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The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York

R. B. Dobson

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York* Professor R. B. DOBSON In an age of increasingly chronic 'minority problems', it is not hard to see why the sombre story of the Jewish experience in Angevin and Plantagenet England con? tinues to weave its fascinating spell. Certainly no medievalist can afford to ignore the inability of Euro? pean Christendom to come to satisfactory terms with its most significant internal racial and religious minor? ity group. All allowances made for ways of thought and for cultural influences radically unlike our own, that failure will always remain inexcusable; and although the twelfth and thirteenth centuries may not have been the most tragic of all eras in the melancholy history of anti-Jewish sentiment and policy, the course of Anglo-Jewish relations between the Norman Con? quest and the Expulsion of 1290 was considerably darker than anyone today could wish. Moreover, its history is also dark in quite a different sense of the word. Despite the ever-increasing sophistication with which historians have told and re-told the story of the medieval English Jews, many of the most important problems remain problems still. Even for Dr. Cecil Roth, that master who in the words of Mr. V. D. Lipman's memorial tribute 'bestrode the whole sub? ject like a Colossus', it gradually became more rather than less difficult to do adequate justice to the com? plexities of the Jewish communities of Angevin and early Plantagenet England.1 Among those communi? ties the unusually isolated settlement at York always played an intriguing, sometimes an important, and on one occasion an outstandingly notorious role. Despite that notoriety, the history of the medieval York Jewry has been explored less intensively than most of its counterparts in other provincial English towns. In a previous study an attempt has already been made to survey the evidence for the origins of the Jewish community at York and for the great massacre of 16 March 1190.2 By contrast, if by a natural process of extension, this paper will be devoted to the last phase in the history of the medieval York Jewry?to those Jews who in the period between 1255 and 1290 were to see their fortunes gradually decline before their own abrupt and final disappearance from the city exactly a century after the catastrophe which had struck down their predecessors. How far the fate that befell the last generation of York Jews during these 35 years was * See note 122. typical of that suffered by their fellows elsewhere in England it cannot be the purpose of this brief inquiry to assess; but it may not be too fanciful to suggest that in the late thirteenth century as in the late twelfth, the general interest of the history of the York Jewish community resides in the extreme forms with which it reveals the dominant economic and political pressures affecting every English Jewry of the age. The historian who transfers his attention from the York Jews of 1190 and before to those who lived a hundred years later enters not only a much trans? formed social milieu, but also a milieu whose interpre? tation presents him with very different technical prob? lems. Whereas our knowledge of the late twelfth-cen? tury Jewish community has to be based on highly hazardous inference from fragmentary and often in? scrutable sources, by the 1250s the most remarkable feature of the evidence is 'that it should be possible to assemble so much about so few'.3 Admittedly, and as all students of the thirteenth-century English Jewry are only too well aware, much of this copious docu? mentation is of the type that 'deceives with whispering ambitions. . . gives with such supple confusions That the giving famishes the craving.' In words more pro? saic than those of T. S. Eliot, Dr. Roth expressed the historian's problem equally forcefully on the occasion of the last of his many addresses to the Jewish Histori? cal Society: 'I wish that I knew?really knew?the details of a single day in the life of a single one of the Jews in Oxford.'4 Despite such regrets, the inescapable lot perhaps of most English medievalists at most times, the available evidence for the study of the York Jewry is indeed voluminous, sufficiently abundant in fact to ensure that many years will elapse before its complete history can be written. Nor can there be any doubt that the most significant of the many discoveries still to be made will take place not at York but among the governmental records at the Public Record Office. The four extant printed calendars of Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews (not one of which contains material dating from years after 1277) can only whet the historian's appetite for the revelations about Jewish life in its final decade yet to appear in future volumes of that great series.5 More surprisingly perhaps, the task of publishing and interpreting the numerous but usually highly cryptic Exchequer accounts of receipts from thirteenth-century Jewish sources