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Medieval Southampton and its Jews

Mrs. Patricia Allin

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Medieval Southampton and its Jews* PATRICIA F. D. ALLIN The story of medieval Southampton Jewry cannot be understood except against the back? ground of the topographical development of the town, and its activities as a port; important then as now. 'Clausenturn' was the Roman name for that part of Southampton where they maintained a garrison. Clausentum was probably occupied by the native Britons after the Roman with? drawal from the country in about 411 c.e. At a much later period this Roman area of Southampton became known as Bitterne. The Saxon settlement in Southampton was situated in what is now the suburb of Northam, around St. Mary's church. The Saxons knew the town as 'Heantun', or 'Hamtun', and the surrounding district as 'Hamtun-Scire'. The name 'Ham Tun' is pure English. 'Ham' is home and 'Tun' is enclosure. THE TWO HAMTONS The name of 'Hamtun', with various spellings, continued in use until about the middle of the tenth century, when the prefix 'south' is met with. It was probably felt necessary to add this prefix to Hamton after the annexation of Mercia to Wessex to distin? guish the town from the Mercian Hamton, now known as Northampton. We can assume, therefore, that the original settlements were situated in the north and north-eastern districts and outside the medieval walls of Southampton. At some period the people decided to remove themselves from the low-lying areas, and founded a new town on elevated, and therefore more easily defendable, ground. The Danes landed at Southampton on at least three occasions but did not always meet with success. Perhaps these earlier forays promp? ted the founding of the new town, at some time during the more settled reign of King Cnut. There is no doubt that the move aided the growth of Southampton as a port. Ideally situated, better able to defend itself from sea? borne attackers, and with the natural advan? tage of a double high water, giving four hours at high water. It may well be, however, that Southampton's prosperity had little to do with the original Anglo-Norman settlement. It was the link not with Normandy but with central and south? western France under Henry I (the first Angevin king) and the various regroupings of alliances and territories under the later Angevin kings that made Southampton one of the major ports of England.1 About the end of the twelfth century and the beginning of the thirteenth the merchants realised the importance of constructing houses and stores with direct access to the water. Fine stone houses were built with their own undercrofts, warehouses, and quays. These undercrofts served many purposes; they were used for storage but their main use was as showrooms and shops. One of these houses along the western shore was 'RuncevaP, which was built to the north of the West Gate. This house is of particular interest to us because at one period in its well-documented history it was owned by Benedict of Winchester, of whom more later. NEW STONE HOUSES A rebuilding of the defended areas of South? ampton was undertaken. The new stone houses were built on regular plots which flanked a grid system of streets, and we find new lanes overlying the earlier wattle and daub buildings.1 A number of the stone undercrofts of these houses have survived the passing of time and the air-raids of the last war, and can be inspected today. All the building stone employed had to be imported from the Isle * Paper delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England, 8 April 1970. 1 Colin Platt's forthcoming book on medieval Southampton deals with these points. 87</page><page sequence="2">88 Patricia F. D. Allin of Wight and elsewhere, which must have substantially added to the cost of this operation. The trade and wealth of the port were based on the export of wool and the wine trade. Imports were varied: fine pots from Sain tonge and Spain, wooden mazers, bow staves; alum, woad, and dye grains for the wool trade; Spanish leathers, spices, and pet monkeys. The lists are long and varied. The exports were in the early period, chiefly wool and tin. English wool was very highly prized and large quantities were shipped through Southampton. The town was extremely cosmopolitan, first the Normans, then the Gascons, citizens of Bordeaux, Spaniards, and Italians traded and settled in the port. Many of these merchants, although foreigners, were admitted as gildsmen (i.e., members of the association which controlled commerce and the town itself) and also as burgesses and even attained the office of mayor. There is no doubt that the influx of foreigners raised Southampton from a small impoverished town to the status of one of the