< Back

Jews and Castles in Medieval England

Vivian D. Lipman

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jews and castles in medieval England V. D. LIPMAN In 1201 King John granted his Jews a charter of liberties which begins: 'Know that we have granted to all Jews of England and Normandy that they reside in freedom and honour in our land and hold of us all that they held of King Henry our father's grandfather.' This indicates that the rights granted go back at least to the time of Henry I who reigned from 1100 to 113 5, within a generation of the Norman Conquest. The charter goes on to include the following passage: 'Jews shall not enter into any pleas save before us [which means that they should sue and be sued only in the royal courts] or before those who have ward of our castles, in whose bailiwicks [ballivis] Jews dwell.'1 I want to stress this matter of the jurisdiction over the Jews given to those responsible for royal castles, because the charter, dated in 1201, is later than the establishment of the Exchequer of the Jews, in which cases involving Jews were normally heard. H. G. Richardson has suggested by way of explanation that the charter reflects the conditions prevailing when the original charter was granted, and that it is a throw-back to the conditions which governed the Jewish community in Normandy before the Conquest; we indeed have evidence that Norman Jews were the responsibility of the castellans of ducal castles.2 We have no similar evidence of Jewish cases coming before castle courts in England, with the very important exception of the Court of the Constable of the Tower of London. But this charter of 1201 puts such emphasis on the castle as the focus of life for the Jewish communities of England that one is led to ask: how did the castle impinge on the life of the medieval English Jew? What image did it present - a question particularly significant today since castles are among the most prominent survivals of the world in which the medieval Jew lived. I suggest that the castle presented three or possibly four aspects to the medieval English Jew. First, it was a refuge in time of trouble; second, it was the administrative centre from which their lives were governed; third, it increas? ingly became a prison in which they were detained; and possibly fourth, a 'private' castle - i.e., one in the ownership of a magnate, not the crown - would have been the residence of a potentially valuable client who would thus attract Jews to settle near it. But first, we must try to define what a medieval English castle was and what was the distinction between royal and private castles. 'The castle was a Norman importation into England'3 - as indeed the Jews were. In Anglo-Saxon England * Paper delivered to the Society on 8 April 1981. I</page><page sequence="2">2 V. D. Lipman there were fortifications, of course, but they were essentially fortifications of settlements, garrisoned and supported by men and money from the surround? ing districts which they were designed to protect: they were communal fortifications for collective defence. It is true there were a few 'private' castles in England, intended to protect a lord and his immediate dependants in the half century before 1066. But these only prove the point, because they were owned by Norman lords and were thus directly the result of Norman infiltration before the Conquest. Conversely, castles were widespread before 1066 in the Duchy of Normandy and the neighbouring parts of Northern France.4 For William the Conqueror and his supporters, castles were both the symbol and the means of enforcing their rule on the English; for the English, they represented subjection to new masters and the introduction of new men at key points in every level of the system of government. At first, although William the Conqueror built many castles, he retained relatively few under his direct control. He allowed the barons whom he had appointed as their original castellans to use them as residences and centres of their lordships. The castle thus became 'a private fortress of king or noble'.5 Many other castles were built by barons and others, but royal consent was required before they could be built. Even where a royal castle had a constable or castellan whose tenure was hereditary, the castle could revert to direct royal control. Thus there was a wide range of castles which at different times could be private or royal. But there was a nucleus of castles, most of them centres of county administration, as well as of military organization, which kings throughout the Norman and Angevin periods kept in royal ownership and maintenance. There were about sixty royal castles of this kind at strategic points throughout England in 1227. It is true that by 1272 the number had fallen to forty-seven, but this was mainly a nominal change due to their transfer to the royal earldoms of Cornwall and Lancaster. After 1272 the number increased again due to Edward I's castle building in Wales.6 If we look at this nucleus of some sixty royal castles we can see their effect on Jewish settlement in town and country. 'Only in the neighbourhood of a royal castle could a recognizable Jew be safe in times of popular disturbance'7 and we can find a high degree of correlation between the location of royal castles on the one hand, and Jewish communities and other places with which Jews were identified on the other. It is difficult to give a precise list of communities, but for the 13th century at least we can compile a list of places where Jews were grouped for taxation and the maintenance of an archa, in which their financial transactions were registered. There were twenty-four places in the 13th century - Bedford, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, Colchester, Devizes, Dor? chester, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Huntingdon, Lincoln, London, Marlbor</page><page sequence="3">Jews and castles in medieval England 3 ough, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Stamford, Warwick, Wilton, Winchester, Worcester and York. Each had a castle which was royal by virtue either of foundation or subsequent acquisition, and maintained by the Crown. Furthermore, bearing in mind that there were areas such as Cornwall and the far north into which Jews did not penetrate for permanent settlement in the Middle Ages, these places represent a very considerable proportion of the castles in royal control in the 13th century before 1272. Even lesser Jewish settlements which cannot be called communities - like Wallingford or Berk hamsted - were in places with castles maintained by the Crown. The point is illustrated by the fact that when in 126 7 two Jews obtained licences to settle in Bridgnorth they obtained permission to take refuge in the royal castle there.8 There are of course exceptions to the rule that wherever Jews settled in any number there was a royal castle. But these exceptions illustrate my fourth tentative hypothesis of the association of Jews with a castle: that it was the residence of a non-royal lord near whom it was worth settling. I refer in particular