can hardly be 34</page><page sequence="2">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 35 said to have properly begun.6 Although some attempt has been made to consult such sources in the following study of the last years of the medieval York Jewry, it would be idle to pretend that this can be more than a tentative and provisional survey of an exceptionally complex and mysterious world. Despite such reservations, future research seems cer? tain to confirm the apparent paradox that thejewish community of medieval York enjoyed its most pros? perous and almost certainly most populous period during the decades after rather than before the mas? sacre of Shabbat ha-Gadol. So horrific and so well publicised?from March 1190 to the present day?was the great catastrophe on the site of Clif? ford's Tower that it has naturally led later historians to the view that the York Jewry 'never again attained the importance which it had enjoyed before that fiery night'.7 In fact, most of the available evidence, inade? quate though that may be, suggests that the 1190 massacre decimated not a well-established but rather a comparatively recent and fragile Jewish settlement at York: a settlement whose existence cannot be traced earlier than the 1170s and whose origins may derive from its position as an outlying agency of a national financial network dominated, until his death in 1186, by the famous Aaron of Lincoln. Could it be that the most tragic incident in the entire history of Anglo Jewish relations occurred at York precisely because the Jews there in 1190 were such comparative newcomers to the city that neither local opinion nor the security precautions of the Angevin Government had yet come to adequate terms with the novel problems they presented? There can in any case be no doubt that the massacre itself was to have an effect quite the opposite of that intended by Richard Malebisse, the 'Evil Beast' of 1190, and his fellow-conspirators among the ranks of the lesser Yorkshire baronage. Far from being expelled from the northern city for ever, Jewish finan? ciers not only returned to York within a few years of the massacre but did so under the vigilant supervision of an English Government determined and able to ensure that such a disaster should never recur. Despite the later comment of the Meaux Chronicle that 'Jews did not dare either to inhabit or enter the city of York for many years', the Exchequer Pipe Rolls reveal renewed Jewish financial activity there within five years of the massacre.8 During the immediately sub? sequent period there is considerable further evidence for the reappearance in northern England of Jews under royal and indeed ecclesiastical protection. In 1201 Poitevin and Isaac fil' Isaac were arrested by the Sheriff of Yorkshire while in the process of selling two discounted bonds within the chamber (camera) of the Archbishop of York himself.9 Much more signifi cantly, an exceptionally early original chirograph pre? served among the Exchequer deeds in the Public Record Office reveals that there was an established royal archa at York by at least May 1205.10 It seems to follow that the decision to make York one of the urban centres where Jewish bonds were to be regis? tered in archae or chirograph chests under govern? mental supervision must have been taken within a comparatively few years of the complete constitu? tional reorganisation of the English Jewry by the capi tula Iudeorum of 1194. At the very beginning of the thirteenth century York had accordingly joined the ranks of those eighteen or so provincial towns which were to maintain, more or less continuously, a Jewish archa until the expulsion of 1290.11 The chirograph which reveals the existence of a York archa as early as 1205 is of interest for quite another reason: it marks the first recorded appearance in Yorkshire credit transactions of Isaac of Northamp? ton, apparently the first of the important money? lenders who were to dominate the social as well as the economic life of the York Jewry for the next half-cen? tury. Isaac of Northampton's wealth and distinction were such as to make him a leading contributor to the 1221 'aid' paid towards the marriage of Henry Ill's sister; a few years later he appeared as the leading Jewish witness to the famous deed whereby the York Jews were able to extend their cemetery in 'le Jeu byry'; and his chattels were still a desirable prize as late as September 1268.12 However, Isaac of Northamp? ton's own somewhat mysterious career was soon to be completely overshadowed by those of the two money lending giants of the reign of Henry III, Leo Le Eveske and his son-in-law, the even more famous Aaron of York. In 1241, when their influence and power was probably at its zenith, they were recog? nised for taxation purposes as the richest Jews in Eng? land; and on Leo's death three years later, his son Samuel made fine with the Crown for no less than 7,000 marks, the highest recorded relief paid on the death of any medieval English Jew at any time.13 As for his younger colleague, it is no disrespect to the Rev. Michael Adler's learned study to