes that '[although toponyms are not always to be trusted they are perhaps an indication and at times even a proof of habita? tion'. For Josce of Caerleon in 1278 see Plea Rolls (see n. 17) 134 and 149, in the latter of which he was accused of the death of Juliana daughter of William Roscelyn at Bristol. 44 Catalogue of Ancient Deeds III, D 278. 45 Plea Rolls (seen. 18)5. 14</page><page sequence="9">Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales Bristol. But in 1275 he was tallaged at Oxford,46 and was subsequently asso? ciated with Exeter.47 It is possible that as well as having widespread business interests, Aaron may have left the Bristol Jewry in 1275, a year of consider? able difficulty for the Jews of that town, during which the Jewry was burned.48 The link with Bristol reappears in the case of Isaac of Caerleon's co-creditor of the mid-i28os, Isaac of Strigoil/PChepstow, who again appears only in Bristol.49 The prominence of Bristol may indeed help to explain another of the examples of Jewish presence in Wales. Ralph Griffiths showed the closeness of the relationship between Carmarthen and Bristol in the thirteenth century: in the 1230s the traders of Carmarthen - an English royal stronghold in southwest Wales - secured exemption from the ban on strangers trading at Bristol's markets and fairs.50 From that period, trade between Bristol and Carmarthen was regular and lucrative. The link between Carmarthen and Bristol, home to a Jewish community with strong Welsh connections, perhaps explains the presence in southwest Wales of Solomon of Haverford and his colleague Abraham. In this context it is perhaps significant that the Tewkesbury Annals appear to record concerted action by ships from Bristol and Haverford.51 The importance of English royal officials in regulating many of the Jews in south Wales is strikingly illustrated by the case of the community at Caerleon. It was a particularly unstable area in the early thirteenth century, with posses? sion of the lordship and castle contested between 1217 and 1246 by the Marshal dynasty and Morgan, the son of Hywel ab Iorwerth. The Marshals had rather the better of the struggle, though at times the government of Henry III felt obliged to step in and place Caerleon under the control of royal officers, as was the case in 1241 and 1245.52 However, if one accepts, as suggested above, that the period of Jewish residence at Caerleon was a brief one, and had largely come to an end by the late 1240s, it is to the time after 1217 that one should look for a short-lived Jewish community. It is tempting to picture the Jews entering Caerleon shortly after the acquisition of that territory by William Marshal in 1217: Marshal's regency government in England had shown itself well aware of the benefits that might accrue from protecting the English Jewries (Marshal had significant personal experience of dealings with Jews, 46 Ibid. 33. 47 Mundill (see n. 18) 172, 174; Adler (see n. 18) 234. 48 Adler (see n. 13) 226-8. 49 Ibid. 234, 243-5. 50 R. Griffiths (ed.) Boroughs of Medieval Wales (Cardiff 1978) 148. 51 H. R. Luard (ed.) Annales Monastici I (London, Rolls Series, 1864) 91 recorded the association in 1233 of naves Bristolliae et Avereford. 52 D. Crouch, 'The Transformation of Medieval Gwent' in Griffiths, Hopkins, Howell (eds) (see n. 25)34-5. i5</page><page sequence="10">David Stephenson being granted a personal Jew, Vives of Chambay, in Normandy).53 The destruction of the town of Caerleon by Llywelyn ab Iorwerth in 123154 may have marked the point at which the family of Josce moved to Bristol, though they do not appear in the Bristol records or those of any other English Jewry; the castle, which did not fall to Llywelyn, may have offered a refuge. If indeed the family weathered the turbulence of 1231, however, more problems were to come. It is clear that in the early and mid-1240s, the castle of Caerleon, and part at least of the lordship, were in the hands of royal officers.55 This is pre? cisely the period when royal fiscal pressure on English Jewry was reaching new levels of intensity.56 It may be conjectured that royal officials in Caerleon supervised the removal of the small Jewish