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Records of MSS. and Documents Possessed by the Jews in England Before the Expulsion. Presidential Address

Rev. H. P. Stokes

<plain_text><page sequence="1">RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY THE JEWS IN ENG? LAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. By the Rev. H. P. STOKES, LL.D., F.S.A. {Presidential Address, delivered on November 23, 1914.) I should like to begin by offering congratulations to my predecessor, Mr. Elkan N. Adler, whose second term has been especially successful in providing the Society with needed funds. I may be allowed to express a hope that this sounder financial footing will enable the Society to go forward in its historical work. It would be gratifying to see the comple? tion of the Exchequer publications, which Mr. Bigg began and continued with so much learning and skill; to see the editing of certain Jewish docu? ments now in the Starr Chamber at Westminster Abbey and elsewhere; and to welcome the history of the Jewries in many of our important towns, such as Oxford, York, Bristol, Norwich, Stamford, &amp;c. It has been thought best to open our Session to-day with the usual Business Meeting, and with a Presidential Address; and we reserve for a second meeting, to be held on December 7th, a paper by Dr. Abrahams and an address by Mr. Lucien Wolf on certain topics suggested by the war. Meantime, I am called upon as President to address this gathering; and I must begin by thanking you for the honour you have done me by electing me to this important office, and by asking your indulgence and forgiveness if, now and then, not having the native touch, I make mistakes and slips. I am glad to know, however, that there are many learned friends who will help me and correct me. I have recently laid before this Society certain chapters of a some? what technical character on the early History of the Jews in this land. I 78</page><page sequence="2">RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS. 79 ask to be allowed this evening to talk informally, in more popular words, about an aspect of the same period, viz. about the records which tell of the manuscripts and documents possessed by the English Jews in the days before the Expulsion. Many of the facts to which I shall refer have, of course, been noted by former gleaners in this field; but some points may be fresh, and in any case I desire to present a general view of the subject. The place of honour must naturally be accorded to the scroll of the Law. This we meet with in the synagogue, in the home, in public seats of learning, in private libraries, as well as in the courts of law and in various tribunals; and, it must be added, in the pledge-shop. To begin with the synagogue, we may quote the following historical record from Holinshed :1 " The Disinherited Barons and Gentlemen in the Isle of Oxholme, in the year 1266, took and sacked the city of Lincoln, spoyled the Jews, and slew many of them, entered their Synagogue, and burnt the Book of the Laio, with all their charters and obligations." My hearers will remember Mrs. R. N. Salaman's elegant version of Meir of Rothenburg's elegy on the " Burning of the Law " in Paris, and will wish for a similar poem in connection with the beautiful city on a hill in Lincolnshire, which still possesses visible links with its old J ewry. The mention of Lincoln will call to remembrance a well-known document,2 printed by the late Mr. M. D. Davis in his interesting JTntO^ ; where is given the record of an arrangement made before a Bethdin in the year 1271 between Benjamin the son of Joce Yechiel and Belle-assez the daughter of Rav (or Master) Benedict, the son of Master Moses of London. Belle-assez undertakes to marry her daughter Judith to Aaron, the son of Benjamin, giving as a wedding gift to the young bridegroom twenty marks and a precious volume containing the whole twenty-four Books of the Hebrew Bible " in one volume, fiftly ordered with punctua? tion and the Massora, on calf-skin, and on every leaf six columns and the Targum of the Pentateuch and the Haphtorah by themselves, all written therein." The young folks being too youthful to marry yet, the father of 1 History, iii. 272 ; Foxe, Acts, i. 438 ; Prynne, Short Demurrer (1st ed.), p. 35, (2nd ed.) p. 32. 2 M. D. Davis, Shetaroth, pp. 298-302.</page><page sequence="3">80 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY the bridegroom undertakes the charge of the Book, keeping it for the use of the children. At the time of the wedding, which is to take place four years later, Benjamin is to provide both bride and bridegroom with wedding apparel befitting their station, both Sabbath and week-day clothing, and to make the nuptial feast. [It is sad to turn from these pleasant prospects to a reminder of the terrible risks to which the grand? father Benedict1 was exposed in the matter of " little Hugh of Lincoln," and to the record of the calamitous fate which carried the mother, Belle assez,2 to the gallows on a charge of coin-clipping.] Later on in this same Lincoln deed, we are told that " the parties, each and either, enter into a solemn compact and oath of the law, hold? ing a sacred emblem in their hands, and swear to perform their respective shares of the covenant." The learned Seiden,3 in his section on " The Jews Sometime Living in England," says : " What oath was given them I find not, but B. Moses Mitkotzi that lived in the time of Henry III writes in prrnc. affirmat. 