suggest that Aaron of York's spectacular career would still repay scrupulous reassessment. In particular, a comparison between the detailed payments made by York Jews to the 1221 auxilium and an entry in the recently pub? lished Norwich Day Book Roll seems to leave little doubt that Adler was misled by the nineteenth-cen? tury York antiquary, Robert Davies, into the erroneous belief that Aaron's father was the Josce who presided over the self-destruction of the York Jews in March 1190.14 In fact, Aaron was the son of a Josce of Lincoln and presumably only moved to York in the</page><page sequence="3">36 Professor R. B. Dobson early years of the thirteenth century?a salutary in? stance of the hazards which await those wishing to identify medieval Jews in an age of great geographical mobility and of a narrowly limited repertoire of Jew? ish first names. The precise identification of Aaron of York's own younger relatives and descendants is itself an often dangerous venture; but enough incontrovert? ible evidence fortunately survives to make it clear that he was the great paterfamilias as well as financial poten? tate of his city. As will soon be seen, it was the immediate members of Aaron's family (his wife, Henna; his brothers, Benedict and Samuel; his broth? er-in-law, Samuel L'Evesque; his son, Samuel; and his nephews, Isaac and Josce le Jovene or Jeffne) who were to perpetuate his influence not only during the many years of his comparative destitution but long after his death in 1268.15 It is, however, as a national rather than a local figure that Aaron of York most deserves to be remembered. The career of this Croesus of thirteenth-century England can indeed be interpreted as a microcosm of the history of the English Jewry as a whole, as a detailed commentary on the manner in which the comparatively halcyon years of the 1220s and 1230s were transformed under the pressure of relentless royal extortion into a situation of increasing penury by the late 1250s and 1260s. Admittedly the severity of Henry Ill's tallages of the Jews still awaits detailed assessment: somewhat surprisingly in the case of so familiar a theme, no systematic attempt has yet been made to compare the huge sums allegedly levied by the King with the revenue actually received by the Exchequer as recorded in the latter's surviving Rotuli Recepte de Talliagiis Judeorum. While a study of the latter certainly confirms Mr. H. G. Richardson's belief that 'a series of misconceptions by various writers has multiplied and exaggerated the tallages imposed by Henry III', Richardson sometimes carried his revi? sionism too far, particularly in suggesting that the tallage of 60,000 marks ascribed to 1244 was 'mythi? cal'.16 Not only was the tallage ofthat year the hea? viest in the history of the English Jews but it was preceded and followed by the two decades in which the medieval Jewish community was more ruthlessly exploited than ever before or afterwards. For Aaron of York at least the process proved irreversible and 1255 the year of no return. 'His wealth having entirely evaporated', Aaron of York was completely exempted from the second [October] tallage assess? ment of 1255 because of his poverty.17 As it had been the business activities of Aaron, his relatives and his colleagues which had played the major part in secur? ing a high degree of wealth and status for the York Jewry during the previous generation, his own insol vency automatically endangered both that wealth and that status. In 1255 itself the tax quota assessed on the York Jewry was so drastically reduced that it fell from second to seventh place in the list of tax-paying Jewish communities.18 Hazardous though they are as a guide to the absolute wealth of the various settlements in England, surviving accounts of Exchequer receipts from thejews (either from tallages or from fines and amercements) make it clear that the York Jewry was never to recover its previous position as the richest community outside London. An account of the money received at the New Temple from the pro? ceeds of a Jewish tallage in 1273-1274 reveals that York then took eighth place in a probably complete list of 18 communities: with a total payment of ?60, the York Jewry contributed less than London, Canter? bury, Oxford, Exeter, Northampton, Lincoln, and Nottingham. Two years later an incomplete account of the revenues received from the ?1,000 tallage of 1276 shows the York community in twelfth place, then paying less than Bristol, Hereford, Stamford, Winchester, Warwick, and Norwich, as well as most of the settlements mentioned above.19 It seems suffi? ciently clear, a conclusion which might be indirectly confirmed by the impressionistic evidence of the royal chancery and Jewish plea rolls, that between 1255 and the Expulsion of 1290 the fortunes of the York Jewry experienced not only an absolute decline but a process of attrition even more severe than that which befell its counterparts in other English provincial towns. No doubt the erratic rise and fall of the medieval English Jewry is one of those historical phenomena notable for the