community in the 1240s and arranged its resettlement in Bristol, in order to maximize future potential tax revenue. This is a rather different approach to the Jewish connection with Caerleon from that suggested by Joe Hillaby. Discussing a Jewish presence at Tewkesbury, he commented that: '[i]n 1217 Tewkesbury passed to Gilbert de Clare as sixth earl of Gloucester. Thus it was not as a borough, but as a caput of one of the most powerful baronies in the kingdom that Tewkesbury was a Jewish centre. . . . Subsequently Jews were long associated with the de Clares as earls of Gloucester, as at their stronghold at Caerleon.'57 Yet the Clares did not become lords of Caerleon until 1247, by which time the members of the Jewish community there had apparently moved, or were about to move, to Bristol. After that date, there is only a single clear reference to a Jew who lived at Caerleon under Clare lordship, that to David who died in 1278. The reference to David perhaps reveals another facet of Jewish activity in the southern Marches. It appears that solitary Jews featured in several marcher lordships of the southeast, and perhaps of those in other sectors of the Marches, in the mid- and later thirteenth century.58 Assuming that such settlement took place with the acquiescence or even the encouragement of the relevant marcher lords, this might be seen as an illustration of the claims to quasi-regality that were being articulated by the marchers as the century progressed.59 The fact that the Jews were present singly or in very small 53 See H. G. Richardson, The English Jewry under Angevin Kings (London i960) 182. See also Hillaby (see n. 2) 37. Hillaby further commented, ibid: 'as the Marshal managed to retain his Norman lands after 1204, this Jewish expertise continued to be at his disposal, there and in all probability either at Caerleon or Chepstow'. 54 J. E. Lloyd, A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest (London 1939) 11674. 55 Crouch in Griffiths, Hopkins, Howell (eds) (see n. 25) 35. 56 R. C. Stacey, 'The English Jews under Henry IIP, in Skinner (ed.) (see n. 2) 41-55, esp. 48-9; Roth (see n. 11) 43-53. 57 Hillaby (see n. 5)108. 58 This was not peculiar to the Welsh Marches: see Mundill (see n. 18) 21-5. 59 R. R. Davies, 'Kings, Lords and Liberties in the March of Wales, 1066-1272' Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 5th Series XXIX (1979) 41-61. i6</page><page sequence="11">Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales numbers also suggests the practical and political limits to those claims. Furthermore, the rapidity with which royal officers entered the Clare lord? ship of Caerleon in 1278 to seize for the king the assets of the dead David,60 suggests that by that date the presence of Jews in a lordship might constitute a weakness, in that it created a pretext for royal interference in the lordship's affairs. Having examined some of the characteristics of a Jewish presence in thir? teenth-century Wales, I shall consider the reasons for a more widespread absence of Jews from Welsh territories, particularly from those controlled by the princes of Gwynedd. After all, a mechanism for anticipating, and for augmenting, revenue ought to have been attractive to those princes. The activities of the Jews were certainly known to them: the involvement of a bishop of Bangor with Aaron of Lincoln suggests that there was awareness in the twelfth century, while the princes or their leading ministers had certainly visited many of the centres of Anglo-Jewry - including Worcester, Gloucester, Oxford and London.61 One of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's allies in 1282, Gruffudd ap Maredudd ab Owain, showed an understanding of the position of Anglo-Jewry when he proclaimed, in a list of grievances presented to Archbishop Peckham, that 'indeed the Jews [living] amongst the English have their own laws'.62 Of course, this remark could be taken as disparaging, and there are occasional signs that Jews were regarded with some distaste by Welsh writers and poets,63 but there is little to suggest that Welsh society was especially resistant to a Jewish presence. Language may have been an initial problem for Jews seeking to do business in the political heartlands of Wales, but English Jews certainly used Anglo-Norman familiarly (Gerald's tale of the Jew who joked with the dean and the archdeacon reveals sufficient familiarity with Anglo-Norman to make puns in that language),64 and Latin as a business language, and could presumably have found Welsh interpreters familiar with those languages.65 Perhaps more significant is the effective 60 Calendar of Fine Rolls (1272-1307) 93. 