123, that holding the book of the Pentateuch between their arms, they called the God of Israel, which is merciful, &amp;c." A reference to Moses of Couey's Sepher Misvoth haggadol, Affirmative precepts, No. 123, gives a long and interesting account of the taking of an oath; while in the Talmud, Shebuoth 386, may be seen a description of the oath with the holding of a hefes; the phylacteries and the scroll of the law being instanced. Rashi, ad loc, states that this form was discontinued in his day (1040-1105). From a Gaonic responsum, published by Ginzberg, Geonica, ii. 147, we learn that this custom of taking an oath on the sacred scrolls had been dropped by the Gaonate at a time long prior to the age of the author of this responsum, a form of conditional excom? munication being substituted. Some of the details, not only of the Talmudic form, but also of this Gaonic substitution, lie at the bottom of certain of the humiliating elements of the ceremonial oath more Judaico, which so long disgraced many of the European Courts. It is strange that Seiden should be ignorant of the form of the 1 J. Jacobs, " Little St. Hugh of Lincoln," Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, i. 123. 2 E. Venables, Walks through the Streets of Lincoln, p. 25. 3 Seiden, edn. Wilkins, vol. vi. p. 1460 ; Tovey, Anglia Judaica, p. 40.</page><page sequence="4">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 81 Jewish oath in pre-Expulsion days, for the oath (the Talmudic variety) meets us often in the English documents of that age. Let us take examples : In the Charter 1 granted to the Jews by King Richard I in 1190, after alluding to the determination of a quarrel with witnesses, it is stated that " if the Jews are appealed by any one without a witness, let them be quits of that appeal on their own oath upon their book (super libvum suum), and let them be quits from an appeal of those things which pertain to our crown on their own oath on their roll (super rotulum ipsorum)P The following expressions may be quoted from the TVnttBS edited by the late Mr. Davis: rmnn nyi2^3 T#2?0 (p. 15); niOT JWjn . . . njDBO (p. 149); D^DDn JlpTD *m (p. 188); mwn W?TD WJBn SHCO (bis) (p. 193); fan r&amp;tMn wan to (p. 199); 'pan uvnm ijnBtt man fan n^tm rrnra vnvb (p. 367); &amp;c. From the Plea Bolls of the Exchequer of the Jews examples such as the following maybe taken:2 " Walter herdsman, attached to answer Isaac Scrovy touching a plea of unlawful detinue of gages; to wit, a Psalter in the Hebrew character, value 12c?., and other articles to the value in the whole of 40s., which Isaac alleges that he delivered to Walter for safe keeping, and Walter detains against him to his damage, 100s. Walter defends, putting Isaac to his oath touching the said chattels and their value, which made, he will satisfy him thereof. Isaac therefore swears upon the Hebrew Book, that he delivered all the said chattels of the said value to the said Walter " ; and so on. Many other instances might be given, but it may suffice to quote a record,3 which contrasts the ordinary Custom of the Realm with the Jewish form: Abraham, son of Deulecresse, Jew, was attached to answer to Simon de Greynvill and Isabel his wife, touching a plea of trespass as to certain jewels, &amp;c, to the value of .?21, which Isabel had given before her marriage to the said Jew for safe keeping. Abraham, it may be noted, had lodged with his servant and a boy and two horses 1 Rymer, Faldera, ed. 1816, i. 51. 2 J. M. Bigg, Calendar of the Plea Molls of the Court of the Exchequer of the Jews, vol. i. pp. 143, 144. 3 J. M. Bigg, Select Pleas, &amp;c, pp. 88, 89. YOL. VIII. F</page><page sequence="5">82 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY at the house of the said Isabel, and at the expense of the said Isabel for seventeen weeks at one time, and then a second time for eighteen weeks, and ought, it was asserted, to have paid her for the said lodging ??19. So the case was complicated. But the aspect which we are con? sidering is the form of oath to be taken by Abraham. On the day appointed, " the Jew came and made his law single-handed on his Book of the Jewish Law (Judeus venit et fecit legem suam, se sola manu super Librum suumde Lege Judaica). And the said Simon craved judgment by reason that the said Jew had not made his law as he ought to make it, because according to the Custom of the Bealm he ought to come and make his law twelve-handed (debeat se duodecima manu ad legem faciendam); and thereof he craved judgment. And the said Jew says that he made his law in the form a Jew ought to make it against a Christian, and likewise craves judgment thereof. And the said Simon likewise. And because the said Jew made his law as a Jew ought to make it against a Christian, to wit, single-handed upon his Book, therefore it is adjudged, that the said Abraham go quit thereof. And the said Simon is in mercy." Having marked the use of the Holy Scripture in the synagogue, in the home, and in the law court, we may turn to the study thereof in the school and in the university. " If Professor Joseph Jacobs 1 is correct in assigning England as the birthplace of an Oxford manuscript, dating from the thirteenth cen? tury, of a work, minn "?pn, treating of Jewish education, we 2 may learn from it the notable fact that it was deemed requisite for teachers to translate the Bible into the vernacular as well as into Tar gum." On the important and interesting question as to the existence of Hebrew MSS. in colleges and in monasteries, and as to the amount of Hebrew scholarship therein before the time of the Expulsion, I do not purpose to say much. Scholars like our own member, Dr. Hirsch, are still investigating the subject; and many Oriental MSS. still lie undescribed in college libraries. But in a year when the commemoration of the seventh centenary of the birth of Koger Bacon is being observed, reference must, of course, be made to that extraordinary genius. In particular, 1 The Jeivs of Angevin England, pp. 243, &amp;c. 2 S. Singer, " Early Translations, &amp;c, of the Jewish Liturgy in England," Transactions of the Jeiuish Historical Society of England, iii. p. 37.