to the Jewish settlements of Bungay and Thetford in East Anglia, which must have been of sufficient importance to count as communities, rather than as settlements of an individual or of a couple of families, since they appear as communities in a tax list of 115g.9 They seem to disappear as communities after the massacres of 1190, and Jews bearing the name 'of Bungay' or 'of Thetford' are found as members of other communities. H. G. Richardson argued that since Bungay and Thetford were in King Stephen's time - the mid-12th century - towns belonging to the Bigods, Earls of Norfolk, the king 'granted' their Jewish residents to Earl Hugh Bigod and cited the common continental practice of Jews 'belonging' to feudal lords as well as to the king. This is possible, but perhaps Jews were merely attracted to Bigod towns and castles for business reasons, while remaining subject to the king. This is presumably the explanation for the association of Jews in the 13th century with a place like Castle Rising in Norfolk. Diaia of Rising, a member of the Norwich community in the 13th century, must surely have established an association with that place because it was the residence of the Albini family, who founded Castle Rising about 1138; the Albini, who became Earls of Sussex, held Rising Castle till 1243 when it passed to Roger de Montalt, also 'among the greatest barons of the realm'.10 The case of Diaia of Rising supports Richardson's thesis that the inclusion of a locality in the name of a Jew does not prove that he lived there as a permanent resident. Diaia of Rising lived in Norwich, and even his family could not have come from there since his father's name was Mosse of Lincoln. This supports Richardson's theory that many of the placenames which form part of Jewish names in medieval England indicate that the Jew in question did business in the place and found it convenient to open a branch office or even a</page><page sequence="4">4 V. D. Lipman temporary residence there. This explanation would fit the royal policy increasingly in force in the 13th century of restricting Jewish residence to a limited number of communities, where Jews could more easily be supervised, and allowing them to settle elsewhere only on licence. The client with whom Jews would seek to do business might be the lord of a 'private' castle or a monastic house. The granting of licences by priors of Dunstable to named Jews 'to come and go and remain in the vill of Dunstable' on payment of a small silver spoon every six months, and their business dealings both with the priory and in the neighbourhood, are well known.11 I have checked over fifty places listed by Cecil Roth as places of Jewish residence, other than full communities,12 and over sixty per cent of them were the sites of religious houses, with a bias towards Benedictines.13 One should not make too much of this: I have suggested elsewhere14 that Jewish lending in the 13th century tended to be to the lesser gentry, local clergy, ordinary townsmen and even villagers, rather than to the great lay and religious magnates. But I suspect that the presence of a private castle with a resident baron or an important religious house might lead a Jewish family, or couple of families, to settle, at least on a part-time basis, away from the type of established community which would almost certainly be grouped around a royal castle. The royal castle was the Jew's natural place of refuge. The earliest recorded example is probably 1144, when the Jews of Norwich were accused of the ritual murder of William of Norwich, and took refuge in the castle under the protection of the sheriff, John of Chesnay.15 This incident took place during the reign of Stephen, a period of anarchy and civil war in which the Jews seem to have been favoured by Stephen and to have resided in the parts of the country-the east and the south-where Stephen retained control. It is perhaps significant that the chronicler refers to those emerging after the civil war 'in safety from the cities and castles, merchants to the fairs, Jews to seek their creditors' (sic: debtors must be meant).16 The use of a castle as a refuge can be illustrated from the history of the most famous of all, the Tower of London. In 1189, after the riot against the Jews attending Richard I's coronation, the entire London community took refuge in the Tower. In 1220, during Henry Ill's re-coronation, they were forcibly protected by being put in the Tower. In 1236, when Henry III was married to Eleanor of Provence, the London community itself avoided trouble by taking refuge there. In 1264, when Simon de Montfort and his followers attacked the London Jewry, looted homes and desecrated synagogues, some of the Jews were sheltered by their neighbours, but the rest were escorted by the mayor to the safety of the Tower. No wonder that a few years later, a Jew obtained specific consent to take refuge in the nearest royal castle wherever he might be.17</page><page sequence="5">Jews and castles in medieval England 5 The example of the Tower was paralleled in most, if not all, of the provincial communities - although the York tragedy of 1190 was an instance of what could tragically go wrong when their trust was misplaced.18 Nevertheless, the royal castle, and whoever was in charge of it, must have appeared to the local Jews a more certain source of protection than the municipal authorities and the townsmen among whom they dwelt. An illustration can be drawn from Norwich in 12 3 5. On two occasions Jewish houses were set on fire, and though each time the sheriff asked the bailiffs of the town to intervene, they did nothing, and Jews were subsequently maltreated and beaten by some of the townsfolk. A hue and cry was raised, the Serjeants (i.e. the permanent garrison of the castle who acted as the sheriff's police) came out to defend the Jews, and the citizens attacked them. In fact the citizens were later punished; but the events illustrate that the castle was a source of aid and help to the local Jewry even if they did not have to take refuge within it.19 There is a similar example from Oxford in 1244 when the students forcibly entered and pillaged Jewish houses and the constable came out of the castle to help the Jews and put forty-five students in jail.20 In this case we may note that it was the constable of the castle and not the sheriff who came to the Jews' help, as in the similar case at Norwich. This raises the question as to who was responsible for the Jewish community - the sheriff or the constable of the castle. It has become usual to speak of the sheriff as the king's representative who protected, controlled, taxed and arrested the king's Jews. He operated at the local level just as, after the end of the 12th century, the Exchequer of the Jews functioned at the national level. If Jews are to be arrested for non-payment of tallage, it is the sheriff to whom the order to attach them is given; if their debtors are to be distrained, to pay the tallage from the debts they owe to Jews, it is the sheriff who is ordered to do it; if Jews' interests have to be protected, or the