top of page
< Back

The Cemetery of the Resettlement

Master A. S. Diamond

<plain_text><page sequence="1"></page><page sequence="2">The Cemetery of the Resettlement1 By Master A. S. Diamond, M.A., LL.D. THERE is some general misconception in the books as to the first burial place acquired by the Jews of the Resettlement?what ground was then acquired and what interest in it. One story is that Cromwell granted the Jews a lease of a burial ground at Mile End for 999 years.2 This story is purely apocryphal. More recently it is said by most writers that a lease was then obtained of the Old Burial Ground, Mile End. This also is incorrect. I have called the present account 'The Cemetery of the Resettlement5 by way of tribute to Mr. Wilfred Samuel's 'The First Synagogue of the Resettlement',3 to which it is to some extent complementary. The present account is mainly based on the original documents in the archives at Bevis Marks. They consist chiefly of title-deeds, wills and agreements in English, certified copies of Latin entries in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Stepney, and the Synagogue records in Spanish and Portuguese, especially the Libro de los Acuerdos and the Burial Register. There are also the inscriptions on the tombstones, so far as they survive and can be read, and Phillip Carteret Webb's notebooks, now in the British Museum, and some other sources. The Libro de los Acuerdos has been finely edited and translated by Dr. Lionel D. Barnett. The rest of the documents, it appears, have not been properly read, and some not read at all, since the 1730s. Mr. Israel Davis, the proprietor of the Jewish Chronicle and a barrister, read the English documents and pub? lished a notable first account of them in 1880,4 but he did not devote enough time to them or read the Latin, Spanish and Portuguese documents. There was also published in 1924, in Vol X of the Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society, a full report of a very readable paper by the late Rev. D. Bueno de Mesquita, entitled 'The Historical Associa? tions of the Ancient Burial Ground of the Sephardic Jews', but it consists chiefly of descriptions of the personages interred there and is not always accurate. The Circumstances of 1655 To see the story in its proper perspective it is necessary to go back to the circumstances of 1655 and before. A number of contributory causes had brought to London by September of that year a colony of over one hundred Marranos or Crypto-Jews, mostly born in Spain or Portugal, and a few German Jews. England was becoming a maritime trading nation (though behind Spain and Holland in this respect) and a substantial proportion of these Marranos were merchants and shipowners, engaged in trade with the Iberian Peninsula, Holland, Hamburg and the West Indies, and acting as agents for Iberian principals. Some had enjoyed administrative authority at home, and during the Commonwealth were able to assist Cromwell by their experience and international connections. But they came also to flee from the recrudescence of the activities of the Inquisition, which began about 1630, and although they were bound by English law to 1 Paper read in abbreviated form before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 15th January 1959. The Burial Register itself is being published separately in Miscellanies VI. 2 Jewish Chronicle, London, Vol. 8, p. 157. 3 Trans. J.H.S.E., X, pp. 1-147 (1924). 4 Jewish Chronicle, London, 26th Nov. and 3rd Dec. 1880. 163</page><page sequence="3">164 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT attend a place of worship, and generally attended the chapel at their embassy, they could be lax without undue danger. In England, from early in the century, had emerged an enthusiasm for the Bible and a religious trend, which in its most extreme manifestation leaned towards Judaism and evidenced a nascent toleration in religion. And as early as the 1640s a number of voices were raised in favour of the admission of the Jews to this country, their conversion to Christianity and in consequence the hastening of the millennium. Then in September 1655 Rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel came on his strange mission to England. He proposed nothing less than that the Jewish people should be admitted into the British Commonwealth with the same protection as the natives and supervised by a person of quality; that an oath should be administered to the military authorities to defend them on all occasions; that Cromwell should allow them public synagogues, the free observance of their religion and a place or cemetery out of Town to bury their dead without being troubled by any; that they should be allowed their own tribunal to determine their disputes according to Mosaic law subject to appeal to the civil authorities ; and that in case there had been any laws against the Jewish people, they should, before all else, be revoked. In the conferences that followed, the Chief Justice and the Chief Baron of the Exchequer announced their opinion that there was no law forbidding the return of the Jews to England, but beyond that the Petition failed in the face of commercial, ecclesiasti? cal and popular prejudice, and Cromwell, if he had the power, declined the odium of giving personally a favourable decision. One result, however, of these deliberations was to publish to all the presence of these Jewish families in England. Meanwhile in the autumn of 1655 war had broken out between England and Spain, adding in the following months a substantial addition of Marrano immigrants, and a new anxiety lest they might not stay free and unmolested in England while they dared not return to Spain. Then on the 14 March 1656 the ships and property of a London Marrano, Antonio Rodrigues Robles, were seized as belonging to a Spanish subject, and consternation reigned among them. It was now vital in their interests to declare them? selves as not Spaniards but Jews; and it was high time to jettison the millennary aspirations of Menasseh