number of possible turning-points at which no turn was made. Nevertheless, 1255, the year of Aaron of York's bankruptcy, of little Hugh's mys? terious death at Lincoln, and of Henry Ill's mortgag? ing of the entire Jewish community to his younger brother, Richard of Cornwall, may have marked a genuine divide. The corrosive effects of excessive tal? lages on the one side and of increased anti-Jewish propaganda and blood-libel accusations on the other seem to have made the mid-1250s a real watershed in the history of Anglo-Jewish relations. At the national level the most obvious manifestation of increased governmental inflexibility was of course the series of 'statuta' dispatched to the Justices of the Jews on 31 January 1253; these not only prohibited the building of new synagogues and the creation of new Jewish settlements but made absolutely explicit the familiar principle that 'no Jew shall remain in England unless he performs service for the king'.20 It was at about this period too that the York Jewry itself began to suffer from the effects of local hostility. During the first half of the thirteenth century, all the available evidence</page><page sequence="4">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 37 suggests that for whatever reason the York Jews had been spared the worst of the atrocities, affrays, and murders which had punctuated the history of most provincial communities. However, in 1256 or 1257 one unfortunate Jew who tried to cross Ouse Bridge at night was assaulted and mortally wounded by a gang of at least seven men: although Eustace de Elletoftes, the actual murderer, escaped, a city jury acquitted his six accomplices.21 Nor of course did the York com? munity avoid the anti-Jewish demonstrations which accompanied the temporary triumph of Simon de Montfort's party in the civil wars of the 1260s. Although no details survive, at Kenilworth in October 1266 Henry III found it necessary to order John de Selby, then Mayor of York, to take protective measures 'against certain persons of the said city of York who threaten thejews' bodies and goods'. Simi? larly, in the following year (on 4 December 1267), Aaron of York's nephew, Josce lejovene, was allowed to compensate himself at the expense of his Christian debtors for the losses he had suffered at the hands of the King's enemies in the recent civil war.22 Probably more significant for the bleak future of the York Jewry was the inability of Aaron's heirs to preserve their father's property and possessions inside the city within their own family: only a few months after Aaron of York's death in 1268, his son Samuel was compelled to transfer several of his father's houses in Coney Street to Hagin, son of Magister Moses, the famous London moneylender and archpresbyter of the English Jewry.23 Even before the Provisio Judaismi of January 1269 inaugurated a period of ever-increas? ing legislative restriction on the lending of money at interest on landed security, the York Jewish com? munity was already in a state of manifest financial decline. It had, of course, long been in a position of acute geographical isolation. The only other northern English town known to have developed a regular Jewish community, Newcastle upon Tyne, had suc? cessfully petitioned the Crown for the expulsion of all its Jews as long ago as 1234. After the extinction of the community at Derby in 1261, the only provincial Jewish settlements within a hundred miles of York seem to have been those of Lincoln and Notting? ham.24 The only possible argument to the contrary is that provided by the highly controversial and proble? matic evidence of those Jewish 'surnames' which take the form of toponymies based on English place names. The appearance among the copious thirteenth century records of Jews with names like 'Jacob de Pokelington', 'Leon de Scardeburg', 'Vives de Wake? feit', 'Elias de Denekastr', 'Miles de Roderham', and 'Isaac de Beverley' poses genuinely difficult problems of interpretation.25 The significance of these name forms for the fundamental issue of the diffusion of Jewish settlement throughout the whole of medieval western Europe needs no urging; and Professor Robert Chazan has recently based a survey of the medieval Jewry in northern France on the belief that 'such a surname can usually be taken as indicative of Jewish residence in the given locale'.26 However, the evidence for northern England continues to reinforce the late Mr. H. G. Richardson's scepticism on this important question. Quite apart from the general difficulty of believing that a handful of Jewish money? lenders could have survived as isolated residents in the smaller English towns, it seems unlikely that such residence, had it existed, would not have left some trace in surviving thirteenth-century records. Addi? tional evidence, however indirect, can moreover now be adduced to support Richardson's view that medie? val Jews might owe their surnames to the places in which they lent money rather than in which they lived. According to a responsum of Rabbi Gershom of Mainz (d. 1028), Jews of the Rhineland had been 'accustomed