leading ports of the country. In the account of the new tax of the fifteenths of merchants, issuing from 35 ports, Southampton was assessed for ?712 3s. 4d., being the third largest assessment. This list is incomplete but, nevertheless, it points to a thriving port and wealthy merchants.2 The Gild must have been established early in Southampton's history, for Henry II granted the men of Hanton the right to hold their Gild and all their liberties and customs, by land and by sea, as they had the same in the time of his grandfather, King Henry. A charter of Richard I (1189) granted the bur? gesses freedom 'from toll, pesage and pontage both by land and water, both in fairs and markets and from all mercantile custom in all parts of the king's dominions, both on this and the other side of the sea'.3 In 1199 King John repeated his brother's grant and three days later sold prosperous Southampton the fee-ferm of the town. The burgesses gave ?100 for the ferm (i.e., the right, themselves, to collect and pay over the dues to the Crown) of Southampton together with that of Portsmouth and all that belonged to the ferm of Hanton in the time of King Henry, at the annual rent of ?200.4 This purchase of the fee ferm not only indicated the wealth of the town but also the burgesses' desire for some measure of inde? pendence from the Exchequer. JEWS IN THE PORT Did Southampton have Jewish residents ? It is quite likely that French Jews settled in the town after their expulsion from France in 1180, and if we accept the royal castle at Southamp? ton (as distinct from a baronial castle) as providing protection for 'the king's Jews' there is every reason to expect to find Jews living in the port. Assimilation of these French Jews would have been very easy, for French was the language of the town and in fact was spoken and written (town records French and Latin) for at least three centuries. However, an archa (the registry for debts from Christians to Jews) was established at Winchester, not Southampton. Why? A very important reason could have been the geographical situation of Winchester, which was better placed to serve the whole of Hampshire, whereas Southampton was sited on a narrow peninsula which geographic? ally afforded very limited and circuitous inland routes. This fact would also account for the Sheriff of Hampshire's residence in the Castle at Winchester. As Winchester had an archa, Jews were permitted to live there without special licence. It is, however, my contention that there were a number of Jews living in Southampton, even, perhaps, unlicensed. It has been proved that there were aliens living in the town after the expulsion in 1290 whose business activities were not fully recorded in the returns to the Exchequer, but the sums of money given as bribes were noted in the foreign records.5 This could have been the case before 1290, but unfortunately there is so little local material available for this early period. The absolutely firm evidence for Jewish residence in Southampton is very 2 Pipe Roll, 6 John 1204, p. 218. 3 Charter Rolls 11 Henry III, p. 1. M. 7. ? Pipe Roll 2 John 1200, p. 206. 5 Italian Merchants and Shipping, Dr. Ruddock.</page><page sequence="3">Medieval Southampton and its Jews 89 limited. In the first place, there must have been Jews there before 1236, because they were forbidden in that year: 'The king has granted to his burgesses of Southampton that hence? forth, no Jew shall remain in Southampton without special order of the king and the Justices of the Jews are ordered that no Jew may come to reside at that place, nor are they allowed to reside (or stay) in the same place without the King's special licence'.6 Incidentally I shall, at this point, rectify the statement made elsewhere, that the town of Southampton owed Aaron of Lincoln 40 marks. The Pipe Roll of 10 Richard I records that the town owed the Exchequer 40 marks of fine for their tallage. In the same Roll it is recorded that Nigel de Havena (that is, Keyhaven, near Lymington) owed 50 marks. Nigel owed this money for a business partner? ship he had with Gervase of Hamton (of whom more later). An Exchequer clerk erroneously enrolled these debts?together with several others?under the 'Debts of Aaron' in the Pipe Roll of 3 John, 1201. It must be stated that Southampton's bur? gesses, who were also members of the Gild, were notorious for their independence of action when it suited their best interests. From the order granted to the town in 1236, it would seem that Southampton's Jews were no longer profitable to the burgesses. This would account for the lack of a separate Jewish tallage from Southampton, though it could have been included in the Winchester returns. THE ARCHA AT WINCHESTER From the Exchequer's standpoint, the establishment of the archa at Winchester was a much