Ben Israel, and to consult the most urgent of local necessities. A few days later, two petitions were launched; one by Robles, claiming the release of his property as being not a Spaniard but a Portuguese of the Hebrew nation, the other a petition signed by five elderly and influential leaders of the little community, and Menasseh Ben Israel himself and the Secretary Chillon. It is important to contrast its terms with the previous petition. It did not ask for the right of re-admission to this country of the Jewish people : it asked a favour for those already here. It did not ask for the repeal of laws or for equal rights with natives : it asked the Protector for a written licence on two matters?namely, worship and burial. It did not ask for public synagogues or a cemetery to bury their dead. Its terms, which were drafted in the light of midnight oil and, no doubt, with the best of legal advice, were as follows. It acknowledged the manifold favours and protection granted by Cromwell to enable them to meet privately in their own houses for their devotions, and it asked of him a written licence, in whatever form would best serve, to enable them to continue to do so without fear of molestation. It added : 'And being wee ar all mortall, wee allsoe Humbly pray your Highnesse to graunt us Lisence that those which may dey of our nation may be buryed in such place out of the cittye as wee shall thinck convenient with the Proprietors Leave in whose Land the place shall be'. They said, in other</page><page sequence="4">THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT 165 words, Tou know we have been meeting for prayers in our houses, and you have enabled us to do so by stopping prosecution and molestation, and we ask of you, for our better security, some written licence or permit of some kind to continue to do so. And we also ask a written licence to bury our dead in a convenient place outside the city where the owner of the ground will allow it'. They did not say 'You know we have been doing this', but we can be sure they had. The Legal Background In order to explain the significance of this language, I must say a few words about the state of the law at the time, insofar as it relates to those matters. I will assume in doing so that, as the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chief Baron opined, there was no law prohibiting the presence of Jews in this country; and further that it was not contrary to the law for Jews to meet for Jewish worship in their private houses, or to bury their dead according to their religious practices?two matters which were vital conditions of any Jewish life in this country, and both of which English lawyers of the time would have regarded as raising novel and difficult questions. I will also assume that the Marranos and Jews of 1656, though they were of Spanish or Portuguese origin except for a small sprinkling of German Jews, were not enemy aliens in the eyes of the law of that day, as many of the Marranos might have been under modern English law. Nevertheless, with the exception of children born in England and a handful of denizens, the Marranos and Jews of 1656 were all aliens, and being aliens could not own land for any purpose. But, like any other merchant stranger, they could take a lease for a term of years of a habitation as an incident to commerce, for without a habitation they could not trade. There had been an understanding to this effect ever since Saxon times, and in 1552 and 1587 the Judges had so laid down the law.1 But upon their quitting the premises, or upon their death, the lease would be forfeit to the King and not merge in the estate of the owner of the premises. This would serve as a powerful deterrent against letting premises for any substantial term of years to an alien. As I have said, no alien could hold a lease of land for purposes of burial or any purpose except habitation. But some few of the community had been endenizened. Endenization was a practice, now obsolete, which conferred lesser rights than naturalization, from which it differed in several ways. It was granted by patent of the Crown, by virtue of its prerogative, and not by Act of Parliament. Briefly, a denizen could purchase land, but his sons could only inherit land from him if they were born after he was endenizened or were endenizened with him.2 But could a denizen own land if he were a Jew? Seventy years later, in the 1720s, the best legal opinion was that he could,3 but in 1656 the question would have been regarded as new and strange, and he would be a bold man who would say he could. If he could not, the land he bought would be forfeit to the State. It would be far safer for a Jewish denizen to take a lease for years, but he had better have sons to inherit, born after he was endenizened, or endenizened with him. Could then such a denizen, instead of contenting himself with taking a lease of a dwellinghouse and holding prayers there with his fellows, take a lease of land to build a synagogue? He would be a brave man who would say he could. There was a serious risk, if not probability, that a court would hold that a lease of land for building a Jewish 1 Blackstone, Commentaries 17th ed. by E. Christian (1830) Vol. I, p. 372, Vol. II, p. 293 ; Croft's Case (1587) Co. Litt.2B, and Holdsworth, History of English Law, Vol. IX, p. 97. 2 Blackstone, Commentaries, Vol. I, p. 374; Vol. II3 p. 249. 3 See Phillip Carteret Webb, The Question whether a Jew... was capable to purchase lands... (1753).