to travel to many places and towns within a day or two of their residence' many years before the arrival of Jews in England; and four cen? turies later Rabbi Simeon ben Zemah Duran specifi? cally derived the second name of one of his own ancestors, Bongudas de Moro, from a small village on the Mediterranean, now Saintes-Maries de la Mer, 'because this was the village where he lent money'.27 No such precise a comment has yet been discovered in the case of thirteenth-century England; but, in the absence of any certain evidence for the existence of a resident Jewish community in medieval Ireland, it must seem highly probable that, for example, the intriguingly named 'Aaron de Hibernia' suffering im? prisonment at Bristol Castle in 1282 was so called because of his or his ancestors' business connections across the Irish Sea.28 In the north of England undoub? tedly the most illuminating single name in this con? nection is that of Moses son of Moses of Colton, who appeared as an attorney of Aaron of York in a quit? claim of 1252. Not only is the Yorkshire place-name from which his family name must have been derived that of an extremely small and obscure village but Moses is indeed known to have been engaged in business transactions in the vicinity. Moreover, by 1277 Moses of Colton was officially designated, like Miles of Rotherham earlier in the century, as 'a Jew of York'.29 No one would wish to deny that the intricate problems created by Jewish nomenclature in medieval England will continue to cause debate for many years to come; but such nomenclature remains extremely slender evidence on which to reverse the traditional</page><page sequence="5">38 Professor R. B. Dobson view that 'Village Jewries were practically non-exis? tent in England and France.'30 It seems only reason? able to conclude that by the mid-thirteenth century York was the centre of the only resident Jewish settle? ment north of the Trent, a settlement whose members occasionally owed their names, as they nearly all owed their livelihood and their very survival, to money lending in the rural areas outside the city. That the provincial Jewries should be located in towns and yet serve the financial and economic needs of agrarian rather than urban society is of course one of the most curious paradoxes in the history of the medieval English Jews. As in all discussions of this highly familiar theme, every possible allowance has to be made for a situation in which the moneylending of individual Jews is almost overwhelmingly well docu? mented, whereas their other professional activities have left only slight and intermittent record. Never? theless, and as Mr. Lipman has already observed, it can hardly be a concidence that Jews failed to settle in so many of the expansionist east-coast ports of Angevin and post-Angevin England:31 there, as indeed in the more traditional urban centres, it is noticeable how little profit Jews apparently ever derived from either commercial or industrial activity. To that generalisa? tion, the city of York certainly proves no exception; and the apparently close correlation between the dwindling fortunes of the leading Jewish moneylend? ing families and the decline of the community as a whole seems beyond dispute. It is indeed excep? tionally difficult to discover evidence of any late thirteenth-century York Jews who derived their in? come from services other than the lending of money at interest. Admittedly it may well be that at an earlier stage of its history thejewish community at York had helped to service the operations of the York mints. The location of royal mints in the middle years of Henry Ill's reign coincides very closely indeed with those English towns known to have possessed a Jewish archa;32 and the appearance of the names of Tsac' and Teremie' on coins minted at York itself during the first half of the thirteenth century might conceivably be suggestive of Jewish involvement in the minting oper? ations of the Crown. However, these occasional Bibli? cal names of Angevin and early Plantagenet monetarii are notoriously difficult to interpret; in any case, at York itself they completely disappear from the faces of surviving coins after 1252.33 Nor, and somewhat surprisingly, does it seem at all certain that the Jews of York provided extensive financial support to the citizens and inhabitants of the town in which they lived. No doubt the compara? tively informal lending of small sums of money by York Jews to their Christian neighbours in the city is inadequately represented in the surviving records; but on the copious evidence of surviving plea rolls it would appear that such activity within York only very rarely resulted in litigation and was in any case completely overshadowed by the massive loans of Jews to the gentry and free tenants of the northern countryside. As it is, the case of an unfortunate York tailor, John Pixton, who was sued for detinue of chattels by Benedict son of Josce in 1268, seems alto? gether exceptional.34 In York, as in other English towns, there is remarkably little evidence that Jewish capital sustained local