61 See H. Pryce (ed.) The Acts of Welsh Rulers 1120-1283 (Cardiff 2005) nos 242 (Worcester) and 291 (Gloucester); for visits of envoys of the rulers of Gwynedd to English towns with Jewries see D. Stephenson, The Governance of Gwynedd (Cardiff 1984) 208 (Ednyfed Fychan, Worcester, London), 210 (Einion ap Gwalchmai, London/Westminster), 222 (Anian, abbot of Aberconwy, and Madog ap Philip, at Oxford) 225 (Master Instructus and Philip, going to Henry III, who was in the London area). 62 Ibid. 212-13. 63 See Appendix. 64 See n. 33 above. 65 See C. Bullock-Davies, Professional Interpreters and the Matter of Britain (Cardiff 1966) and F. C. Suppe, 'Roger of Powys, Henry IPs Anglo-Welsh Middleman, and his Lineage' Welsh History Review XXI (2002) 1-23, and 'Interpreter Families and Anglo-Welsh Relations in the Shropshire Powys Marches in the Twelfth Century' Anglo-Norman Studies XXX (2008) 196-212. 17</page><page sequence="12">David Stephenson absence of Jewries in the English territories bordering on Gwynedd and its satellites. This may suggest an unwillingness of the English royal govern? ment to countenance the development of Venedotian contacts with Anglo Jewry. Although no specific prohibition of Jewish migration to Wales is known, a number of points may be considered. English governments on occasion closed the markets of border towns to Welsh merchants during con? frontations,66 and thus demonstrated a clear awareness of the economic dimension to military policy in Wales. The massive cultural and economic gulf between England and its Celtic neighbours, to which John Gillingham pointed with reference to the twelfth century,67 became less marked in the course of the thirteenth. A Jewish settlement at, say, Llanfaes,68 was no longer an absurdity. From 1253 the royal government was insistent that no Jew was to be allowed to dwell anywhere but in a recognized Jewry.69 This developed the regulations, in force since 1218, that had prohibited Jews from leaving the realm without special licence,70 and strengthened the already firm grasp of the government on the fiscal resources represented by Anglo-Jewry. By the next year the most prominent figure in Anglo-Jewry, Isaac l'Eveske, had made it clear that if they were to escape the increasingly ruinous burden of royal tallage, the Jews' only hope lay in emigration: 'O noble Lords, we see undoubtedly that our Lord the King purposes to destroy us from under heaven. We entreat, for God's sake that he will give us a licence and safe conduct to depart out of his kingdom that we may seek and find a home in some other place under some prince who bears some bowels of mercy and some stability of truth and faithfulness.'71 Yet even if Llywelyn ap Gruffudd ever entertained the idea of presenting himself as that prince, and attracting into his developing and needy principality members of the English Jewry, these latter were already probably too impoverished, and could not have been safely accommodated in sufficient numbers, to make a significant economic and fiscal impact. 66 For royal market regulation in areas close to Wales at times of crisis see Close Rolls (1227-31) 588; Close Rolls (1231-34) 66, 93; Close Rolls (1256-59) 145, 147. 67 Gillingham (see n. 3) 83. 68 For Llanfaes in the 13th century see A. D. Carr, Medieval Anglesey (Llangefhi 1982) 231-3. 69 Roth (seen. 11)58. 70 Calendar of Patent Rolls (1216-25) 180-1. 