king wishes to safeguard his rights in relation to the Jews, it is the sheriff to whom the order goes. If Jews are to be empanelled for a jury to report on the facts of a case affecting a Jew or his property, or, in a case between a Jew and a Christian, it is the sheriff who does it. Yet, if we begin to look more closely, we find that the constable of the castle on which a Jewish community was centred also appears as the authority exercising jurisdiction over them. The most obvious example is the Jewry of London, by far the largest in the country. In the case of London, the answer is very simple. The citizens of London had obtained by payment the right to appoint their own sheriff, not only for the city, but also for the county of Middlesex (which is why the City of London still has two sheriffs, who originally jointly exercised the shrievalties of London and Middlesex). This arrangement obtained for part of the 12th century and after 1191 continuously. When in</page><page sequence="6">6 V. D. Lipman 1244 the king's justices sat at the Tower of London to hear Crown Pleas for the City of London (the first time Pleas of the Crown for the City had been heard for 18 years) 'the City answers that escheats of the Jews are not their business, but that of the constable of the Tower of London and of the justices of the Jews because the Jews belonged to the king, nor has anything to do with them ever belonged to the City and therefore the constable of the Tower and the justices of the Jews are bound to answer the King for these lands and tenements.' Another entry, which deals with enquiries about 'the chattels of Jews killed, and their pleas and chattels and debts and who has them', says the same, and adds: 'Even if a Jew is killed in the City, the (City) sheriff may not attach his chattels, and likewise if a Christian is killed by anyone in the house of a Jew, the sheriff may not attach the Jew or his chattels.'21 The Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews are full of references to the Tower constable acting as a county sheriff would do in producing defendants for the Exchequer of the Jews, collecting a tallage and so on.22 For instance, it is the constable who is 'to cause to be elected in his presence three Jews of the community [communa] of London' to collect a tallage in 12 7 7. Again, in Hilary Term 1277, the justices note a memorandum that the Jews of London have paid Giles of Oudenarde, constable of the Tower of London, by the king's writ, directed to the justices and the constable, for the works at the Tower ?10 of the portion of the Jews of London.23 Giles of Oudenarde, one of the king's clerks, was not technically constable in 1277. The position was held by Antony Bek, bishop of Durham and presumably (like a modern constable of the Tower) normally non-resident. But Giles of Oudenarde, who is elswhere correctly referred to as sub-constable (sub~consta bularius) was also 'keeper or warden of the works there'. He was in charge of the building operations at the Tower when the largest building activity in its history was carried out, leaving it more or less as it appears today - the digging of a new moat, the construction of the outer ring of defences and the rebuilding of the western side of the inner ward. This immense building programme lasted from 1275 to 1285 and cost ?21,ooo24 (more, for instance, than was spent on any of Edward I's great castles in Wales, except Caernarvon which cost ?27,000). Part of the ?21,000 was paid by a tallage on the Jews, collected, so far as the London Jews were concerned, by the sub-constable and then expended by him, in his capacity as keeper of the works, on a writ from Antony Bek, the constable.25 Giles of Oudenarde is apparently first mentioned as constable or sub-cons? table early in 12 75 26 when he was fined by the justices of the Jews for failing to produce two Jews, on the ground that they were in prison. Presumably he followed John of Olney, outer sub-constable of the Tower and Simon Kylpel, inner sub-constable, who in Michaelmas Term 1274 were ordered by the</page><page sequence="7">Jews and castles in medieval England 7 Justices to be before them 'from day to day, to answer all that may have aught to lay to their charge in regard of their office'.27 Possibly this is related to the return of Edward I to England in the late summer of 12 74 after an absence of nearly four years. On 11 October 12 74 he ordered a searching inquiry into the work of officials carrying out the king's government and usurpation by them of the king's rights and dues.28 It was followed by a dismissal of about three-quarters of the sheriffs29 and presumably of other officers. The internal hierarchy of the Tower at this period seems to have included, under the constable, a sub-constable, a clerk, and a Serjeant (serviens) or Serjeants. John of Olney and Simon Kylpel may have been senior Serjeants with the title of sub-constable of the outer and inner wards of the Tower. Another incident of this period suggests their association with the Serjeants. In the Pleas of Trinity on the morrow and octave of St John the Baptist, i.e. up to the end of June 1274, there is a memorandum of the justices of the Jews that John le Blund, serjeant of John de Burgh (the constable of the Tower in 1273-4, before Antony Bek), had been accused of stealing a silken girdle, value 5 marks, from Ralph de Chatewood, which John le Blund, another serjeant, undertook to return and presumably had not returned. As a result, John le Blund is 'in mercy' and the constable is ordered to produce John of Olney before the justices of the Jews.30 From this story we can draw two conclusions. The first is that John of Olney was a serjeant of the Tower, and the second that in the public mind the officials of the Tower were so closely associated with the administration of the Jews that, if there was a complaint against the conduct of the Tower staff, that complaint was laid before the justices of the Jews as the government department likely to redress the wrong. The duties of the Tower serjeant or Serjeants, some of whom at least are called 'serjeant of the Jewry', included keeping order in the London Jewry and must have impinged closely on the life of the London Jews. Thus in 1230 two Flemish merchants accused three London Jews of assault and attempted robbery. Among those who answered the Flemings' call for help was Hugh, Serjeant of the Jewry, and when the Jews ran away leaving some of the Flemings' money behind them, it was handed over to the constable of the Tower. The Jews' story is that they were trying to detain the Flemings for passing counterfeit money and hand them over to Hugh, Serjeant of the Jewry and another of the king's Serjeants, Geoffrey l'Especer.31 Another very complicated story of 1275 concerns the death of a Wilton Jew, Isaac Babelard, who fell ill and died in London. His money and various chattels (a silver spoon, a gold ring, a brooch and a horse worth 8 shillings) were handed to Thomas, the clerk of the constable's court and the serjeant. The constable subsequently produced these or their value in money (presumably the horse was not</page><page sequence="8">8 V. D. Lipman produced in court) before the justices of the Jews when enquiry was made into what Isaac Babelard left and what should come to the king. Presumably the Tower staff came into the Jewry and picked up what they could lay their hands on legally or not.32 The constable of the Tower also had two special jurisdictions relating to the Jews, specifically confirmed by royal mandate in 1261.33 He had by custom the right to attach and imprison all Jews not merely in London but elsewhere; and also jurisdiction over cases - presumably only those arising in London - be? tween Jews and Christians concerning pledges up to a value of 40 shillings. This last jurisdiction is suggested by Richardson as originating with that exercised over Jews by the castle courts in Normandy and which possibly passed to the constables of other castles in England.34 There seems little evidence of the latter actually making use of it (apart from the constable of the Tower) but there is an interesting case at Marlborough, where the constable of Marlborough Castle stops the local bailiff's court from exercising jurisdiction in a case against a Jew of Marlborough and gets the case transferred to the justices of the Jews.35 The constable of the Tower's other privilege - of being the sole gaoler of the Jews - seems to be contradicted by evidence of Jews being detained in other prisons; although this may often have been only a temporary measure pending removal to the Tower or their paying up outstanding debts to the Crown. R. B. Pugh, in his study of medieval imprisonment in England, has shown that imprisonment was more often custodial or coercive rather than punitive. Jews not detained in the Tower would almost invariably be held in a royal castle. These were not built as prisons, although in the course of medieval English history many of them came to be used as such. The sheriff, even if not formally responsible for the royal castle in his county town, usually claimed the right to detain prisoners there. If there was an exception, like Colchester - a castle used primarily for military purposes - the sheriff could use another royal castle in his county,36 although even at Colchester the constable was under instruction to receive prisoners from the sheriff in urgent cases. The royal castle might therefore present an image to the Jew quite opposite to a place of refuge: a place of imprisonment. Imprisonment in the Middle Ages did not necessarily mean the fullest rigours, except insofar as these were imposed as a means of securing payment to the custodian to modify or remove them; to coerce a prisoner into paying money to the Crown; or simply to prevent prisoners from escaping, since if the prisoner escaped, his gaoler was held responsible. Records of payment pro bona prisona represent payment for better accommodation, if it were available. Putting prisoners in irons, which was justified as a means of preventing escapes, could also be avoided on payment, and there are frequent references to</page><page sequence="9">Jews and castles in medieval England 9 'gating', meaning confinement merely within the precincts. Finally, detention might well last only as long as it took to arrange, and probably pay for, the provision of pledges to 'mainpern' the prisoner and produce him so that the sheriff or constable could in turn produce him before the justices when required; if he were not produced, those responsible for the prison and his pledges, would be 'in mercy', i.e. liable to be fined.37 To quote a few examples of Jews detained in royal castles other than the Tower there is the celebrated case in 1220 of Solomon Turbe, who fell from the walls of Gloucester Castle. There were accusations of murder against Abraham Gabbay and even his own wife, Comitissa, for pushing him, but in the end the verdict was suicide.38 The re-taking by Oxford Jews of a baptized Jewish child in 1236 led to the arrest of several Jews who were handed over to the constable of Oxford Castle for imprisonment there pending trial.39 The constable of Bristol Castle was ordered in 1282 to have Aaron of Ireland (a former head of the Colchester community) taken to Hereford Castle to be imprisoned there by the sheriff pending trial on a charge of having offered for sale a silver plate made from coin clippings and that when challenged, he had thrown the plate over Bristol Bridge into the Avon.40 Bristol seems the castle most often mentioned as a place of imprisonment for Jews outside London. However, the 'general imprisonment' of Jews ordered by John in 1210- which has passed into folklore - may not have taken place there although Southampton Jews were sent to Bristol to be imprisoned for failure to pay the tallage imposed at Bristol by John in 1210.41 In 1241 three Bristol Jews who had been imprisoned in the Tower were transferred to the custody of the constable of Bristol Castle.42 Even at the end of 1278, when there was a general imprisonment of Jews from the whole country in the Tower of London, there were exceptions: some at least of the Canterbury Jews, for instance, were imprisoned in their local castle.43 In between the extreme images of the castle as refuge and the castle as prison, there was the more day-to-day experience of the castle as the place from which the Jews' daily life was governed. It housed the officials who not only policed the Jewry and administered and collected taxation, but those who could make life easier or more difficult by petty exactions or by granting favours at a price. Whether the man in charge was the sheriff or the constable of the castle, it must have presented a Kafkaesque image of power to the local Jews. 'In most of the counties of England, at any rate at the beginning of Edward I's reign, [the castle] formed the embodiment of the sheriff's functions and its upkeep was one of his responsibilities. It contained the offices of the sheriff, where the sheriff's official records were stored, the writs and rolls needed at the shire court, the vouchers and tallies he had to produce at the Exchequer, the writs he had to return to the Justices at Westminster. It is the treasury or local exchequer where</page><page sequence="10">IO V. D. Lipman money is paid in'44 and which he had to pass on, in the case of tallages to the justices of the Jews. But we can conceive of this relationship of Jew to castle as being even more direct if the officer under whose authority the local Jewry was placed was not the sheriff but the castellan or constable of the castle itself. Apart from the Tower of London, where the constable held undisputed control, the allocation of control over the local Jewry as between sheriff and constable seems to have been a grey area. The responsibility for a particular Jewry might shift from one to the other. Generally, I believe the sheriff to have been responsible unless we have specific evidence to the contrary for a particular time and place. Thus in July 1253 Imbert Pugeys, when appointed constable of Oxford Castle, was specifically allotted 'the keeping of the King's Jewry of