</page><page sequence="6">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 83 mention must be made of the Fragment of his Hebrew Grammar, which Dr. Hirsch 1 has edited from a manuscript in the University Library at Cambridge. His predecessors, the unnamed " Homo sapientissimus," the illustrious Bishop Grosseteste, and perhaps other Grey Friars, should be noted; and so should William de la Mare. And attention may be drawn to " the Jew Andrew," whom Roger Bacon associated with Michael Scot, and whom Mr. Wood Brown 2 identifies with " el Conhesso Alfequier " of Toledo; and to another Andrew, whom Dr. Hirsch 8 claims to have been an English Augustinian monk. Cardinal Gasquet4 says of the unnamed scholar, mentioned above as Bacon's elder contemporary, that Hebrew Bibles and dictionaries existed in his day in England, but that the volumes do not seem to have been accessible to him. An interesting and important example of such a portion of the Holy Scriptures may be seen in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, a Psalterium ffebraieo-Latinum, numbered 782 in the Catalogue. It is in triple columns, twenty-three lines of Hebrew, forty-eight of Latin, to a column. Column one contains the Hebrew well written (probably by a Jeiv), with points and accents, and an interlinear literal (Latin) render? ing for each word. " The book is an important monument of the mediaeval study of Hebrew in England." Other corresponding MSS. exist at Oxford, at Corpus Christi College, and at St. John's. See in an Appendix 5 to this paper descriptions of the MSS. quoted from M. Samuel Berger 6 and from Dr. M. R. James.7 Attention may also be called to an article in Revue des Mudes Juives, iv. pp. 255, &amp;c, by M. J. Bonnard, with notes by M. Arsene Darmesteter, commencing: "Le MS. B.N. fr. 1 qui date du commence? ment du xive siecle et contient une traduction de la Bible en dialecte anglo-normand renferme aux fos 258vo et 259ro, ? la suite des Lamenta 1 The Greek Grammar of Roger Bacon, loith a Fragment of his Hebrew Grammar, by E. Nolan and S. A. Hirsch. 2 Rev. J. Wood Brown, Life of Michael Scot, p. 118. 3 S. A. Hirsch, in Roger Bacon, Commemorative Essays, ed. by A. G. Little, p. 146. 4 English Quarterly Review, 1897, p. 516. 5 See Appendix I., p. 95. 6 Samuel Berger, Quam notitiam lingual Hebraicce, &amp;c, Paris, 1893, pp. 49, &amp;c. 7 Dr. Montague R. James, Western MSS., Trinity Coll., Camb., ii. pp. 244, 245.</page><page sequence="7">84 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY tions de Jeremie, un alphabet dans lequel chaque lettre hebraique est expliquee par un mot latin et par le mot anglais correspondant." Visitors to the Library of Pembroke College, Cambridge, may see in the show-case a Jewish relic of much interest?viz. a leaf from an English Siddur of the twelfth century. This is described by the Rev. Moses Abrahams1 in an article printed in the Jews' College Jubilee Volume. The MS. occurs in the binding of a Latin treatise, numbered 59 in Dr. James's Catalogue.2 It contains portions of the Selihoth, such as are now used in the German rite on the week days of the Penitential season. There are, however, several interesting variations. The Latin volume, with which it is so curiously connected, reached Cambridge from Bury St. Edmunds, where there was a considerable Jewish congregation until the expulsion of the Jews by Abbot Samson in the year 1190. It is no hazardous suggestion (says Mr. Abrahams) that the leaf was obtained from the Bury Synagogue after 1190, and that it had been in actual use there before that date. Turning now from MSS. of the Sacred Scriptures to commentaries and histories, we may go back to the somewhat early days of Master Robert of Cricklade,3 Prior of St. Frideswide's (1141-1180), who was "a man of letters and skilled in the Scriptures, nor was ignorant of the Hebrew tongue. He sent to divers towns and cities of England in which Jews have dwelling, from whom he collected many Josephuses written in Hebrew, gaining them with difficulty, since they were acquainted with him because of his knowing the Hebrew tongue. And in two of them he found this testimony about Christ written fully and at length, but as if recently scratched out; but in all the rest removed earlier (ab antiquo), and as if never there. And when this was shown to the Jews of Oxford summoned for that purpose, they were convicted and confused at this fraudulent malice and bad faith towards Christ." Such is the account given by Giraldus Cambrensis;4 the reference, of course, being to the disputed passage in the Josippon. 1 Rev. Moses Abrahams, Leaf from an English Siddur of the Twelfth Century, pp. 109, &amp;e. 2 Dr. Montague R. James, MSS., Pemb. Coll., Camb., p. 54. 3 Collectanea, iL, Oxford Historical Society, pp. 164 and 317. 4 Giraldus Cambrensis, Opera, viii. 65.</page><page sequence="8">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 85 More than a century later, at the end of the year 1286, we find from a Papal Letter,1 that " a Mandate was issued to the Archbishop of Canterbury and his suffragans to oppose by inhibitions and spiritual penalties, by sermons and other means, the books commonly called Thalamud, which the Jews of England are putting forth as of greater authority than the law of Moses, to the injury of the faithful, and the apostacy of the converts from Judaism." The like mandate was sent to the Archbishop of York and his suffragans. I do not purpose here to reproduce the considerable list of com? mentators and writers whom the learning and ingenuity of Dr. Joseph Jacobs have claimed for the twelfth century Anglo-Israel. They may be seen in his excellent book, The Jews of Angevin England, and in certain volumes of the Jewish Quarterly Review. I will only allude to a curious narrative which may be read in the Introduction to Abraham Ibn Ezra's Sabbath Epistle,2, written on his visit to London in the summer of 1158. The personified Sabbath appears to our distinguished Spanish visitor, and alludes to certain books of com? mentaries on the Law (minn WVB