</page><page sequence="5">166 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT synagogue was contrary to public policy and illegal and void. Also it would be financially prohibitive unless it were a long lease, and if it were a long lease it would be void for the following reasons. The Mortmain Acts existed for the purpose (among others) of preventing the aliena? tion of land in perpetuity into the 'dead hand' of a religious foundation. Various devices were evolved for the purpose of evading these provisions. However, an Act of Henry VIII,1 still in force in 1656, provided that all future grants to any person or body for 'superstitious uses' without the licence of the Crown, were void if made for any longer term than 20 years.2 This would, I think, apply to a lease of land of over 20 years to any person for the purposes of building a synagogue, and would certainly apply to a lease for the purposes of burial with Jewish rites. These considerations explain the modest terms of the Petition of the 24 March 1656 asking for a licence to continue to meet for prayer in their private houses, and to bury their dead where they could find a proprietor of ground who would let them do so. Neither phrase asks permission to acquire a lease?either to build a synagogue or to bury their dead. Their petition was not granted : no written licence or permit was ever issued. But it is tolerably clear what must have happened. On Robles5 Petition, on the 16 May 1656 the Council of State discharged the warrants against him and restored to him his property. On the other Petition the Council on the 24 June refused to take action. But within the next three months or so the community must have been told on behalf of Cromwell something to the following effect. 'The Council has refused to take action, and the Lord Protector feels difficulty in granting you on his own authority what you ask. Indeed, it is difficult to see what you are asking him to do, or how it would help you. If what you propose is illegal, he cannot give you a licence to do it; nor if he did, would it make it legal. But is it wise to ask for a public licence to do what is perhaps perfectly lawful: it will give ground for saying it is contrary to law, and only excused while the Protector's personal licence endures. What reason is there for saying it is unlawful? You had better do bravely what you suggest, and if you act with discretion the public will grow accustomed to these things and the Protector will see you come to no harm.' The Search for a Synagogue House Encouraged by some such message, while Menasseh Ben Israel returned to Holland, broken by failure, the leaders of the little group looked round for suitable accommodation for their services. They decided to continue their previous course of conduct but on a larger scale and in a more daring and more organised form?namely, to take a large dwefiinghouse on lease, put in a tenant, adapt part of it for use for synagogue services, and take the lease in the name of a denizen who had sons endenizened with him or born subsequently, who could therefore inherit the lease if their father died before its expiry. Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, the leader of the community, was of this category, for he had been endenizened on the 17 August 1655 with his two sons, and was a man well known and respected in the neighbourhood. But they would obviously have the greatest difficulty in finding such premises. Very few persons would be willing to let a dwellinghouse to Jews from abroad with 1 23 Hen. VIII5 c. 10. 2 I am confident that in asking Cromwell for a licence the Petitioners of 1656 had not the Mortmain Acts in mind.</page><page sequence="6">THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT 167 knowledge that it would be used for such a purpose. They would probably only get what no-one else wanted and be made to pay heavily for it. It must have been about November 1656 when they succeeded in getting what they sought, for although the lease that was granted was dated 19 December and ran from Christmas Day,1 it usually took a month or so to draw up and it was certainly before the 4 December that the matter was arranged.2 Domingo Vaes de Brito?one of the signa? tories of the Petition to Cromwell?was tenant of the smaller of a pair of large, newly built brick dwellinghouses, forming an island site at the corner of Creechurch Lane and Bury Street. It was perhaps through him that the community learned how suitable the larger house next door would be for their purpose, and that there was a chance of getting it. The title to the two houses was in a most involved state. A man called James Whitby owned them but he was in financial straits. Apparently his wife and eldest son also had an interest in the properties, which had also been mortgaged to three trustees of the parish for ?550, and Whitby had also charged his interest for ?190 in favour of one Captain Stanyan, a builder, who was also liable on the mortgage to the parish. Stanyan wanted to get out, and for that purpose needed at least ?550 to pay off the mort? gage to the parish trustees and thereby free himself from liability to them, but I think he had difficulty in getting anybody to buy, with the title in that condition. Carvajal then offered to find the money, but being a Jew was not anxious to become owner, and said he would provide the money and buy the premises if Whitby and Stanyan would grant him a 21 years' lease of the larger house. This was agreed to. Carvajal could not become owner and lessee, as the lease would merge in the freehold, and this ingenious trans? action was embodied in three documents which were drawn up at the same time3 but dated the 18, 19 and 20 December 1656. In the first, the three parish trustees surrendered their mortgage to Stanyan on payment of their ?550 (which was provided by Carvajal). In the second, Whitby and Stanyan granted Carvajal the lease at the fair rent of ?40 per annum; and in the third, in consideration of this ?550 and another ?100 paid to the Whitby family, the latter conveyed the two houses to two non-Jewish friends and nominees of Carvajal. In this way Carvajal acquired the lease and his nominees the freehold, and immediately after this he put in as tenant his cousin, Moses Israel Athias (who was Ribay of the synagogue but not endenizened), and also put in hand the alterations to the upper part of the premises to adapt it for use as a synagogue. This work having been safely completed to the knowledge of the general public, but with no landlord in a position to complain, in July 1657 his nominees sold the freehold to other trustees of the parish.4 All this Mr. Wilfred Samuel has told us in his 'The First Synagogue of the Resettlement', though I have accentuated the features in the story which I consider significant, and added one or two matters of inference. Next they looked for a place to bury their dead. Now, it need not be said that there is an obvious difference between taking a short lease of a building to be used as a synagogue and a short lease of a burial place. When a lease comes to an end, if no renewal can be obtained, the community can transfer its synagogue to other premises at some financial loss; but when the lease of the burial place ends, what is to become of the remains of their dead? 1 Trans. J.H.S.E. X, p. 10031.8. 