Oxford', which the sheriff was instructed to deliver to him; and so was a later constable, Philip Basset, who was appointed in November 1259; in 1269, the constable was specifically instructed to see that certain pledges were returned by a Jewish creditor to a favoured debtor. Yet later sheriffs of Oxfordshire, such as Henry de Shotesbrook in 1275, clearly exercised the authority over the Jews formerly belonging to the constable.45 In 1270, the men of Winchester were ordered to protect the Jews but not to interfere with the jurisdiction of the constable of the Castle: 'the pleas, complaints and other matters affecting the Jews which belong to the Constable of our Castle of Winchester and which have customarily belonged to him hitherto.'46 At Norwich, two writs of 1226 are addressed to the constable and the chirographers of the archa. In 1230, a complaint about the Jews is made to the constable of the Castle; in 1234, the constable removes tallies from the archa*1 In 1217, while the constable is told that he is to protect Isaac of Norwich and all the other Jews of Norwich and to receive Isaac himself and his people 'into our castle', the sheriff is at the same time ordered to assist Isaac to collect his debts in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk for which the sheriff is responsible.48 A similar dichotomy appears in 1268. The constable of Norwich Castle is ordered to require Diaia of Rising to appear before the justices of the Jews; when the constable reports Diaia is so sick that his life is despaired of but the Justices have evidence he is in good health, it is the constable who is in mercy. At this time, Diaia we know to be free and witnessing deeds. But in 1270, when he really is in prison, it is the sheriff who reports his goods have been sold to pay tallage whereas previously he had said they were safe under the seal of the castle. This time it is the sheriff whom the justices fine 100s., because the goods cannot be sold for the king's benefit.49 Perhaps we can obtain an overall picture by looking at the memoranda of summons for arresting Jews who did not pay their tallage in Easter Term 1276. In each case the official concerned is the sheriff, except for the constable of the Tower and the constables of Bristol, Stamford and Marlborough castles in</page><page sequence="11">Jews and castles in medieval England ii respect of the Jewish communities of those places.50 There is a subsequent entry that the sheriff of Wiltshire is ordered to attach the constable of Devizes Castle to answer the king because he did not allow the sheriff to take the Jews of Devizes for the king's tallage as he had been ordered. And, as the constable did not appear the sheriff is ordered to produce him before the justices of the Jews.51 A reasonable hypothesis is that, when Edward I returned to England in August 12 74 and reorganized the sheriffs and introduced the new policies on the Jewry of 1275, as part of this process the sheriffs were generally to be the responsible local agents and no longer the constables of the castles, such as those of Norwich, Oxford and Winchester had been; although the position of the constable of the Tower of London was unchanged. We can also explain the continuance of direct responsibility of the constables of Bristol and Stamford after 1275 because their castles are on the very edge of their respective counties, remote from their county towns, Gloucester and Lincoln, each of which had its own Jewish community which occupied the attention of the sheriff of the county.52 Admittedly, the question of responsibility for the Jews of Marlborough presents problems. There were three communities in Wiltshire: Wilton, Marlborough and Devizes. For the small community of Wilton the sheriff (whose headquarters were at the royal castle of Salisbury, although the county court remained at nearby Wilton) was clearly responsible. For the Jews of Marlborough (which formed part of Queen Eleanor of Provence's dowry), the constable of the royal castle was accounting at the Exchequer of the Jews in 1275, like a county sheriff.53 But there are instances before 1275 of the country sheriff being ordered to take action in regard to the Jews of Marlborough;54 and in 1276 the Wiltshire sheriff is ordered by the justices of the Jews to inquire into a case of Henry Ill's time and the way in which the then constable of the castle had handled it.55 Devizes provides a 1275 case worth quoting in detail. One of the chirographers of the Devizes archa, Josce son of Salomon, had been outlawed. So another Jew had to be chosen. The sheriff was ordered to produce Josce before the justices of the Jews, but reported that Josce was not to be found in his bailiwick and that Lumbard son of Lumbard had been chosen as a 'proper Jew' to be chirographer, and that he had found pledges for his fidelity. Since Josce could not be found, the sheriff caused Josce's pledges (John le Houpere and Philip Curing) to appear. These tell the justices they were never pledges for Josce; and the sheriff, who was present, addressed by the justices about this, said he had sent these pledges without their admitting responsibility. 'The names of those pledges were delivered to him by the constable of the Castle of Devizes, who has return of writs56 ... If there has been deception or falsity touching this matter, he [the sheriff] is not bound to make</page><page sequence="12">12 V. D. Lipman answer, because it is the constable's deed, not his.' The sheriff was therefore ordered to cause John de Havering, constable of the castle, Thomas his clerk, and John his clerk, to be attached, 'so that he have their bodies before the justices Michaelmas three weeks'. Both sheriff and constable subsequently appeared before the justices, but as the pledges withdrew their assertion, the issue of who was responsible is not recorded.57 The explanation of this story seems to be that the constable of the castle of a place where there was a Jewish community, but which was a liberty, was responsible for the local Jewry; but either at all times, or after 12 75, he could be under the supervision of the sheriff. Only the constable of the Tower, and probably the constables of Bristol and Stamford, were always independently responsible to the Crown for their local Jewries. But whether sheriff or constable was in charge, the Jews would have had to go into the castle to see him or his staff, although not for the business of the archa, since the latter was not normally kept in the castle.58 We can see the variety of ways in which the sheriff and his staff could interfere in the lives of the local Jewry, from the list of monies paid by the Jews of Canterbury and received by Reginald of Cobham between 1251 and 1254. He was sheriff of Kent from 1249 to 125659 and the list is printed as an appendix to volume IV of the Exchequer of the Jews. The document, in Norman-French, is not what it might appear to be: an official return of receipts from the local Jewry, like the Tower Rolls printed in the same volume. On internal evidence, it must have been compiled by the Canterbury Jews themselves. Otherwise, how