D'HDD) which his pupils had brought the day before to his house. The scene opens up an interesting view of the state of learning and of disputations among the English Jews in the twelfth century. Nor do I purpose now to describe the numerous Jewish legal deeds, many of which still survive, while formerly thousands of them must have existed in the chests of the chirographers and in the hands of money? lenders and their clients. But I should like to refer to certain allusions to manuscripts in the possession of Jews which are mentioned in these starrs and in many public rolls which are fortunately preserved in the Becord Office and elsewhere. I am afraid that most of these will be found to be pledges and sureties, and that they are regarded rather from a financial than from a literary point of view. There are, of course, exceptions, such as the Family Bible, already described, as a wedding present in the deed of Belle-assez, the daughter of Master Benedict of Lincoln; and there are occasionally disputes among Jews themselves as 1 Catalogue of Papal Registersy i. p. 491. 2 J. Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, p. 35; M. Friedl?nder, " Ibn Ezra in London," Transactions of the Jeioish Historical Society, ii. 47.</page><page sequence="9">86 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY to volumes, but even these may have been pledges such as we now pro? ceed to describe. We will commence with another Jewess with a picturesque name ?Licoricia, the wife of David of Oxford, a rich Jew who had formerly lived at Lincoln and also had a residence in London. Licoricia was his second wife?his first wife having been divorced1 under peculiar circum? stances. One of their sons bore a name which echoed his mother's? Sweteman,2 or Douceman. Licoricia, on her husband's death in 1244, was enormously taxed before she could claim the family property. Before giving the record which tells of this extravagant demand, it may be pointed out that in quoting it Madox omits the very sentence which links it with our subject this evening. That industrious and painstaking historian and antiquary?to whose researches into our old records too much praise cannot be accorded?does not think worthy of notice the books, which must have been of considerable interest. This is his state? ment :3 " King Henry III commanded the Barons to commit Licoricia, widow of David the Jew of Oxford, with all David's chattels and securities to six of the richer and discreeter Jews of England willing or nilling: they to answer to the King a fine of 5000 marks entered into by her for her husband's chattels, &amp;c."; but in the Latin original which Madox faithfully gives as a note, it is added, " except three boohs which we retain to our own use" From a deed in the Fine Rolls,4 we learn what these books were, viz. a Bible (Bibliotheca), a Psalter with a glossary, and certain Decretals. Doubtless these volumes were of great value thus to be retained in royal hands. They were, however, afterwards apparently restored to Licoricia. In the Fine Roll just mentioned there occurs later on a curious phrase: "If any book shall be found, which may be against the law of the Christians and the Jews (contra legem Chris tianorum vel Judeorum), let it be condemned." Wrhat the unusual words in brackets mean is doubtful; perhaps it is a vague and untechnical phrase. While we are dealing with Licoricia another harsh treatment of 1 Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. v. pp. 158, &amp;c. 2 J. M. Bigg, Calendar of Plea Rolls of the Court of the Exchequer of the Jews, index. 3 Madox, History of the Exchequer, i. p. 247. 4 Excerpta e Rotulis Finium, ed. Roberts, 1835, p. 418.</page><page sequence="10">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 87 that Jewess may be referred to ; and here again Madox in quoting the record omits a matter of great personal interest. This is how the author of the History of the Exchequer 1 writes : " King Henry III gave towards the fabric of Westminster Church ?2591 ; and appointed a private Exchequer (or Chest) for the receipt and management thereof," &amp;c. But when we turn to the corresponding Patent Roll,2 we find that the money was a forced contribution from Licoricia. Then the Kings benefaction to the Westminster Abbey appears in a different light. I am reminded of an inscription, engraved upon a rock, which I saw when travelling in Syria, at Nahr-el-Kelb; this recorded the making of a road in the days of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, whose titles were set forth in some half a dozen lines, while the actual maker of the road was merely added in small letters at the end. I am also reminded of the well-known inscription prominently exposed on a bridge over a Welsh stream: John Jones Esquire, Of his great bounty, Built this Bridge? At the expense of the County. But perhaps no Jew will regret the fact that a pre-Expulsion mother in Israel had a share in the erection of our National Temple of Honour. One of the sons of the above-mentioned Licoricia was named Cock erell; and of him it is recorded in the Plea Bolls of the Exchequer of the Jews,3 under date 1253, that he offered himself against Bonamy, son of Samarian'?who like himself lived in Winchester?touching a plea, that he return him a Hebrew book, value 20s. Bonamy made default of appear? ance, and was ordered at a later date to answer touching the default and the main plea. Unfortunately, the Bolls in question are lost for the next thirteen years, and we are unable to chronicle the fate of the valu? able Hebrew book thus contested for by these two Jews. In this same year, 1253, Henry de Farley, Sheriff of Hampshire, was summoned by certain Jews for retaining various properties which had been delivered to him as gages for the tallage formerly owing to the king, but now paid. Diaia,4 son of Soliel, of Winchester, thus claimed 1 Madox, u.s., ii. 3. 