sounder proposition. The church and the city were much favoured by the English kings and it is reasonable to suppose that the Treasury expected and obtained obedience from the citizens of Winchester, who, from the records available, were certainly more com? pliant than Southampton men. From 1236 to 1274, there is no positive evidence of Jews in Southampton. In 1274 a Jew of Winchester, coming to Southampton to collect outstanding debts, gave rise to a riot. It is a well-documented story, worth retelling because it appears that only the Jew from Winchester was attacked; there is no reference to attacks on any Jew living in the town, of whom we know there were some. This riot was not entirely due to strong anti Jewish feelings. The burgesses of Southampton, in common with civic leaders throughout the realm, were a rumbustious, colourful, well dressed, well-fed, and well-housed group of men. Laws, local and royal, were made to be broken when it suited them. Piracy involving the leading townsmen was not uncommon. If there was a chance to increase their profits they seized it and went round the law or openly dis? obeyed. They disliked the constant embargoes on the export of wool, as these orders obviously affected their income. The townsmen were accustomed to meeting and trading with foreigners and aliens, Italians, Frenchmen, and Spaniards, providing these aliens were not too numerous in the port. When the numbers of aliens increased the townsmen worried, and sometimes took violent action. The aliens, especially the Italians, had superior shipping, and their business connections and methods were more advanced. Then the burgesses feared for their own trade lest it all fall into the hands of foreigners, who of course sent their own countrymen as resident agents to the town. The burgesses were also well aware of the huge debts incurred by the English Grown, and of the vast amounts of money owed to Italian bankers. They were also tired of heavy taxation. We have then an explosive situation. All that was needed was the match. This was provided when the Sheriff came to Southamp? ton to collect outstanding debts. With the Sheriff came Deudonne, son of Isaac, a Win? chester Jewish chirographer and keeper of the archa. SAVAGE ASSAULT The town bell rang a warning, the hue and cry was raised, and Henry de Schottesbrok, Gilbert Conan, and Adam (the Sheriff's men) and Deudonne were savagely attacked.7 6 Close Roll 20 Henry III, p. 275. 7 Cal. Plea Rolls Jewish Exch., Vol. II, p. 130.</page><page sequence="4">90 Patricia F. D. Allin Deudonne* was dragged from his horse and robbed of his super-tunic and tabard, valued at half a mark, and six marks of silver. One of Deudonn?'s debtors (a burgess, Roger Balvayr) wounded him in the arm with a knife. Henry was stoned and robbed of his tunic and chattels. Adam was wounded by an arrow and as it could not be removed was forced to ride back to Winchester with the arrow in his shoulder. Gilbert's left cheek was sliced open by an axe and the townsmen carried him into the town and imprisoned him. The Sheriff said that Gilbert Conan was mortally wounded in the fray and his life was despaired of.8 Henry de Schottesbrok and Deudonn6 brought separate actions (Deudonne claimed ?20 and damages) against Robert Hue, James Isamberd, John Ryngston, James de Castello, Robert le Mercer, and about thirty-six other townsmen.9 For various reasons these inquests were not heard. We then read that Henry paid a fine of 40 marks for himself and his pledges for not prosecuting the townsmen.10 I feel this fine was unjust. The Sheriff had certainly done his best to have his suit heard. John Ryngston was fined 20 marks, and the new Sheriff of Hampshire, John de Haveringe, was sent to collect John's fine together with other fines levied on the townsmen. He did not succeed in collecting all these moneys and because of his failure to do so was in default.11 King Edward's patience was exhausted and, by his writ addressed to the Justices under the Great Seal, Robert de Ludham came to the town to take the inquest. This inquest could not be held and the cases were ordered to be heard at Westminster.12 This move of venue was unsuccessful. Eventually the Sheriff was ordered to the town to distrain the burgesses and others for yet another hearing. The Sheriff reported that some of the defendants could not be found, two were dead, and one was a clerk without lay fee. He further said that when the writ was returned to the Bailiffs it was disregarded. The writ was finally annulled in 1275, by a writ addressed to the Justices under the Great Seal.13 This annulment did not pardon the burgesses and townsmen; for their transgressions the King took the town into his own hands. On 22 May 1276 the burgesses gave ?20 for the restoration of their town. This ?20 was