can we explain items like no. 70: 'Taken for our festivities and for conveying the king's commands 100s.'; or no. 87: 'Taken from the community in small amounts which we do not now remember, amounting to ?40.' Who can 'we' or 'our' refer to except the Canterbury Jews themselves? Was this an attempt by the communa of the Jews of Canterbury to complain to the enquiry held in 12 5 5 into the usurpation of royal rights and liberties of subjects 'to enquire touching the king's rights and liberties . . . and to enquire touching keepers of castles and things belonging to those castles?'60 The list details eighty-six items: some are charges for transactions for which the sheriff was not entitled to charge; others charges for leaving Canterbury; bribes to avoid serving on an inquest, for giving the commune what they were entitled to by the king's command, for enabling it to pay the correct share of tallage, for allowing the leading communal magnate to nominate his son as keeper of the archa and for fixing a date for his daughter's marriage, for allowing Jews to have Christian maidservants in the Jewry (contrary to the Lateran decree), for dropping charges against individual Jews - in total f329.8s.4d. The document shows how important it was that particular people should,</page><page sequence="13">Jews and castles in medieval England 13 or should not, be on the castle staff. It was worth four marks to Aaron son of Josce that Benedict of Shorne should not be appointed Kompagnon' to the constable, John Alexander, and 40 shillings to the communa not to have John of Northwood appointed as Constable (no. 80). This is not surprising, as it was by the hand of John of Northwood that the constable took 100s. for a halfyear and 8 bowls of silver and 8 buckles worth 16 marks (no. 5). Altogether, in this small community of about 200-300 souls, about twenty individuals are listed as having been made to pay in this way, some of them again and again over a period of three years. Finally, in the records of the Tower of London printed also in volume IV of the Exchequer of the Jews, we can study in depth the functions of the castle as administrative centre and prison for the Jews. They are the rolls of receipts by the sub-constable, Giles of Oudenarde, and the Serjeant, Hugh de Gravely, for the years 1275 to 1278. There are three rolls: the first covers receipts and perquisites for nearly two and a half years (20 January 1275 to 8 June 1277) and totals fi125.7s.4d. The second and third rolls cover virtually the following eighteen months, from early June 1277 to end-December 1278. The sub constable's roll totals C426.3s.9d. The Serjeant's roll has some additional items and slight variations and totals ?564.108.1 id. The difference in the totals between the two periods covered is striking and reflects the general imprison? ment of the Jews at the end of the second period. The rolls contain three different types of receipts. First, there are payments made by Jews and Christians arising from the administration by the Tower officers of the London Jewry - including the fines imposed by the Court of the Constable, over which presumably the sub-constable presided and which had its own clerk.61 Second, there are payments made by Jews, whether London residents or not, who were imprisoned in the Tower, or payments for being let out on bail. Third, and distinct from what can be regarded as normal receipts, there are the payments arising from the arrest of virtually all the heads of Jewish households (600 in all) on 17 November 1278, on charges of clipping the coinage, and their subsequent incarceration in the Tower of London. Historians have doubted that so many Jews were in fact arrested and imprisoned. But I owe to the kindness of Mrs Zefirah Rokeah an entry she discovered in the Record Office which puts the matter beyond doubt. Giles of Oudenarde, sub-constable of the Tower, includes in his accounts for the regnal year beginning 20 November 1278 a sum of ?31.1 is. for 30 foot Serjeants for guarding 600 Jews of various counties, arrested for offences against the coinage, for 140 days.62 The timing fits the general arrest on 17 November 1278 and the final order to stop this attack on them on 7 May 1279. The Tower</page><page sequence="14">14 V. D. Lipman Rolls, which seem to list receipts more or less chronologically, reflect only the first month of this mass detention, but even so throw much light on it. The roll for the first two and a half years (1275, 1276 and the first half of 1277) includes only 58 items with fines averaging just over ?2 an item.63 It may represent even fewer cases coming before the court since some entries relate to the same incident e.g. 'from a certain Christian fighting in the Jewry us/ followed immediately by 'from a certain goldsmith fighting in the Jewry' suggests the same fight. Nearly a dozen of those fined are Christians: the offences were fighting in the Jewry, taking silver into the Jewry, falsely claiming a pledge, being found in the Jewry (presumably at night) or merely 'for a certain allegation' (fama). In virtually every case where a Jew is named he can be identified as a London resident. Four of the payments relate to 'respite of imprisonment'; the others are either for unspecified charges or usually have something to do with money: 'changing money', 'suspicion of having plate' (made from clipped coins), 'clipping', 'paying a light halfpenny in the market'. A few relate to conduct: 'fleeing from the custody of the Serjeant' or 'contradicting the Serjeant'. When we come to the two rolls covering the eighteen months from mid-1277 to end-1278, which I have collated, the 500 items divide into (i) about 360 routine receipts from the constable's jurisdiction over the London Jewry, (ii) 105 receipts from individual prisoners (e.g. for bail) and (iii) 35 exceptional items manifestly due to the first month of the mass imprisonment. It is difficult to tell whether many of the receipts from prisoners are really for routine detention of London Jews or the mass imprisonment of Jews from the whole country, or from Jews who were not imprisoned at all. A number of Jews are fined for spitting. This is more likely to have been suspicion of insulting behaviour near a Christian place of worship in the City rather than a breach of the Tower's sanitary regulations. Again Jews are frequently fined for dicing, the penalty being apparently I2d. a person. On one occasion eight, and on another four, Jews are fined simultaneously, which suggests they played in fours. I think this is an offence committed inside the London Jewry rather than in the Tower. While, if Koc son of Jacob is fined 10s. for hitting a Christian woman, he probably did it in the streets of London; Samuel Baggard, fined 6s. 8d. for striking the wife of Josce Henn, might have done it when both were either in the Jewry or in the Tower.64 On the other hand, payments for Jews to be allowed to keep a festival or to keep Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur or for pregnant women to be temporarily released indicate imprisonment. Some of the items