2 Patent Rolls, 1246, p. 478. 3 J. M. Rigg, u.s.t i. 120. 4 J. M. Rigg, Select Pleas, &amp;c, p. 18.</page><page sequence="11">88 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY the return of a number of articles, including a Hebrew book entitled Gamaliel1 of the value of 20s., Glosses on the Five Books of Moses of the value of 5s., and a book containing the Five Books of Moses. (It is mentioned that Henry de Farley had a similar Book, under similar circumstances, from Bonevie of Newbury.) The sheriff, how? ever, produced a Starr, signed by Diaia, authorising the sale of the gages in default of payment. And the Jew came, and acknow? ledged that he made the said starr; but alleged that he was forced to make it by the said sheriff, and in proof thereof offered suit. And witnesses were examined, and would not bear testimony thereof. So to judgment, that the Jew is in mercy for a false claim, and for the false witness which he brought upon his summons of the sheriff his body is committed to prison. He afterwards made fine in two bezants, which he paid, and is quit. Again, under the same date, 1253, the Jews' Exchequer Bolls con? tain a very elaborate account of an action at Oxford between one Walter de Bradele and a well-known Jew, Jacob, son of Master Moses, as to the observing of a covenant2 made between them touching a codex, value 10 marks, which the said Jacob sold for 100s., paid for the said Walter, which book the said Jacob had in pawn from a certain clerk for moneys lent. We need not here follow the details of the dispute, which went against the Jew. Turning to another set of documents, the Close Bolls,3 under date November 3, 1258, we read an interesting description of the claim of a Friar, J. de Balsham, for the restitution of pieces of his Bible found in the Jewry, Oxford, pledged to a Jew. Referring to the Jews' Exchequer Rolls (I am quoting, as usual, Mr. Rigg's excellent edition for this Society), in the records4 of 1266 it is stated that Aveline, widow of Gilbert, smith, was attached, at the Surrey Court, to answer Solomon, son of Lumbard, touching a plea of unlawful detinue of a chest with decretals, value 1 mark, with silver 1 Bacher (in Winter und W?nsche, Die J?disch Literatur, ii. p. 293) notes that a twelfth-century author refers to the Commentary of Gamaliel on the Old Testament. Bacher suggests that the Talmud is meant. 2 Rigg, Plea Bolls, &amp;c, i. 123, 124. 3 Athenazwm. November 3, 1858. 4 Rigg, u.s., p. 131.</page><page sequence="12">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 89 spoons and other goods. Defendant avers that the Jew never delivered the goods to her, but that he hired a house of her by the year. And she, being apprised that he had deserted the house, went thither and there found a chest buried underground, and kept it for arrears of rent. This record is so much damaged that it is impossible to determine the full issue, but the jurors seem to have decided that the said Aveline never received the goods from the said Jew. The question of the storage, especially the underground storage,1 of Jewish treasures is of much interest. It will be remembered how, in Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott makes Locksley (i.e. Robin Hood) cause Isaac of York to grow pale as death by saying: " I am intimately acquainted, Isaac, with the very iron chest in which thou dost keep thy money-bags. What! know I not the great stone beneath the apple-tree, that leads into the vaulted chamber under thy garden at York ?" The novelist speaks here with his usual picturesqueness, and, shall we say, with his usual slight inaccuracy. But there are, of course, many allusions in old records to underground chambers; and indeed to this day certain of these vaulted chambers remain. At this very time, at Cambridge, a house is about to be demolished, or altered, which was a Jewish synagogue in early pre-Expulsion days. Our Antiquarian Society has appealed to the Town Corporation, who are the owners of it, to spare the underground rooms with their massive walls, and a favourable reply has been sent to us. Let us notice two or three of the references to these subterranean chambers. In the Plea Bolls2 for the Michaelmas term of the year 1244, it is stated that the sheriff of Warwickshire notified to the justices that " Elias, son of Isaac Lumbard, is a coin-clipper, and so convict by inquest had thereof, and that clippings were found in his house in a pit Underground." Other accusations were made against Jews, and between Jews; but it is not to the miserable story, which is told in shocking detail, but to the " fossa sub terra " that reference is here made. In another case,3 some thirty years later, it is recorded that " whereas 1 A mandate is quoted in the Bibliographical Guide to Anglo-Jewish History, p. 29, in the following words : '* The coffins of the Jews to be searched." This sounds exciting ! But a reference to the original, in Rymer's Faldera, shows that it is a misprint for coffers, and merely refers to an official inspection of the Chiro graphical Chests. 2 Rigg, Select Pleas, &amp;c, p. 11. 3 Rigg, Plea Rolls, &amp;c, ii. 160.