added to the usual ferm of Southampton and the town paid the increment until the time of Henry VIII.14 The burgesses must have petitioned the King to intervene on their behalf, for in 1278 the Justices of the Jewish Exchequer were ordered not to molest the innocent community of Southampton for the injuries done to Deudonne*.15 KING'S SEIZURE OF LAND James Isamberd's lands in the town were taken into the King's hands for James's part in the riot. In 1289 James appealed to the King for the restoration of his estates which were seized for his default against John de Hardington. I am sure that 'Hardington' is a clerical error and should read 'Haveringe'.16 In 1275, Edward agreed to his mother Eleanor's wish to exclude Jews from towns which were part of her dower. One would, therefore, think that their residence in such towns, of which Southampton was one, would be impossible.17 But in 1274 and 1275 Jews were granted permission to live with their families and trade in the town and elsewhere. If anti-Jewish feelings were very strong, these people would surely have stayed away. Joce of 8 Ibid., p. 137. * Ibid., pp. 132, 138, 200, 206, 219, 220. These gildsmen and burgesses could have stood trial on behalf of the town; I think this is unlikely, as some of the accused men were definitely debtors and Southampton was granted a charter (40 Henry III 1256) 'of freedom from arrest in their persons or goods for any debt for which the burgesses are not either sureties or principal debtors, unless it shall happen that the debtors be of their body and have wherewithal to satisfy their debts in whole or in part, and that the burgesses fail of doing justice to the creditors of the said debtors'. io Cal. Plea Rolls Jewish Exch., Vol. II, pp. 195, 232, 286. " Ibid., pp. 242, 249. 12 Ibid., p. 216. 13 Ibid., p. 302. 14 Cal. Fine Rolls, 4 Edward I, p. 69. is Cal. Close Rolls, 6 Edward I, p. 439. i? Cal. Close Rolls, 17 Edward I, p. 50. 17 Cal. Patent Rolls, Edward I, 1275, p. 76, and 1281, p. 438.</page><page sequence="5">Medieval Southampton and its Jews 91 Germany and Saloman son of Saloman were living in the town and stayed some years.18 Deudonn?, who was savagely beaten in the riot, would never have applied for a licence to live and trade in the port if the burgesses were antagonistic.19 Benedict, a former Jewish chirographer of Winchester, and his son Lumbard (who was appointed a Winchester chirographer in his father's stead) obtained possession of that prime Southampton house 'Runceval'.20 I am sure the presence of Jews in the town can be attributed to a participation in trade in addition to moneylending The acquisition of 'Runceval' (about 1273, possibly a year earlier) would certainly point to this, as 'Runceval' had direct access to the West Hythe or West Quay and its own undercroft and storage facilities. Benedict acquired 'Runceval' because it was the collateral for a debt which was not paid, and could therefore have held it purely as an investment property and neither lived there nor used it for business purposes. I cannot find any reference to tenants during the time the premises were in Benedict's hands and, as we shall see, he had at least 20s. worth of goods and chattels in the house; an amount equal to half the annual value of the property. So, either Benedict must have used it as his residence when doing business in Southampton, or have used it for storing goods. The goods might have been pledges for loans, or, if I am correct, goods used for trading. In any event, it shows that 'Runceval' was used by Benedict, not merely let out as an investment property. The details of the house itself are therefore of particular interest to Anglo-Jewish his? torians. The King appointed Benedict to the office of Jewish Escheator at the Jewish Exchequer in London, in 1276. This appointment would not have adversely affected his Winchester and Southampton activities, for Benedict's son Lumbard was on hand to supervise the family's local affairs. In 1273 we read in the Plea Rolls of the Jewish Exchequer that Benedict of Winchester was unlawfully and without judgment ejected from his house 'RuncevaF in Southampton by Richard de Gloucester, a brother and heir of Dame Claremunde. Richard and his men removed Benedict's goods and chattels to the value of 20s. In the following year Richard of Gloucester and his co-heirs released and quit-claimed to Benedict and his son Lumbard all their rights and claims in the tenement of 'RuncevaP with its appurtenances. Benedict gave Richard 20 marks and 20s. to the king.21 It would appear from the local records that the Gloucester family soon disposed of their inheritance. In 1270, prior to their disposal of 'RuncevaP, they sold a house in Bull Street, bequeathed to them by Claremunde, to James Isamberd, and another in the same street