2 See extract from Vestry Minute Book of St. Katherine Creechurch dated 4 December 1656, Trans. J.H.S.E.,X, p. 109. 3 The document of the 20th December refers to that of the 18th as 'bearing even date' (Trans. J.H.S.E., X5 p. 93). 4 Abraham Stanyan was then a member of the Committee of the Vestry (Ibid. X, pp. 110-111).</page><page sequence="7">168 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT The First Burial Place About January 1657 they were able to arrange at an extortionate rent a modest interest in a small plot of land which is now a corner of the Old Burial Ground, Mile End. Mile End was a hamlet situated, as its name shows, a mile from London. The road from London to Bow??the great road5?was here a narrow dirt-track. In the 17th century Mile End was still surrounded by fields, but London was spreading and the builder was in evidence. Development however, restricted by Stuart legislation, was slow in those days, and the changes during that century were on a modest scale. The piece of land with which we are concerned was on the eastern edge of Mile End and was part of the extensive Manor of Stebun Heath, alias Stepney, and at this time Richard Blackwall was Lord of the Manor.1 The tenants of a manor were called copyholders. Copyhold tenure, which was familiar in England till 1924, had evolved out of an unfree tenure of feudal times. The copyholder held his land at the will of the lord but also according to the custom of the manor. For our present purpose it is sufficient to say that on every transfer of copyhold land, for example, on sale, the transferor surrendered his holding to the lord of the manor, who admitted the transferee on payment of a ?fine5, and by custom of this manor the fine was 1J times the annual value (i.e. the letting value) and the courts had held that it could not exceed twice that value.2 The same applied on death : the successor was admitted on payment of a fine of the same amount. The usual practice when anyone was admitted as copyholder was for him to surrender the land to the lord of the manor ?to the uses of his last will5. This device had the effect that on his death the person entitled to succeed at law would be admitted to the land on payment of the usual fine. What later became the Mile End Old Burial Ground?or, as the Sephardi commu? nity now call it, the Velho?is situated on the north side of the road from London, behind the Beth Holim, which, however, was not established there till 1792. The site of the Beth Holim and the present Burial Ground behind it together comprise a rectangle of about 1 \ acres, and in 1640 the whole consisted mainly of an orchard or garden. The northern half of it?the furthest part from the road?consisted of an orchard with about two hundred fruit trees upon it; the southern part was mainly garden. The north boundary was marked by an old brick wall some 172 feet long, the east and west sides probably by wooden fences about 380 feet long. You entered the orchard from the road by a cart-track which meandered up to a gate in the middle of the north wall, and the meandering track still survives in the same position, and the boundaries are still where they were. On the side fronting on the road there may have been one or two wooden shacks. (See Map on plate 53.) At a Court Baron of the Manor of Stepney held on the 24 March 1641 one Henry Clowes, gentleman, was admitted as copyholder of an estate of five acres of land of which 1 The two manors of Stepney and Hackney were from Saxon times held by the bishops of London. In 1550 three rich courtiers of Edward VI divided the lands of the See of London between them. On 3rd April 1550 Ridley was made Bishop of London. On the 12th he granted the two manors to the King, who, on the 16th granted them to the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Wentworth. During the Protectorate they were sequestered (hence the lordship of Richard Blackwall) and after the Restoration the Wentworth family regained the manor of Stepney but not that of Hackney (see H.G.C. Allgood, A History of Bethnal Green, 1894). For the customs of the manor of Stepney, see Customs and Privileges of the Manors of Stepney and Hackney . . . 1736 (confirmed by Statute 21, James I). By custom of these manors copy? holders were empowered to grant leases of up to 31 years and 4 months without fine but under penalty of forfeiture of the copyhold if a longer lease were granted. 55 Phillip Carteret Webb's Notebook (Lansdowne MSS, No. 629, p. 51 et seq., British Museum).