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Some Medieval Notes

Hilary Jenkinson

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Spme Medieval Notes. By Hilary Jenkinson, F.S.A. In a paper read before this Society and published in its transac? tions some years ago, I hinted that medieval references to Jews and Jewish concerns in England were by no means exhausted yet: nor would be even if the publication of the Jewish Plea Bolls were com? pleted and followed by that of the Jewish Receipt Rolls. I pointed out that the general belief that all Jewish affairs were dealt with by the special Jewish Exchequer Was quite incorrect: and it followed that the corollary to this belief?that the very rich manuscript material relating to ordinary Exchequer procedure contained no Jewish material?was equally inaccurate. Looking through old and new notes on this subject after the war, I am more than ever struck with the amount of Jewish information in these " ordinary " Exchequer Records (and in other places) which would reward systematic and patient research. The Memoranda Rolls, for example, would, I am convinced, yield quite a harvest, though the items are scattered. Any * Jewish student who is contemplating medieval research ought at least to bear in mind the possibility of directing it along such lines as would enable him incidentally to garner some of this Jewish material. I annex, in summary, a few examples.1 In the first place I notice two excellent examples of a fact sug? gested in my previous paper?that Jewish items are frequently hidden in the ordinary Exchequer Records under such non-committal titles as De debitis jplurium. K.R. Sheriffs' Accounts 39/3 has the following heading : Particule Johannis de Sancto Laudo vicecomitis Somers5 et Dors' liberate Thesaurario et Camerariis de Scaccario super puroforum suum ad clausum Pasche anno regni Regis Edwardi xijmo. Et sunt omnes tottales de Iudeissmo. There follow details of the money the sheriff had received, and at the end is added in another hand : Summa . x . libre . viii . solidi. iiij . denarii De quibus recepit vnam talleam de debitis plurium de scaccario recepte. 1 I am indebted for a number of these to my former student, Miss M. H. Mills.</page><page sequence="2">186 SOME MEDIEVAL NOTES. This by itself would have been enough, had I known of it before, to prove the whole of my contention as to the treatment of Jewish matters by the ordinary Exchequer machinery. What does it tell us ? That the sheriff of Somerset and Dorset had paid in as part of his Easter " prof er" (part, that is, of his ordinary Pipe Roll account) moneys collected by him in connection with Jewish busi? ness ; that he had done this in the ordinary way, paying over to the ordinary officials of the ordinary Exchequer of Receipt, and that his tally (and consequently the entry of the transaction in the Pipe Roll and Receipt Roll) bore only the words " of the debts of various persons." No. 39/2 in the same series is a similar document. Next we have two rolls from the series known as Exchequer L.T.R. Miscellaneous Rolls. The first of these (5/41) is called Particule proficui Comitatus: i.e. it is a roll of account for the farm and profits of the county as rendered at the Exchequer. This emphasises again the point just made, for it contains another type of Jewish matter in the shape of an entry of perquisita de ludeis War' (the Jews of Warwick) : this belongs to the 22nd year of Henry III. The second roll from the series (2/19) is a curious one?four membranes containing enrolment of about eighty letters patent relating to the disposal of the houses of Jews after the expulsion. The interesting point is that these letters do not appear to be enrolled in any case on the Patent Roll, so that the information given (which includes the names of Jews and valuations?very small as a rule?of their houses) is .quite new : there is little doubt that this document will be found to be connected with the accounts of Hugh de Kendale mentioned in my former paper. A further note from yet another document in this series (5/78) shows payment by a Jewish Community for the body of a Jew who had been hanged : De Communia Iudeorum Notingh' pro cadauere Dieudone Iudei suspensi ij. marcas I quote it as an example of the small and casual entry of Jewish interest which may occur almost anywhere : similar cases I have noted in Chancery Miscellanea, Ancient Deeds, and other classes of Public Records. Finally we come to some examples from the series of Exchequer Memoranda Rolls to which I have already referred. I select three examples. In K.R. Memoranda Roll 15, m. 18 (the 21st year of Henry III.) is an interesting little ordinance as to pledges for debt taken by Jews</page><page sequence="3">some medieval notes. 187 from Christians: frauds in the past are, of course, alleged. In No. 47 in the same series, Michaelmas Gommunia, m. 3, is a curious note illustrating the relations of the Jews with the King and the fears entertained by the Community at any time of popular disturbance (in this case the death of the king); also the old connection with the Tower: Memorandum quod .xxx. die Nouembris venit Willelmus de Mungumeri coram Thesaurario et Baronibus et tulit .xxxvj; marcas soluendas Ben' filio Cok' Iudeo Lond'. quas quidem .xxxvj. marcas soluisse debuit eidem Iudeo ad quin denam sancti Martini . Ad quern diem promptam habuit pecuniam et dictus Iudeus se abscondit apud Turrim Lond' per mortem Regis. The fact that the ordinary Exchequer officials were closely con? cerned with Jewish affairs could not perhaps be better exemplified than by the third Memoranda Roll reference, from K.R. Memoranda Roll 64, m. 27 of the year 1290 : \y Memorandum quod die Marlis In Crastino sancti Dicnisii anno regni Regis . Edwardi . xviij0. et anno domini M?. CC?. nonogesimo1 recesserunt omnes Iudei de London', versus mare ad transfretandum sub custodia domini Regis. The event marked an epoch worth recording at the Exchequer. One wonders how far the Exchequer scribe guessed that he was writing history of more than departmental interest. Hilary Jenklnson. 1 Sic MS.</page></plain_text>