clearly relate to the mass imprisonment: 'from the Jews of Wilton for gates' (i.e. to be allowed freedom within the precincts); and from the community of the Jews of Norwich 'for</page><page sequence="15">Jews and castles in medieval England 15 gates'. We know that the sheriff of Norfolk was paid ?5 for transporting Jews and their property from Norwich to the Tower;65 five Jews of Canterbury paid for easy imprisonment (the rest may have been in Canterbury Castle); five Jews of York paid to be let out on the Sabbath; there are payments from the Jews of Oxford, of Hereford, of Bedford, of Lincoln; and from the Jews of Stamford 'so that they might be by themselves'. We also learn something of the conditions of the mass imprisonment which began in November 1278. Several Jews paid 64s. to be fettered individually, implying others were manacled together. There is an oral tradition still current in the Tower that the 600 Jews were put in the sub-crypt of the White Tower but this seems improbable since the area was intended and used for storage.66 The rolls refer to Jews 'in the tiled stable', in the 'elephant house',67 'in the tower beyond the elephant', 'in Hagin's Tower', 'in Brother John's Tower', 'in Brother John's stable', 'in Brother John's cellar'. This was the period when the Tower was undergoing ten years of continuous extension, and Brother John of the Order of St Thomas of Acre was a deputy to Giles of Oudenarde in charge of the works.68 Towers probably appear in the accounts with what can only have been unofficial names because they were still incomplete and not yet officially named. Hagin may well be Hagin, son of Master Moses, the arch-presbyter, who had been lodging in the Tower before,69 but in 1277-8 was there as a prisoner rather than an ordinary resident. One gets the impression of the unfortunate prisoners being pushed into whatever accommodation could be found within the Tower, including unfinished buildings. The Tower, like most castles, was not built as a prison, but was used as such, and was particularly suitable because of its size and the availability of its garrison as warders. Even so, and with the reinforcement of the thirty foot Serjeants already mentioned, the Tower could not accommodate all the 600 prisoners entrusted to the constable. Entries in the roll such as: 'from the community of the Jews of London for the gates of the Guildhall ?13.17s.' and 'from two Jews of York in the Guildhall so that they could be mainperned, 6s.8d.' suggest that Guildhall was used as an overflow prison for the London Jews and some at least from York, although even here they were able to purchase some freedom of movement within the precincts, or release by providing pledges (mainperning). Though not physi? cally within the Tower, however, they remained within the custody of the constable, and he received the payments because, as master of London's castle, he was responsible for the London Jewry and for any Jews in custody there. What general conclusions can we draw from this survey of the relationship of the medieval Jew to the castle as a place of refuge, control and suffering? Firstly that - at the local level - whoever controlled the royal castle had a direct and continuing influence on the daily life of the Jew, and that the castle had an</page><page sequence="16">i6 V. D. Lipman influence on the pattern of Jewish settlement. Secondly that some constables at least, either in place of or under the supervision of the sheriffs, played a considerable role in the local machinery of administration. This certainly extended to fiscal matters like the collection of tallage, but whether apart from the Tower of London there were also in the 13th century many castle courts dealing with minor criminal cases is doubtful. However, the officer in charge of the castle would certainly not allow any interference by a municipal court with cases arising in the Jewish community under his wing. Thirdly that the castle and its buildings must have been familiar to the Jews whose homes were usually near its walls, and that conversely those based in the castle must have been familiar figures in the Jewry. Fourthly, as the Tower Rolls demonstrate, if Christians were fined for offences 'within the Jewry' (and there are other references to being 'in the Jewry' at Norwich and elsewhere), there must have been some legal definition of the Jewry as an area. Was it merely the aggregation of all houses in Jewish occupation, or was it a specifically defined area which, since Christians also lived in the Jewry, must have included their houses as well? Certainly, the reference to fighting in the streets of the Jewry suggests that there was a legally defined area excepted from municipal jurisdiction. Finally, one begins to see an emerging picture of the geographical structure of medieval Anglo-Jewry, with twenty or so communities, each a corporate body or communa, into which Jews were progressively aggregated for taxation and control, and to which all Jews were affiliated, even if they spent some or all of their time in other places within the same county. In every case, the focus of the community was the royal castle and whoever was in charge of it, whether constable or sheriff, had the keeping of the Jews and exercised a continuing influence on their daily lives. Very few visible remains of medieval Anglo-Jewry have survived - docu? ments, seals, tallies, a few caricatures, a very few genuinely attested houses. Perhaps the royal castles of England, some of which, like the Tower, survive in grim reality, are among the objects which most significantly evoke medieval Anglo-Jewry. NOTES 1 J. M. Rigg, Select Pleas of the Exchequer of the Jews (London 1902) 1-2. 2 H. G. Richardson, English Jewry under Angevin Kings (London i960) 111. 3 History of the King's Works I (HMSO 1968) 20. 4 D. F. Renn, Norman Castles in Britain (London 1973 edn.) 2. 5 B. H. St. J. O'Neil, Castles: An Introduction to the Castles of England and Wales (London 1973) 9 6 King's Works I (see n. 3) 34, 111.</page><page sequence="17">Jews and castles in medieval England 17 7 Richardson (see n. 2) 12. 8 Ibid. 12. 9 Pipe Roll, 5 Henry II (quoted Richardson [see n. 2] 9, n. 4). 10 R. Allen Brown, Castle Rising: Official Handbook (HMSO 1978) 10-16. 11 Richardson (see n. 2) Appendix VI. 12 History of the Jews in England (Oxford 1964) 277. 13 D. M. Knowles and R. M. Hadcock, Medieval Religious Houses of England and Wales (London 19 71) passim. 14 V. D. Lipman, Jews of Medieval Norwich (JHSE 1967) 93-4 15 Ibid. 52. 16 J. C. Robertson, Materials for History of Thomas a Becket (London 1858) 111, 119. 17 Calendar of Patent Rolls 1266-72, p. 515 18 R. B. Dobson, 'The Jews of Medieval York and the Massacres of March 1190', Borthwick Papers, No. 45 (1974). 19 V. D. Lipman (see n. 14) 62-3. 20 C. Roth, Jews of Mediaeval Oxford (Oxford Historical Society, New Series IX, I95I) 25. 21 H. M. Chew and M. Weinbaum, The London Eyre of 1242 (London Record Society, VI, 1970) 277, 329. 22 E.g. 1277, Michaelmas, 86. 23 Exchequer of the Jews (hereafter: EJ) (JHSE 1972) IV, 131. 