to Thomas Demychenaler.22 They also disposed of houses and lands in the town to St. Denys Priory.2 3 LOANS TO MERCHANTS From the records it is obvious that Benedict had numerous business dealings in Southamp? ton. It is interesting that all known moneys lent, either by Deudonne or Benedict, were to members of the merchant oligarchy, who were or had been responsible for the administration of the town and port. Benedict had lent money to another member of the Gloucester family. He sued Thomas Demychenaler, or 'Halve knight', tenant of lands and houses late of Petronilla, widow of Nicholas de Gloucester. In 1275 Benedict agreed to withdraw the charter made between Petronilla and himself from the archa and Thomas was to give Benedict a tun of wine, Jewish measure, or 60s. in default. 24 Benedict was accused of coin-clipping and was hanged in 1280. Coin-clipping, or filing of the coin edges, was widespread and certainly anyone handling money had the opportunity is Gal. Plea Rolls Jewish Exch., Vol. II, p. 173; Joce and Saloman were still resident in the town in 1275. i* Gal. Close Rolls, 4 Edward I, p. 259. 20 Cal. Plea Rolls Jewish Exch., Vol. II, pp. 95 and 96. 21 Ibid., p. 119. 22 Mr. Denholm Young's Cal. God's House Deeds, Nos. 508, 509, 510, 511. 23 Cal. St. Denys Ghartulary, No. 81. 24 Cal. Plea Rolls Jewish Exch., Vol. II, pp. 219, 282, and 291.</page><page sequence="6">92 Patricia F. D. Allin to debase the coinage in this way. The clip? pings or filings were made up into sheets or 'plates' of silver which gave the offenders a bonus illicit profit. In 1278 debasement of the coinage had increased to such an extent that an accused person found guilty was now liable to capital punishment. Many Jews from all over the country were imprisoned and brought to trial for this offence. Many were found guilty on very flimsy evidence, as the charge rested upon whether the accused had any clipped coins or silver sheets in his possession or a complaint had been laid against him of passing on debased coins. I can see no reason why Benedict should have indulged in the practice?his financial position was sound and he was in favour with the King and on very good terms with the civic leaders of Winchester and London. I assume that jealous and prejudiced debtors laid these charges and, as in other cases, committed per? jury. I feel strongly Benedict was unjustly accused, found guilty, and hanged. On 6 November 1280 the King ordered that Benedict's Southampton house, 'Runceval', be restored to the Prior.25 The name 'Runceval' is probably a corrup? tion of 'Roncesvalles', as the hospital afterwards known as St. Mary Rouncival at Charing Cross belonged to the Prior of Roncesvalles in Navarre; and possessed 100s. worth of land in Southampton. The property adjoined the West Gate of Southampton and was situated in West Gate Lane in the parish of St. Michael. The site measured 84 feet in length south-north from the lane and 44 feet in breadth from the Linen Hall, which was situated in the same lane.26 'Runceval' was one of the best-known houses in the town. It was probably built at the same time as the other houses on the shore at Southampton, and originally belonged to William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke and regent for Henry HI. William granted the property to the Prior of Roncesvalles. The Prior granted the house to Dame Claremunde for life, for 40s. yearly. Claremunde and her husbands owned many properties in the town, but 'RuncevaP was their home. After Glaremunde's death, William and Richard de Gloucester, her heirs, took possession of 'RuncevaP and held it until they forfeited it to Benedict.27 HISTORY OF A HOUSE I can trace nothing of the history of 'RuncevaP between the demise of Benedict in 1280 and the year 1362. In that year the executors of the will of Sir Ideur Peverel, knight, conveyed Sir Ideur's house 'RuncevaP to Stephen Mychel. In 1367 Stephen Mychel conveyed 'RoncevaP to John Brown and Nicholas Sherewynd, burgesses of Southamp? ton.27 The next interesting mention of the house is in 'The Terrier of Town Lands' of 1454, which lists the 'capital tenement called 'Le RounsevalP as 'now of Thomas Payne, formerly of William Nycol and at one time, of William Ravenstom'. William Nycol was a wealthy man, a goldsmith, trader, and wine merchant. Henry V pledged his jewels to Nycol to raise money for the French war. William was Mayor of Southampton five times. Although records of leases of 'RuncevaP con? tinue until the nineteenth century in the Town Records, these leases must refer to new buildings or partial rebuilding on the site of 'RuncevaP, for in a presentment to the Court Leet made in 1569, 'we present that, whereas, the common inhabitants of this town were wont to have at their need paving stones for their doors, out of the "Rounsivall" for 4d., a load, they cannot have them now under 8d., a load, besides the carriage which costs them 4d., a load, which is in all 12d., a load, which is a great grief to the said inhabitants, wherefore we desire your worships that you would consider of it'. If the local inhabitants were wont to cart as much building stone as this presentment implies, there can have been very little of the original 'RuncevaP still standing. At the present time all that remains of the original is part of its stone undercroft beneath 8 Westgate Street. The west side of 'RuncevaP was incor? porated into the town walls in the fourteenth 25 Gal. Inquisitions 8 Edward I, Misc., No. 1204. 