</page><page sequence="8">THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT 169 this orchard and garden formed the eastern part.1 The estate consisted of this and other orchards and gardens, three cottages and a close of pasture. Clowes proceeded to divide up his holding for development, and on the 22 December 1653 he sub-let3 this orchard and garden to George Sigins, gardener. It was a building lease, for Sigins covenanted that he would within four years build upon this orchard 'a sufficient dwelling house containing four or six necessary roomes each roome being fowerteene foote in length twelve foote in breadth and eight foote in height or thereabouts with chimbeys in the said roomes and convenient lights' and would keep it in repair. The lease was to run for 31 years3 from the following Christmas, i.e. till 25 December 1684, when he was to deliver up the land together with two hundred good fruit trees growing thereupon, and the cottage. In 1653, and for almost a century after, the annual value of the whole orchard and garden was ?16, but as this was a building lease the rent was only ?11 per annum4. On the 23 June 1655 Clowes sold his copyhold tenancy of this land to a widow of the name of Elizabeth Cage, and duly surrendered the land to the lord of the manor, who admitted her in his place,5 and she paid the usual fine of If years' value, namely ?24. The entry on the Court roll shows that Sigins had already built his cottage 'on the Back? side' of this land, and it is, I think, plain from various indications that it was in the north? east corner of the orchard on the east side of what are now carreras (rows) 1, 2 and 3. It was a six-roomed cottage6 of the above dimensions, and Sigins had also apparently put up the sign of a soldier on some shack or building alongside the road, which may have been a place offering liquid refreshment, for the whole piece of land was now and for some years thereafter known 'by the name or sign of the Soldier'. Some time after he had built the cottage, and probably between 1654 and the beginning of 1657, Sigins seems to have assigned his lease to 'John Tuffenell Cittizen and Carpenter of London, and James Willson Cittizen and Weaver of London', and about January 1657 Antonio Fernandez Carvajal and Simon De Caceres arranged a tenancy from them of a corner of this land, intending to use it as a burial place, and at some date in February 1657 the lease was duly executed.7 It is no longer in existence, but we can say with some confidence what most of its terms were. The Lease of February 1657 First, it was a lease for a term of 14 years and a few months, probably terminating on June quarter day 1671. This appears from an entry in Spanish in the synagogue accounts of 1670,8 to the effect that the lease still had 15 months to run when the second lease (which ran from the 25 March 1670) was entered into. Next it is plain that the rent was ?10 per annum (equivalent in modern terms to about ?150 per annum), for this 1 This is recited in the admission of Elizabeth Cage on the 23 June 1655 (infra). 2 See original counterpart lease in the archives of the Synagogue, Bevis Marks. 3 See footnote \, p. 168, supra. 4 Clowes was expressed as sub-letting to Sigins with the licence of cthe Lord and Lords of the Manors of Hackney and Stepney'. The two manors at this time were held by the same family and were often referred to as though they were one. 5 Examined copy of entry in the Court roll, certified by the steward of the manor, in the archives, Bevis Marks. 6 Referred to in the lease of 1670 as a 'messuage or tenement or tenements consisting of six small rooms'. 7 It is recited in the lease of 1670 (infra). 8 See infra.</page><page sequence="9">170 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT appears as a regular annual payment in the synagogue accounts from the year 1663-4, when those accounts begin.1 Thirdly, the plot of land let was a rectangle in the north? western corner of the Soldier's Tenement, of a width from north to south of 26 feet from the brick wall, and stretching from the western fence to the central cart-track, a length of about 80 feet.2 It had about twenty fruit trees upon it and occupied about one-thirtieth of the area of the Soldier's Tenement, of which the total annual value was ?16. The rent of ?10 was therefore about twenty times a fair rent of the plot. This indicates that, as might be expected, the lessors knew the purpose for which the land was required, and Carvajal and De Caceres had to pay a fancy figure to get it. On the other hand, it was worth their while : it was only a mile from the eastern boundary of the city, near which most of them lived, and it was close to the 'great road', though sufficiently far to be hidden from it. The Jews must have reckoned that it was easily large enough to hold those who would die in the next 14 years, but in fact it was hardly sufficient. We may be sure there was no mention in this lease, any more than in the 1670 lease, of the purpose for which the land was required. Probably it contained a covenant to fence off the plot on its south side, and to deliver it up, at the expiration of the term, with twenty good fruit trees upon it. The lease was taken in the names of Carvajal and De Caceres because, perhaps, the lessors required the names of two responsible tenants ; but also, perhaps, because both were nearing the ends of their lives and had a personal interest in the acquisition of a burial ground. Assuming that it was not contrary to the law of England to take a lease of land for the sole purpose of burial therein with Jewish rites, it could not validly be longer than twenty years because of the Act of Henry VIII, and could not validly be made to an alien because it was not for habitation, and would be useless in the case of two elderly men unless they had sons who had been endenizened with them or born in the country, and could therefore inherit. This was true of Carvajal, who had been endenizened with his two sons in 1655. De Caceres, so far as is known, was an alien, and accordingly acquired no rights under the lease. In this way they acquired Bethahaim, as it was always called; and one cannot look at the synagogue records, as we have them for the years 1663/4 and after, without feeling the pride with which they regarded it; but it was only the size of an ordinary garden lawn (l/20th of an acre), and it was a poor sort of tenancy. Their landlord was the lessee of a copyholder of the manor, and if either of the superior tenants lost his lease, theirs would go with it. We can be sure that (like the lease of 1670) it was not granted with the licence of the lord of the manor, but this was not important. The Administration of Bethahaim For the administration of the affairs of the little Bethahaim from 1663 onwards we must look to the escamoth (or laws) and accounts of the synagogue. Bethahaim was primarily supported out of its own funds, and as to any deficit out of synagogue funds, but in those early days the bulk of the expenses of the synagogue came out of the pockets of three or four members. Most members were merchants and the main source of income was the impuesta (Spanish) or imposta (Portuguese), a tax calculated as a percentage on all goods bought or sold by them as principals or agents. It was reduced in the 1 See Dr. L. D. Barnett's Libro de los Acuerdos pp. 19,35,36,45. With the tithe, the total was ?11. 