24 R. Allen Brown, 'Architectural History and Development', in J. Charlton (ed.), The Tower of London: Its Buildings and Institutions (London 1978) 31. 25 Cf. Sarah Cohen, Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, Mich. 1277-Hilary 1279 p. CVII. Typescript of thesis to appear as E/V. 26 EJ II, 260. 27 Exchequer of the Jews, Mich. 1277-Hil? ary 1279 (Sarah Cohen thesis [see n. 25] CVII). 28 H. M. Cam, The Hundred and the Hundred Rolls (London 1930) 36. 29 W. A. Morris, The Mediaeval English Sheriff (Manchester 1927) 183. 30 EJ II, 151. 31 Curia Regis Rolls, no. 102 7. For further details, see Trans JHSE XXI (1968) 74-5. 32 EJ s.v. Isaac Babelard. I owe to the generosity of Mrs Z. Rokeah an unpublished reference she found in E9/38, m.3 dorse (1281) to Jornin son of Abraham, serjeant (serviens) of the Tower of London, who with other Jews (Aaron son of Elias and Moses of Doggestrete) was assaulted while conducting the body of the murdered Jew, Josce of Guild ford, through Southwark. It seems that at least one Tower serjeant concerned with the Jewry was a Jew. 33 Close Rolls, I26i,p. 385. On the other hand, Dr Paul Brand has drawn my attention to an entry in the Memoranda Roll for Hilary Term, 1260 (Ei59/33, m.7), which shows that when Licoricia of Winchester was removed from the Exchequer Marshal's cus? tody to that of the Tower constable, the rolls of the Exchequer were searched and proved that Jews as well as Christians owing clear debts enrolled at the Great Exchequer were always delivered into the custody of the Marshal of the Exchequer. 34 Richardson (see n. 2) 155. 35 In 1270 a citizen of the liberty of Marlborough began a suit concerning a mes? suage against Solomon son of Lombard before the Marlborough bailiffs' court, and the con? stable of Marlborough Castle reported this to the justices of the Jews who ordered him to stop the case. When the two bailiffs and 12 bur? gesses of Marlborough resisted, he was ordered to cause them to appear before the justices of the Jews, who rejected their plea that the charter of Marlborough gave their court juris? diction; and, after conferring with the King's Council, fined them for contempt and trespass against the rights of the Crown (EJ I, 224-5). Dr Paul Brand has kindly given me his view that the existence of castle courts with jurisdic? tion over the Jews can be inferred from the reference in EJ I, 18, to the limitation of 2od. on any amercement by sheriff or constable on the Jews of Exeter (1218) and the wording of the saving for the pleas, plaints and other things touching the Jews, belonging to the constabulary of the castle of Winchester, in the writ appointing protectors of the Jews of Winchester in 1270 (Calendar of Patent Rolls. 1266-72, p. 417). 36 R. B. Pugh, Imprisonment in Medieval England (London 1968) 7, 68.</page><page sequence="18">18 V. D. Lipman 37 Ibid. 168, 178. 38 EJ I, 51; M. Adler, Jews of Mediaeval England (JHSE 1939) I93~5 39 C. Roth (see n. 20) 24. 40 Aaron denied the charge and also refused an opportunity to acquit himself, according to the custom of the Jewry, by a mixed jury of Jews and Christians (Select Pleas of The Exchequer of the Jews [London 1902] 120-1). 41 Richardson (see n. 2) 168-71. 42 Bristol Jews were also imprisoned in Bristol Castle for non-payment of tallage in 1276 (Adler [see n. 38] 213). 43 Ibid. 97. 44 Cam (see n. 28) 66. 45 Roth (see n. 39) 38, 131 n., 155. 46 'placitis, querelis et aliis ipsos Judeis tangentibus . . .', a phrase which Dr Brand (see n. 3 5 above) regards as implying the existence of a castle court exercising jurisdiction over the Jews. 47 Lipman (see n. 14) 59, 240. 48 Patent Rolls, 1217, pp. 95, 98. 49 EJI, 177, 256. 50 EJ II, pp. 131 ff. 51 EJ II, 204. 52 There are numerous references to the constables of Bristol and Stamford acting in relation to the local Jewries after 1275, but (as was the case in London) when a mixed jury had to be empanelled, the constable in Bristol summoned the Jews, and the sheriff the Chris? tians. Cf EJ II, 198 for Bristol, EJ II, 33 for Stamford. 53 EJll, 51. 54 EJ I, 12, 201. 55 EJlll, 102-3. 56 Devizes was the centre of a small liberty, into which the sheriff would not nor? mally have right of entry. 57 EJ II, 42-3. John de Havering was later sheriff of Hampshire. 5 8 The archa, or chest, in which records of debts were preserved, was governed by rules which do not seem to specify where it should be held. But that it was not normally kept in the castle may be inferred from the fact that in 1268, 'during the war in our Lord the King's realm, our Lord the King's London Jewry being destroyed, Robert de Culworth, who com? manded the Tower of London for Hugh le Despenser, took a charter from the London chest, which was then [my italics] in the said Tower' (Select Pleas [see n. 40] 38); and in Canterbury at the same period the Baron's soldiers and others entered the house of Simon Pabley, one of the Christian chirographers and removed the Canterbury archa to Dover, where it disappeared (ibid. 51). 59 Hasted, History of Kent I (Canterbury 1778-9) lxxi. 60 Cam (see n. 28) 29; Patent Rolls, 1355, p. 438. 61 The royal justices, who held their sessions in the Tower, used - certainly for the great Eyre of 13 21 - the top floor of the White Tower; the civil pleas in the Great Hall on the western side; and the pleas of the Crown in the smaller hall on the east (Seiden Society, Vols 85 and 86, cited in a letter to The Times of 10 February 1978 by Mr Victor Tunkel, who explains what happened when the Queen required the top floor because she was having a baby). It may be assumed that the constable's court used the eastern side of the top floor. 62 E352/74. 63 E/IV, 171-3. 64 Items which undoubtedly relate to the administration by the constable of affairs within the London Jewry include a payment of half a mark from the community of the Jews of London for the slaughterhouse, or a fine of 50s., on Manser Despenser 'because he set himself up as bailiff'. 65 Z. Entin Rokeah, 'Accounts of Con? demned Jews' Property', Bulletin of Institute of Jewish Studies I p. 24. 66 R. Allen Brown (see n. 24) 31 refers to a purpose-built prison house in the 12th century and the use of the White Tower's middle and upper stories for imprisoning hos? tages in 1249 (Close Rolls, 1247-51, 241-3), but adds that the White Tower was later needed for other purposes and that after Henry Ill's and Edward I's walls and towers were built, imprisonment was usually in the bas? tions of the Inner Ward. 67 In 1255 Louis IX of France presented Henry III with an elephant. The sheriffs of London were ordered to pay for the building of a house '40 feet long and 20 feet deep for Our Elephant'. The elephant died two years later. The building was to be made in such fashion</page><page sequence="19">Jews and castles in medieval England 19 and strength as to be fit for other uses when required (The History of the King's Works II (HMSO 1968) 715 gives the sources). 68 The King's Works (see n. 66) 722 gives details of his career. 69 Select Pleas (see n. 40) 73 ('apud Turrim Londonie, ubi dictus Haginus tune temporis moram fecit').</page></plain_text>