26 Corporation Terrier of Town Lands 1617. Record Office, Southampton. 27 SC4/2. No. 102. Record Office, Southampton.</page><page sequence="7">Medieval Southampton and its Jews 93 century. The Royal Sovereign public house and the cottage which now occupy part of the site of 'Runceval' in Westgate Street are probably late eighteenth century. CHRISTIAN MONEYLENDERS Jews were not the only financiers in medieval Southampton, as elsewhere there is evidence of Christian moneylending on quite a large scale by merchants of the town. In 1276 a deed was drawn up between two burgesses, William Peche and John Dyset (Dyset had borrowed money from one of the Winchester Jewish lenders). William bought and received two 'dolliis' of wine to the value of 60 solidi from John. The money was payable at Whitsun in the same year. William pledged his house on the south of Simnel Street. William later 'sold' a cellar and shop in the same street to John.28 I do not know if this was the property pledged to Dyset for the wine but it would appear to be the same. Pledging for payment at a later date was probably common practice. Other Christians mentioned in the records include William Trentergeruns, the Viscomte (equivalent to Sheriff) of Rouen, who lent large sums to Henry II;29 Gervase de Han ton, known locally as Gervase le Ryche,30 among whose many clients were Richard I31 and John, the Count of Mortmaine, later King John;32 it is possible that Gervase's nephews and heirs, Walter and Thomas, continued to lend money. In 1198 Walter owed a hundred marks for King Richard's benevolence and Thomas owed ?100 of fine, predicted on the chattels of Gervase, for an inquiry on how much he had of the chattels.33 I cannot accept Mr. H. G. Richardson's comments about the King's seizure of Gervase's goods for usury after his death in 1192. Mr. Richardson in his book The English Jewry under Angevin Kings, says of Gervase 'That his debts were in the king's hands after his death because he had been a usurer receives, how? ever, no direct confirmation from the pipe rolls. If that were the reason we should expect a number of Londoners to be in like case: but this we do not find.' Why London Christian moneylenders were not charged with usury I do not know, but I am sure that in Gervase's case his properties, etc., were definitely taken and held because of usury and that the subsequent payments made to the crown by Isabella, his widow,34 and his nephews is proof enough. In 1204 King John obviously still had some interest in Gervase's properties, for we find G. F. Petri, who can probably be identified as Geoffrey fitz Peter, the Justiciar, giving King John two tuns of wine for the King's confirmation of Gervase's house in Southamp? ton (i.e., the West Hall), which Petri wishes to buy from Isabella widow of Gervase.35 Claremunde of Southampton (daughter of William de Gloucester), who was also a money? lender on a large scale, had her property seized by the King in 1260, after her death, though in her case no mention is made of usury in the writ.36 Dame Claremunde was locally well known.37 She had had two very wealthy husbands, of whom the second, Stephen Joscelini, definitely lent money in addition to his more legitimate business activities. BULEHUSE FAMILY One of the earliest debts sold by a Jew to a Christian (after Henry Ill's prohibition) in? volves the Bulehuse family of Southampton. In 1269 Henry HI had forbidden the sale of Christian debts, by Jews, to other Christians without first obtaining the King's licence and with the condition that no usury was to be exacted by the purchaser of such debts. On 28 Queen's College Cal. God's House 1276. Nos. 642 and 643. 29 Pipe Rolls, 2 Henry II, p. 55. 9 Henry II, p. 56. 11 Henry II, p. 45. 30 Ibid., 31 Henry II, p. 215; 28 Henry II, p. 147; and 11 Richard I, pp. 5, 6, 136. 31 Ibid., 5 Richard I, 1194. 32 Cal. God's House Deeds, No. 1022; ibid., No. 310; ibid., M. No. 298. Nos. 951, 955, 956. Pipe Roll, 4 John. Intro, and p. 16, and 8 Richard I, Chancellor's Roll 1196, p. 196, Roll of Escheats; Pipe Roll, 4 John, p. 16; ibid., 9 Richard I 1197, Intro, p. 20. 33 Pipe Roll 10 Richard I, p. 25. 