2 This is an inference from the terms of the 1670 lease and indorsement in Spanish (see below), the dates of burials in the burial register, and the gap of 2 yards between carreras 3 and 4,</page><page sequence="10">THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT 171 escamoth of Ellul 1663 to a rate of two shillings per ?100 for most types of goods. The next largest source of income was the offerings of various kinds, which produced about half as much as the imposta, and any deficit in the year's working was made up by the finta, which was a forced levy on the member according to his means, and was deducted by five yearly instalments from the amounts of his imposta of subsequent years. From these early years the synagogue had its Hebra de Bikur Hulim [sic] e Gemilut Hasadim (shortly, Hebra) or Society for tending the sick and burying the dead. The escamoth of Nisan 1665, issued by the Hebra and Mohamad (or Executive of the Synagogue) provided for the annual appointment of an Administrador with the duty (among others) to see that the dead was watched over and laid in his shroud by the Hebra and duly buried. He was to expend on this whatever was necessary according to the quality of each,1 and if the revenue of the Hebra was insufficient he was to draw on the Gabai (or Treasurer) of the synagogue for any deficiency. All members of the community were required to make annual offerings in synagogue for the Hebra, and in Bethahaim a box was to be kept in which alms might be deposited. The Administrator kept accounts and accounted at the end of his year of office to the Treasurer and read out his accounts in synagogue. The Administrator also kept the key of Bethahaim, and was required to direct where each grave should be, in order that burial might proceed regularly and by numbers ?he recording with much care at the time so that there may not be the abuse of opening a grave in which there shall have been a burial'.2 A board was also to be placed in Bethahaim with the names of the deceased brethren cso that every time that one goes there an Escaba (memorial prayer) may be offered for them'. Bethahaim was approached by the central cart-track which was later railed off to keep visitors out of the orchard.3 Bethahaim was also itself railed off, and there was a gate as you entered from the track, which was kept locked.4 The area consisted of the western half of the first three carreras of the present burial ground, up to a fine midway between the present third and fourth. The wide gap of 2 yards between the third and fourth Carreras shows where the boundary palings were.5 Entering the little gate you were in a central strip (now the west half of Carrera 2) which in the early days was kept clear for the approach of the funeral cortege, and burials commenced at the west end of what are now Carerras 1 and 3. The fruit trees were probably not then interfered with, and burials were at first well spaced out, and with a lordly disregard of economy of space. It will be seen from the diagram of burials on p. 174, taken from the burial register of 1725, that in 1667 the only graves in Carrera 1 were those of Mrs. De Brito (1657), Carvajal (November 1659), Moses Israel Athias (who died of the plague in 1665-6), Daniel Hisquiau Israel Nunes (1662), Sarah Lopez Pereira de Paiva (1666-7), then a group of five graves all of the plague years or thereabouts, 1665-6 (Mosen de Ishak Israel Nunes, Grasia de Ishak Israel Nunez, Rahel de Abraham de Morais, Samuel de Paiva and Ester de Abraham de Morais); and that there was room for a grave on either side of Mrs. de Brito (used early in 1684 when, as will be seen, the synagogue was in great need of burial space) and there were spaces for reserved graves for Mrs. Carvajal next to her husband, and Miss Jeudith de Paiva next to her mother. It will also be seen that in 1667 there were in Carrera 3 the graves of Sarah Athias (October 1657), the three De Vegas 1 So that apparently there was no burial charge, and probably no charge for the ground. 2 These words contain a hint that the procedure of burials till this date had been casual. 3 The sub-lease of 1670 states that it was railed off then. 4 See the escamoth of 1665, supra. 5 See plan of the Soldier, about 1667, p. 172.</page><page sequence="11">172 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT -172 Feet- ? BRICK WALL Care Bcthahaim/ Kile Bid The Soldier" ear^r in j66f</page><page sequence="12">THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT 173 (1661, 1661 and 1665), then a group of four very early graves of Ashkenazim, perhaps of the early 1660s (Joseph Asquenazi, Isaque Yafe, Jonah Varab1 and one nameless)?then isolated here so as not to contaminate the Sephardim?and two later graves of Ribca de Azevedo (166-) and Sarah Cardozo (1664); and there was a reserved grave for Israel Nunes. Then in 1667 burials started in Carrera 2, namely four graves of 1667 and 1668, and a reserved grave for the proselyte Deborah Israel, filled in 1669. The large gap in Carrera 2 will be later explained. It will also be seen that there were no graves in Carrera 3, on your left as you entered the gate, for over twenty years (till the end of 1677 and beginning of 1678). Here, I think, was the brick or wooden hut (destroyed late in 1677), where the burial service was read, the circuits took place round the dead, the board was kept with the names