</page><page sequence="13">90 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY the Justices, &amp;c, were given to understand that upon the death of Samuel Blund, Aaron, son of Vives, came to the said Samuel's house and there found buried beneath the earth gold, silver, and other treasure tanta? mount to a large sum of money, which treasure as subterranean belonged of right to the King, the Justices were minded to be certified of this matter: wherefore mandate went to the Constable; that he cause to come before, &amp;c, on the morrow of St. Margaret so many and such Jews by whom the truth, &amp;c.; and the inquest came by [twenty-four prominent Jews whose names are set out], who say upon their oath, that neither the said Aaron, son of Yives, nor any other since the turmoil of the realm found any treasure in the said Samuel's house, &amp;c. Asked who it was that first laid this to his charge, they say, that Josce of Warwick for some contention that was between him and the said Aaron maliciously and falsely charged him with finding treasure in the said house and carrying it away; wherefore they entirely acquit the said Aaron of the said accusation." Josce was eventually committed to prison. With reference to the statement made in this record that subter? ranean treasure belonged of right to the King, it may be pointed out that, in the Statute1 " Ckapitles tuchaunz le Gywerie," occurs a clause : " De treseur trove de suz terre en mesons des givs ou ayllurs apres la mort des gyvs." Another phrase in the last record may be noticed as suggesting the cause for such cautionary measures on the part of the Jews. " The tur? moil in the realm " refers, of course, to the outbursts during the Revolt of the Barons, when the Jews suffered very severely in Lincoln, Cambridge, and other places. But attacks upon the Jewries occurred on many other occasions. For instance, the well-known Isaac of Southwark2 com? plained before the Justices, in 1274, that his house at Guildford was attacked, the doors and windows being broken, and his goods and chattels carried off. Similarly, in the same year, Deudone,3 a prominent Jew of Winchester, accused a dozen citizens that, " with the assent and consent of the whole community," they had assaulted him and wrecked 1 Dr. C. Gross, "Exchequer of the Jews," in Papers read at the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, 1887, p. 219. 2 Rigg, u.s., ii. 142, 231. 3 Ibid., ii. 196, 227.</page><page sequence="14">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 91 his house. This unfortunate Jew later on met a miserable fate. Again, in the following year, Aaron,1 son of Vives, an important Jew, having purchased a house at Bedford, was driven out of it, the doors being broken, and the tiles of the roof being carried away. And yet again, in the same year, at Bristol,2 the houses in the Jewry were attacked by night with force and arms, and damage done to the extent of ??1000. And so at other times and at other places. No wonder, therefore, that the Jews built themselves stone houses and vaulted chambers. To return to examples of the pledging of MSS., &amp;c. The following is a Lincolnshire case,3 recorded in the year 1274. Roger Le Clerk of Wassingburn had four years previously delivered to Manser le Petit of Stanford and Benedict atte Thornbrig a Biblioteca, value 5 marks; Decretals, value 10s.; and Institutions, value 4s. The books are now reclaimed, and the dispute is referred to twelve Christians and Jews. Next, an Oxfordshire case4 may be given. Vives, son of Copyn, gave the King 1 bezant for a writ to the Sheriff for his discharge from gaol if the cause of his arrest should be the pledging of a book with him. Monks and friars not seldom left pledges with the Jews. Such a case has been noted above. Here is another. In 1278, Brother Henry de Wimpole, one of the Brothers of the Convent of Mount Carmel at Oxford, came before the Justices, and in the name of the Brotherhood aforesaid demanded from Margarina,5 Jewess of Oxford, who was present, three books pledged to her by the Brotherhood, to wit, St. Paul's Epistles with glosses, value 40s.; St. Matthew, with glosses, value 7s.; and the Sentences, value 10s.; which books she unlawfully detained against the Brotherhood, to their damage, ??20. And the said Margarina . . . said . . . that she never had any such books from the Brothers. Inquest was made by twelve Christians and Jews, who were not able to agree, the Christians said that Margarina had the books in pledge, and the Jews said the contrary. But Margarina seems to have acknowledged the pledge. There is a curious entry in the Close Rolls,6 in the year 1279, which 1 Rigg, u.s., ii. 263. 2 Ibid,, ii. 297. 3 Ibid., i. 252. 4 Ibid., ii. 52, 102 (1273). 5 Rigg, Select Pleas, &amp;c, p. 103. 6 Close Polls, 1279, pp. 565, 566.</page><page sequence="15">92 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY states that the poor students at Oxford had pawned so many of their books with the Jews that they could not go on with their studies. Application was made to the King for assistance to get them restored. There was apparently a delay in the royal proclamation. From the Patent Bolls,1 in the following year, under date February 20th, we learn the appointment of Master Philip de Witeby, King's clerk, to sell the books and other goods, late of certain Jews of Oxford forfeited, for trespass of coinage, to the King. Lastly, under this heading, attention may be drawn to a record in the Bolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, in the year 1281, with reference to two Jewesses,2 of Oxford, named Belasez and Hittcote, who had lately been converted to the Catholic Faith. It is pointed out that, of their property, one moiety was assigned to the House of Converts in London and the other moiety to the converts themselves. In this case there is given a list of the goods and chattels of the two Jewesses, consisting of nine books and 10s. in coin on account of clothes of the said converts. The catalogue of the books (evidently pledged by scholars) is correctly given by Mr. Bigg; but Tovey3 hopelessly mangles the list, which he credits to a Jew, named Belager, whom he judges from the possession of the volumes to have been "a Man of Learning" Margoliouth4 follows him in his mistakes. An interesting reference to a Jew, who really was a man of learning, as we may judge from his possessing a valuable private library, may be noted at an early date, in the case mentioned in the following extract from the Pipe Bolls5 in the year 1192. "Josce Crispin and two daughters of Morell, and their pledges owe 100s., for their share of the books of the said Morell." We have reserved to the last an account of the books possessed by the Jews at the time (1290) when the order was given for their expulsion from England. With regard to the University towns, it should be pointed out that the Jews had been banished from Cambridge some years previously, 1 Patent Rolls, 1280, p. 363. 