71 Quoted by Hillaby (see n. 5) 100-01. i8</page><page sequence="13">Jewish presence in, and absence from, Wales APPENDIX Welsh literary references to Jews in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Particularly interesting is the relative frequency of confusion between Jews and Muslims in Welsh sources. Among them is a poem by Elidir Sais, which includes the lines: Gorugost wormes (nith warafun), Gorfawr Dduw gorfod, o Iddewon Am fedd Crist: Creawdr nefiys angen! Ys anghraiff anghredyn eigylchyn. Tros elfyddy'n bydd (bidyn erwan) Trais Ierusalem gan Syladin.12 [You caused an affliction (it does not hinder you), [O] Mighty God: the Jews have triumphed Around the grave of Christ, the Creator of heaven; it is an adversity, It is a reproach [that] heathenism [is] around it; All over [the] world we shall have (let it be piercing) The rape of Jerusalem by Saladin.] Similarly a poem in the Black Book of Carmarthen has 'Ban deuaw o caer seon/0 imlat ac itewonm [I come from Caer Seon/From fighting with Jews]. These references align with those in the Brutiau to 1185, when the Patriarch of Jerusalem comes to England to ask for help, rac distryw 0 V Idewon a V Sarassinyeit holl Gaerusalem [lest the Jews and the Saracens destroy all Jerusalem], and 1188, when deuth y Sarascinyeit ayr Idewon i Gaerussalem, gann duyny Grocgantunf [the Saracens and the Jews came to Jerusalem, car? rying off the cross with them].74 A somewhat similar association was made by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282, when he claimed that the Welsh were reduced to servitude by royal officers, 'even more than if we were Saracens or Jews'.75 A passage in the thirteenth-century Welsh translation of the Life of Gruffudd ap Cynan seems to suggest that the word Iddewon might be used on occasion simply to designate enemies: 72 J. E. Caerwen Williams (gol.) Gwaith Meilir Brydydd ai Ddisgynyddion (Caerdydd 1994) 16.19-24. 73 A. O. H. Jarman, LlyfrDu Caerfyrddin (Caerdydd 1982) no 36. See also G. R. Isaac, 'Ymddiddan Taliesin ac Ugnach: Propaganda Cymreig yn Oes y Croesgadau?' Lien Cymru XXV (2002) 12-20, for the suggestion that the poem relates to the Crusades, so that Caer Seon represents Mount Zion. 74 T.Jones (ed. and trans.) Bruty Tywysogyon, Red Book of Hergest Version (Cardiff 1955) 168-71. 75 Pryce (ed.) (see n. 61) 618-20. 19</page><page sequence="14">David Stephenson Rhag ofynyr Iddewon, nit amgen, y Ffreink a chenedloedd eraill ('for fear of the Iddewon, that is the French, and other peoples'), translating Francorum aliarumque externarum gentium metu ('for fear of the French and other for? eigners'). It seems possible that the word Iddewon was chosen because it had the connotation of outsiders, 'foreigners'.76 Rhygyfarch's Life of St David, composed in the late eleventh century, contains a passage that provides a glimpse of attitudes towards Jews at a period before there was a Jewish presence in Wales. David and his compan? ions have journeyed to Jerusalem, where they meet the Patriarch, who pro? motes David to the archbishopric, and then addresses them: 'Obey my voice, and ~;ve heed to what I shall order. The power of the Jews,' he said, 'is increasing against the Christians. They are disturbing us, and they reject the faith. Obey, therefore, and go out to preach every day, so that, being con? futed, their violence may be subdued.'77 There is one reference in the Welsh chronicles to the accusations of Jewish ritual murder of Christian children, a report of the case of William of Norwich in 1144 in the B-text of Annales Cambriae. However, it is clear that this was in fact an intrusive entry, derived from annals of Waverley/Winchester origin, incorporated into Welsh mate? rial by the (English) compiler of the B-text at Neath at the close of the thir? teenth century.78 76 D. S. Evans (gol.) Historia Gruffud vab Kenan (Caerdydd 1977) 24. 21-2, and P. Russell (ed. and trans.) Vita Griffini Filii Conani (Cardiff 2005) s.26/10. 77 R. Sharpe and J. R. Davies, 'Rhygyfarch's Life of St David' inj. Wyn Evans and J. M. Wooding (eds) St David of Wales: Cult, Church and Nation (Woodbridge 2007) 140-1. 78 D. Stephenson, 'Welsh Chronicles' Accounts of the Mid-Twelfth Century' Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies LVI (2008) 45-57. The present paper originated as a contribution to the 5th Colloquium on Medieval Wales at Bangor in October 2010.1 should like to thank those present on that occasion for a number of constructive comments. 20</page></plain_text>