of the departed, and the box for alms. By early in 1669 it is clear that, apart from the apparent gap in Carrera 2 (which was in fact full) and reserved graves, the little burial ground had no more space for burials. And in any case the lease would run out in June 1671, and the need for new ground was urgent. By 1665 or earlier Tuffenell and Willson had apparently assigned their tenancy of the Soldier to Joseph How, Citizen and Merchant Tailor of London. On the 9 September of that year he sub-let2 the cottage, and possibly the plot of ground in the north-east corner (a continuation of Bethahaim on the east side of the cart-track) probably for a term ending December 1684, to William Evans, Citizen and Plasterer (that is, Builder) of London. Evans or his family apparently leased a good deal of land from this point eastwards along the road towards Bow, probably with a view to building premises for prospective customers. Gascoyne's map of 1703 shows one Evans as occupier of 1\ acres east of the Soldier as well as nearly 12 acres further north and nearly 10 acres on the south side of the road. The situation of the title to the Soldier's Tenement in 1669 was as follows. At the top was the Lord, now Lords of the Manor3. Below was the copyholder of the Soldier, namely, Widow Cage. Her tenant of the whole of the Soldier was How, and his sub? tenants were, in the north-west corner, the heirs of Carvajal (for Carvajal and De Caceres were both dead),4 and in the north-east corner William Evans. And the cottage was occupied by a sub-tenant of Evans, one William Paynter, Packthreadmaker. 1 "Jonah Varab" is a strange name. I cannot find the name "Jonah" elsewhere in the Burial Register. It was not used by the Sephardim of England. "Varab" must be an error for "varao" (Portuguese for "man", "male"). The Ashkenazim had commonly only one name, and this gravestone (in a group of Ashkenazi graves) must be that of an Ashkenazi?"Jonah? an adult male". 3 The lease is recited in the lease of 1670, post. 8 William Bolton, Merchant of London and William White, Citizen and Haberdasher of London. 4 The case of De Caceres illustrates the necessity of care in the use of the burial register. Mesquita (Trans. J.H.S.E. X p. 233-4) pointed out that Jacob de Caceres (the synagogue name of Simon de Caceres) is buried in this ground, Carrera 7, no. 35, having died in 1704. The question then arises how it comes about that no mention is made of him in the synagogue records (which begin in 1663), and the explanation is given that, having been so prominent a supporter of Cromwell, he found it expedient to retire on the Restoration. This story is generally accepted (see e.g. Dr. L. D. Barnett, Bevis Marks Records, Part I, p. 6). This is strange inactivity for that enterprising and independent Jew, Simon de Caceres. Assuming, moreover, as is likely, that he was in his fifties in 1656, he would die a centenarian in 1704. The other signatories to the 1656 Petition were middle-aged men who died not long after: Carvajal in November 1659 ; David Abrabanel in 1667; Menasseh ben Israel 1657; Abraham Coen Gonsales soon after 1672 (when he is last mentioned in the Libro) ; and De Brito in 1656. However, the Lease of 1670 recites that De Caceres was dead. He had interests in the West Indies, and he probably died abroad shortly after 1657. The Jacob de Caceres of 1704 may well be his grandson^ the son of one of the four De Caceres brothers who lived together as bachelors in 1684 (see Zagache's Census of that year).</page><page sequence="13">174 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT BURIALS IN THE FIRST BETHAHAIM &lt;-? ? ? ? 26 ft. - &lt; B O O &lt; Sarah Athias 1658 Samuel de Vega 1661 Moseh de Vega 1661 Is. Nunes 1669 Samuel Vega 1665 Joseph Asquenazi Isaque Yafe 1660 Jonah Varab 1662 A tall stone without a name Ribca de Azevedo 166 Sarah Cardozo 1664 J. H. De Miranda May 1677 Ribcah Ris 1678 Moseh B. Louzada 1678 Rahel Arias Mar. 1678 Abraham Ascanasi Aug. 1678 Abraham Nunes Oct. 1684 Deborah Israel Feb. 1669 Imanuel Musaphia Apr. 1667 Yeoshuah de Morais Jan. 1667 D. Abarbanel Dormido Mar. 1667 Sarah A. Dormido 1668 S. Israel Salman 1684 Ishak Israel Nunes 1684 A. de Morais 1683 J. S. Munao Jan. 1684 Mrs. de Brito 1657 R. Rodrigues Jan. 1684 Ester Carvajal Dec. 1702 A. F. Carvajal Nov. 1659 Moses Israel Athias 1665-6 D. H. I. Nunes Feb. 1662 Sarah Nunes Nov. 1674 Sarah de Paiva 1666-7 Jeudith de Paiva 1709 Moses Nunes 1665 Grasia Nunes Jan. 1666 Rahel de Morais 1665 Samuel de Paiva 1666 Ester de Morais 1665 Samuel Cardozo 1670 CART TRACK</page><page sequence="14">THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT 175 The Lease of April 1670 Probably the community asked How to let them a further part of the orchard, adjoining Bethahaim on the south; and this he was unwilling to do. They then cast envious eyes at the plot between Bethahaim and the cottage, let to Evans. It would suit their purpose very well, and they might be able to adapt the cottage for use as a mortuary chapel in place of the existing hut in Bethahaim. They asked How whether, if they bought out Evans, he would grant them a new lease for 14 years of their plot and the cottage and the ground between, at a reasonable rent. How was apparendy a fair-minded man, and anyhow he had received an extortionate rent from them for Bethahaim for several years, and he agreed. They bought Evans out for ?50. On the 13 April 1670 was drawn up the Receipt and Discharge1 in which William Evans acknowledges the receipt of ?50 from Abraham de Sequeira (the richest merchant in the synagogue) and Jacob Gomez Serra and Isaac Lopez Pereira (the Parnassim, or Wardens, of the year) in consideration of the surrender by him of his lease of the 9 September 1665, and discharged them from all claims in regard to it. On the same day the new lease by How to these three gentlemen was executed2. The consideration is stated to be the surrender of the old lease of February 1657 granted to Carvajal and De Caceres, and the old lease of September 