< 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