2 Rigg, Select Pleas, &amp;c, p. 114. 3 Tovey, Anglia Judaica, pp. 219, 220. 4 Margoliouth, History of the Jews in Great Britain, i. 254. 5 Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, p. 145.</page><page sequence="16">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 93 and that therefore we have not such records of the Eastern University as of Oxford ; and further, attention should be drawn to the many chests at Cambridge from which students could borrow money by depositing their books, &amp;c, as " cautions " ;1 so that there was not the same need to deposit pledges with money-lenders. In A Bygone Oxford, by Francis Goldie,2 S. J., in a section on the Franciscans, it is stated that "Grostete is said to have erected the libraries, and he left them his collection of books. His friend, Adam Marsh, bought a number of Hebrew Bibles at the time of the expulsion of the Jews. Many years after, in 1443, let us hope under pressure of bad times, a part of the books were sold. They were bought by Dr. Thomas Gascoigne, Chancellor of the University. Other sales took place afterwards. Some of the volumes were given to Balliol Library, and there they are to this day." There is, of course, some mistake here; for Adam Marsh died c. 1257. But there seems to be no doubt that the Franciscans did obtain a number of Hebrew MSS. at the time of the Expulsion. Anthony a Wood says in one place :3 " The Grey Friars obtained many Hebrew books of the Jews when they left England, as is partly apparent from certain scripts "; and, in another place,4 he states, not only that "they had the Hebrew books that were brought here by Bobert Grostest," but he adds : " They obtained most of the Jews' books of Oxon at their departure." These extracts are from his City of Oxford ; in his History and Antiquities,h Wood speaks more generally of the 1 In mediaeval times students were accustomed to place in the University Chest a "caution" or pledge that they would proceed to the acts required for their degree. There were also many chests, founded by private benefactors, from which scholars might borrow sums of money, a ** caution " being placed in the chests. Of course, many of these pledges were books; and still in many a college library may be seen a note on a fly-leaf, saying that some former owner had left the volume as a pledge in such and such a chest. The owner is named, and his hostel or college ; the book is identified by the first words on the second folio; and the value is stated. Probably when books were pledged to Jewish money-lenders, some such entries were made; though the present writer has not come across such a note. But there are Hebrew scribblings in various volumes, which may be connected with these transactions. 2 Francis Goldie, A Bygone Oxford, 1881, p. 21. 3 Anthony a Wood, City of Oxford (ed. A. Clark), p. 380. 4 A. Gr. Little, Grey Friars in Oxford, p. 59. 5 Anthony a Wood, History and Antiquities of Oxford (ed. John Gutch, 1792), i. p. 397.</page><page sequence="17">94 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS. University : " Also when the Jews were here, we had many of their books, more at their departure, and as we may conceive, they themselves read Hebrew to Scholars in their School." Leland, in his Commentaries on British Writers,1 writing about Gregory of Huntingdon, and referring to the banishment of the Jews in 1290, says: "Then the synagogues of Huntingdon and Stanford being profaned, all the furniture was sold by auction, together with the stores of books. But when Gregory had understood that this auction was to be made, being near and also provided with money, he quickly repaired thither, and, the price being paid, he easily obtained 1 gold for brass,' and very joyful home he returned." Leland goes on to tell of his Hebrew studies; and adds that the catalogue of the Bamsay Library 2 records the Hebrew books which he had very diligently collected. The same catalogue shows similar volumes gathered by Robert Dodford, a monk of the convent at Bamsey. In an Appendix we print the part of the Bamsey list which names the books thus collected by Gregory and Dodford. Whether any of these MSS. still survive, the present writer does not know. Though when Oxford shall be able to boast of such a wonderful series of College Library Catalogues as the learned Vice Chancellor of the sister University has produced; and when scholars have noted all the Hebrew items indexed in those volumes, there will, doubtless, leap to light some specimens of such old MSS. as the Jews did not carry away with them when they were driven across the Straits more than 600 years ago. 1 J. Leland, Commentarii de Scriptoribus Britamiicis (cap. cccxxiii.), ed. 1709, ii. 321, 322. (See Appendix II.) 2 Chronicon Abbatice Rarneseiensis (Appendix III).</page><page sequence="18">APPENDICES I. [Trin. Coll. Western MSS. Cat., vol. ii.] ( R 8 6 782. Psalterium Hebraico-Latinum. \ * ( 2bl Vellum, 111 x 8f, ff. 84+fly-leaves, triple columns, twenty-three lines of Hebrew, forty-eight of Latin, to a column. Cent, xiii., xiv., well written, with good penwork initials. Given by Nevile. 