34 Ibid., 8 John and 9 John, pp. 151 and 141. 35 Ibid., 6 John, p. 129. 36 Extracts Fine Rolls, 44 Henry III, p. 337. 37 Cal. Patent Rolls, Henry III 1253, p. 209.</page><page sequence="8">94 Patricia F. D. Allin 24 July in the same year the King granted a licence to Swetman of Winchester to sell to William de Monte Revelli, yeoman of Edward, the king's son, the debt wherein Bartholomew de Bulehouse was bound to Swetman.38 The Bulehuse family's misfortunes started with a demand by King John in 1211 for 700 marks 10s. and 4d. for the Scutage of Ireland from Thomas de la Bulehuse.39 Thomas died some three years later and the debt to the Exchequer fell on his wife, who was unable to meet it.40 In 1254 the debt was still outstanding and we find Thomas's grandchildren, Simon, Joseph, and Bartholomew, and their sister Cecilia, paying the King 20s. for an assize of no disseisin.41 The Bulehuse family borrowed money from Swetman of Winchester and a hundred marks from Benedict of Winchester42 but were still unable to settle their debt to the Exchequer and were now indebted to moneylenders. In the hope of easing his financial position, Bar? tholomew sold most of his lands in Southamp? ton to St. Denys Priory. Swetman obviously felt that it was useless trying to collect the outstanding debt, hence the sale to William de Monte Revelli. The 'Bulehuse' was sold to James Isamberd in 127043 and an entry in the St. Denys Chartulary refers to 'Bartholomew, late of the Bulehuse'.44 This once wealthy and important family were penniless, all the debts still unpaid. It is worth noting that the Warden of Maison Dieu and the Prior of St. Denys had settled townsmen's debts in exchange for grants of land and properties.45 The Crown appeared unaware that the possession of large assets?as in the case of the Bulehuse family?did not imply an avail? ability of large amounts of ready cash. I suspect that these taxations were the downfall of a number of families. Because of the importance of Southampton as a centre for overseas trade, the question obviously arises whether Jews resident there participated in this trade. Did medieval English Jews trade on their own account? Dr. Lipman in his book The Jews of Medieval Norwich says there is no evidence that they did. I feel that in Southampton they could well have been involved in the export and import trade in exactly the same way as Christian financiers and merchants. This was a very busy port and it is possible?despite all the known restrictions on Jewish trading?that Jewish goods were shipped under cover of the local burgesses' names. It is known that this method was used in Southampton by alien Christian merchants with the connivance of the burgesses.46 We know English Jews were in regular communication with their brethren on the Continent and thus would have an ideal set-up to engage in trade?especially with Gascony and Bordeaux?in addition to money lending. One should bear in mind the Italian family banking and trading houses of the same period, which were organised in a similar way. JEWS AND MERCHANTS All the local debts recorded in the Plea Rolls of the Jewish Exchequer are for sums of money lent by Jews to the Southampton merchant oligarchy. All these merchants had held or did hold important local offices. The post expulsion business documents drawn up between local merchants bear a striking resem? blance in format to the Jewish Chyrographum. The James Isemberd cited in the 'riot trials' was an extremely prominent citizen of the town and the owner of a well-known house, the 'West Hall'. He was also the uncle of Thomas Halveknight. Most of the important local families were related by marriage. The other rioters had also been indebted to Jewish money? lenders and were burgesses and bailiffs of the town. All were men of substance and owned properties in Southampton and its suburbs. Their names appear many times in local docu? ments and leases. It is very odd that all the known Southampton loans should have been made to prominent merchants. It is interesting 38 ibid., 1269, p. 359. 39 Pipe Roll, 13 John 1211. 40 Exch. King's Rem: Mem. Roll, E. 159/22. 41 Extracts Fine Rolls, 38 Henry III, p. 183. 42 Cal. Close Rolls, 52 Henry III, p. 462. 43 Cal. God's House Deeds, Nos. 600, 601 and 751. 44 Cal. St. Denys Chart., p. 55, No. 195. 45 God's House Deeds and St. Denys Chart. 46 Italian Merchants and Shipping.</page><page sequence="9">Medieval Southampton and its Jews 95 to speculate whether Jewish financiers were in fact trading in the port in partnership with the local men, possibly as 'sleeping partners'. Though Southampton does not, so far, provide any conclusive evidence, I feel there are sufficient pointers to suggest that Jews did play a part in financing trade in the thirteenth century.</page></plain_text>