1665 granted by How to Evans, and a payment by the lessees to How of a sum of money which is not specified but is shown by the synagogue accounts to be ?6, paid to him as compen? sation for the loss of his ?10 a year for the remainder of the old lease of 1657. The new lease is of the 'Messuage or Tenement or Tenements of six small rooms now in the occupation of William Paynter Packthreadmaker', and the further part of an 'orchard or garden neere adjoining to the said hereby leased Messuage or Tenement containing one hundred three score and tenn foote in length and twenty and six foote in breadth from the brick wall as the same is now concluded and agreed upon by and between the said parties to these presents'?or, in other words, the whole of the area now occupied by Carreras 1,2, 3 and one yard more in width, and the present blank space of some 20 feet to the east wall, where the cottage stood. The rent was ?1 per annum, which was exactly right. The lease provided that the plot should 'be forthwith all separated fenced and divided from the said Orchard or Garden with pales on the south side at the onely cost and charge of the lessees, a phrase probably copied from the 1657 lease; but after it was drawn up it was altered to read 'on the north and south side'?for no apparent reason except that the brick wall, which was the north boundary, was now in a bad state of repair and needed to be rebuilt. The lease also includes the cart-track, called 'one small parcell of ground as it is now enclosed and used for a way or passage to the said further part of the said orchard or garden'. The term was to run from the 25 March just past and continue for 14 years 6 months and 11 weeks, which would bring it to a fortnight before the 25 December 1684, when How's own lease (originally granted in 1653 to Sigins) would expire. The lessees covenanted that they would keep the premises in proper repair, and deliver them up at the end of the term together with forty fruit trees standing and growing upon them. The execution of the lease was witnessed by Aron Dormido, 1 Original in the archives, Bevis Marks. 2 See original counterpart lease in the archives, Bevis Marks. One of the three lessees had been endenizened, namely Isaac Lopez Pereira (under the name of Emanuell Pereira, alias Jacques Vandepeere) on 3 October 1662.</page><page sequence="15">176 THE CEMETERY OF THE RESETTLEMENT William Evans and Lucas Eimans, the scrivener who had drawn up both documents.1 There are two memoranda in Spanish in reference to this transaction, both in colloquial terms. One is the endorsement on Evans' Receipt and Discharge, and reads : c13 May (an error for April) 1670. Receipt of William Evans for the lease which was paid for this day of the burial ground and cottage which was extended and put in our name'.2 The other is in the synagogue accounts for 1669/70 : 'By the cost of Bethahaim for 14j years and 15 months which had still to run of the lease before ?056:00-0'.3 By Order of the Mahamad of February 1676,4 each year the outgoing Gabai of the synagogue solemnly handed over to his successor the two precious documents of title, the Receipt and Dis? charge of Evans, and the new lease. On the surface this would seem to be a favourable deal from a financial point of view, for while the rent they were to pay was only ?1 a year, the tenant of the cottage would pay them his rent of ?4 a year. But in fact, apart from the ?56 which they had paid to Evans and How, the Synagogue incurred heavy expenditure on this little burial ground of one-tenth of an acre and it caused them some financial stress. Before the Jewish New Year, 1670, they had laid out ?36 17. 6. (in its modern equivalent ?550) in work done on Bethahaim by Ishac Bar Abraham (the Ashkenazi small builder they employed at this time) and in the following year, 5431, they spent ?6 13. 0. on the cottage. In January 1671, they had to introduce a finta or compulsory levy (finally fixed at ?5 per head) to meet this expenditure, and they imposed it on all members and resident foreigners ; and they also imposed on all brokers an imposta of 6d. on every pound sterling of the amounts of their brokerages.0 Burials now continued eastwards along Carrera No. 1 (four burials in 1670, 1671 and 1672), and then at Christmas 1672 they agreed to pay the tenant of the cottage ?1 10. 0. to go out, and he went.6 They then executed substantial further work on the ground and cottage. In 5433 (1672/3) they spent ?30 12. 2. 'on the works in Bett Hayim and the house'.7 In May 1673 they refer to 'the many outlays which this holy congregation had made on Berth Hayim, and those which are at present being made and those which it will be necessary to make in the future'.8 In 5436 (1675-6) the fintas for Bethahaim totalled ?27 10. 0.9 and in the following year ?2010?all to meet a total expenditure on this little ground and cottage since April 1670 of over ?75 (in its modern equivalent about ?1,200). The money went in railing off the ground and beautifying it?it was a simple, rough place previously?and it may have been at this time that they put up the stone plaques carved with skull and crossbones (strange things to find in a Jewish cemetery). But they also, I think, spent a good deal of the money in an attempt to adapt the house for use as a mortuary-chapel, and in this way to make it possible to 1 See the accounts for 1669/70, Libro de los Acuerdos, p. 45 in which the secretary Eimans is paid 17/6d. 'for helping in this contract and making new leases'. Eimans acted often for members of the community. In 1659 he had witnessed, and probably drawn up, Carvajal's last will. 2 '13 de May 1670. Recibo de Wm. Evans de la lessa que selepago este dia del entierno y cassa que se prolongo y puso ennuesto nombre.5 The first lease had been in the names of Carvajal and De Caceres, and now for some years had belonged to Carvajal's heirs. 3 Tor lo que costo Beth ahaim por 14J anos y 15 meses questavan a correr de la lesa, ans (?=antes).' 4 Libro de los Acuerdos, p. 116. 5 Libro, pp. 4