2 fo. (Lat.) Exsurge or populi que. Collation: a2, 18-108, ll4 (4 stuck to cover). Contents: Two fly-leaves, which contain portions of 2 Chronicles, in Hebrew, with spaces left for an intercolumnar Latin version, and an inter? linear Latin gloss. Psalter in three versions. Column 1 contains the Hebrew, well written (probably by a Jew), with points and accents, and an interlinear literal (Latin) rendering for each word. Column 2, Jerome's Psalterium Hebraicum. Column 3, The Gallican Psalter. The catchwords are in Hebrew, which rather implies that the Hebrew was written first (as in the case of the fly-leaves). The book is an important monument of the mediaeval study of Hebrew in England. It may very probably have belonged to a Franciscan house. Other MSS. exist, containing further portions of the Old Testament in Hebrew with interlinear Latin translation, and, in several cases, the Latin Vulgate, viz. at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, No. V. (the Pentateuch), No. VI. (Jos., Jud., Sam., Eccl., Esther), No. IX. (Sam., Chron.), No. X. (Psalter, with the Gallican and Jerome's " Hebrew"), No. XL (Psalms, Prov.); at St. John's College, Oxford, No. CXLIII. (Jos., Jud., Cant., Eccl.). All these MSS. are of cent. xiii. or xiv., and resemble ours in execution. They may owe their existence either to the influence of Roger Bacon, or to that of Grosseteste. In favour of this latter supposition is the fact that Henry of Costessy in his Commentary on the Psalms (MS. Christ's College, F. 1, 17) frequently quotes the " superscripts in psalterio domini Lincolniensis ubi tria vel quatuor psalteria coniunctim continent ur.'5 By</page><page sequence="19">96 RECORDS OF MSS. AND DOCUMENTS POSSESSED BY the a superscriptio " it is evident that he means an interlinear Latin gloss on the Hebrew, such as is contained in this MS. See on these MSS. the tract of M. Samuel Berger: Quam notitianv linguae Hebraieae habuerint Ohristiani medii 8evi temporibus in Gallia (Paris, Hachette, 1893, pp. 49-53). All the extant MSS. of this mediaeval version from the Hebrew are of English origin and in English libraries. II. [Jo. Lelandi, Oommentarii de Scriptoribus Britannicis]. Cap. cccxxiii. De Gregorio Venantodunensi. Gregorius Venantodunensis inter Rameseganos monachos, monachus &amp; ipse ac abba vicarius, linguarum cognitioni assidue incubuit. At lin guam prsecipue excoluit Hebraicam, sacrarum literarum enarratricem. Tantum in ipsis tarn clari studii principiis defuit incepto operi justus librorum numerus. Sors fortunse hanc remoram procul excussit omnem. Gulielmus Nortomannus, Anglorum rex, ejus appellationis primus, Judseis permisit, ut a Rothomago commigrarent in Angliam. Unde brevi haac gens per urbes, atque adeo oppida celebriora omnia regni, sparsa est, positis de more synagogis, in quibus accurate Rabbinorum suorum dogmata perlege bant. Excrevit infinite quantum Judseorum in Britannia numerus, atqua una avaritia &amp; amor foenoris impurus. Angli eorum sordes aliquanto sustinebant tempore; tandem imperio Richardi ad manus perventum est; &amp; Judaei insigniter multati. Postea, regnante Eadveardo Longo, fortunes Judaeorum fisco adjudicatae regio, &amp; eisdem exilium poena proposita. Turn synagogis profanatis Venantoduni, &amp; Stenofordae supellex omnis sub hasta venum exposita, una cum librorum thesauris. Ubi autem Gregorius hanc auctionem factam esse intellexerat, vicinus atque idem nummatus festinanter accurrit, ac, dato pretio, aurea pro aereis facile comparavit, &amp; laetissimus domum rediit. Quid tum ille ? Nocturna versabat manu, versabat diurna Hebrsea exemplaria, donee penitiorem linguae cognitionem ex ipsis exhausisset fon tibus. Relinquit autem suis symmystis multa egregie calamo annotata, quae docta cum voluptate legeret posteritas. Librorum Hebraicorum ab eo diligentissime collectorum catalogus bibliothecae Rameseganae luculentam juxta ac honorificam mentionem facit. Sed &amp; idem catalogus accurate re censet Hebraicos thesauros divina volumina a Roberto Dodefordo, monacho Ramesegano, religiose comparatos. Quare cum &amp; ipse in sacra mirifice profecerit lingua, dignissimus plane est, qui Doctorum numero accedat.</page><page sequence="20">THE JEWS IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE EXPULSION. 97 III. [Chrorricon Abbatige Rameseiensis. Appendix.] Libri Boberti de Dodeforde. Biblioteca. Secunda pars Bibliotecse Ebrayce. Glosae super Bibliotecam Ebraice. Derivationes Hugutionis. Liber Ethimo logiarum. Rabanus de naturis rerum, cum interpretationibus nominum Hebrseorum. Summa Reymundi. Prescianus eonstructus, cum dupplici et notulis. Psalterium Graecum et Latinum cum aliis. Summa magistri Roberti Grosteste de decem praeceptis. Prosse magistri Henrici versificatoris. Summa extracta de Decretalibus. Minus Mariale. Liber Sententiarum. Quart us liber Sententiarum. [?icardus] Fishacre super Sententias. Para? bolas Salomonis postillatae. Exceptiones Crisostomi super Mathaeum. Vits? sanctorum. Breviarium et Psalterium. Dedit item de novo unum librum qui vocatur [Alex, de] Haies super tertium librum Sententiarum. Liber Bretonis. Oorrogationes Promothei, cum Summa Johannis Belet. Liber partium. Breviarium. Sententiarum [sie]. Duo Missalia. Duo Antipho naria, scilicet, Temporalium et Sanctorum. Ysidorus. Liber phisica [sie]. Item de modo confitendi. Item de sermonibus, cum aliis. Item de phisica, cum aliis. Item [Platearius ?] de simplici medicina. Libri Gregorii prioris. Prima pars Bibliotecae Hebraicse, cum aliis septem libris. Notulae super Bibliotecam Hebraicam. Praedieamenta Augustini cum expositionibus nominum Hebraicorum, et Ars loquendi et intelligendi in lingua Hebraica. Ars loquendi linguam Graecam, cum aliis oetodeeim libris de grammatica. Psalterium Graecum. Item Psalterium Graecum. Psalterium Hebraicum. Donatus glosatus, cum aliis semptem libris de grammatica. Graecisimus, Doctrinale, Poetria, Lapidarium, Visio Joachym, in uno volumine. Prescianus constructus, cum notulis et aliis duobus de grammatica. Ordo Hystoriarum, cum tabula Joachym et tribus aliis. Decreta versificata, cum aliis octo, et Summulis, et Fallaciis Oxoniensibus. Casus Decretalium. Vetus Logica, cum notulis. Nova Logica. Liber Iymey [sie], et Breves sententiae super libros Naturalium, cum aliis. Item vetus Logica. July 30, 1915. VOL. VIII. G</page></plain_text>

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