retailing and industrial activity. No doubt it would be wise to be cautious on this issue: for the fact of the matter is that at York as elsewhere the financial as well as the social relations 'betweenJew and Christian, and the part played by Jews in town life, remain curiously obscure'.35 On balance, how? ever, it seems probable that members of the city's governing class gained rather than suffered from the presence of a Jewish community in their midst. In any case, the mayor and bailiffs of thirteenth-century York were under legal obligation to protect the persons and the financial affairs of thejews within their city; and it may be significant that the two Christian chiro? graphers regularly appointed to supervise the archa in co-operation with their Jewish counterparts were (like John le Espicer and John Sperri in the 1250s and 1260s) usually individuals who later became mayors, bailiffs, or other office-holders of York.36 The career ofjames de Cimiterio, much the best documented of all York Christian chirographers, provides some indication of the profits as well as the responsibilities that might derive from the tenure of that important position: after his summary ejection from the clerkship of the York chirograph chest in 1273, James was prepared to pay the Crown five gold bezants for reinstatement to his office.37 James de Cimiterio was only one of the many members of the late thirteenth-century urban 'patriciate'?mayors and bailiffs like John Sampson, Roger Basy, and Gace de Chaumont?who took advantage of their ascendancy in the city to lease or buy Jewish property in and near York on apparently advantageous terms.38 How far such official and busi? ness relationships between Jew and Gentile promoted a genuine atmosphere of toleration must of course always remain a largely open question; but on the available evidence for York it would be hard to main? tain that in their corporate capacity 'the towns were the first to carry out a practical and effective anti-Jew? ish policy'.39 The presence of a resident Jewish com? munity in their vicinity was probably a much greater source of financial advantage to the leading townsmen of the thirteenth century than has usually been recog? nised. Two centuries later, in the course of an eloquent</page><page sequence="6">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 39 plea of poverty addressed to Richard III, the citizens of Lincoln were capable of expressing positive nostalgia for the period when 'the Jewez were in aunciaunt tyme enhabettaunt' in their city.40 Whatever degree of security thejews of York may have derived from the self-interested tolerance of the city's governing elite, they undoubtedly owed their economic well-being to their remarkable ascendancy over all credit transactions north of the Humber. Until at least the 1250s and 1260s Jewish capital continued to be in very heavy demand among a large and varied section of northern, and especially Yorkshire, rural society. So numerous are the recorded loans made to the gentry and free tenants of the north by Aaron of York, Benedict Crespyn, and their colleagues that they defy simple analysis: at the least, however, and despite a recent contrary view, they seem to suggest that the national inflation of the early thirteenth cen? tury enhanced rather than reduced the importance of Jewish moneylending as an instrument of social change. At the beginning of Henry Ill's reign, for example, members of the Fairfax and Vavassor fami? lies were already heavily in debt to thejews.41 As no attempt has yet been made to analyse the composition of rural society in thirteenth-century Yorkshire, any attempt at generalisation in this important field is bound to be hazardous and premature. Nevertheless, a cursory study of the names of the forty or so laymen known from governmental chancery and plea rolls to have been in debt to York Jews at the very beginning of the 1270s reveals that at least two-thirds of the total number were members of quite prominent Yorkshire gentry families. Obviously enough, unredeemed loans and mortgages rather than those which were rapidly liquidated tend to leave most trace in these records; but one would be safe to conclude that a large proportion of the northern 'knightly class' were not only borrowing from York Jews but were also finding it difficult to extricate themselves from their entangle? ments. The size of their debts naturally varied con? siderably around an average figure of ?50 or ?60; but they could be very substantial indeed, as in the case of Peter de Bruce's debt of ?250 to Aaron of York or that of ?200 by Robert de Percy to a consortium headed by Benedict Crespyn.42 Not surprisingly, in a situation where the regular interest rate was often as high as 2d. in the ? per week, recourse to the credit facilities provided by the York Jews was as likely to exacerbate as to alleviate the financial shortcomings of the borrower. Several Yorkshire gentlemen (like Thomas de Drewton, who apparently died on crusade in 1268) were heavily indebted on their death; while others were only extricated from their difficulties (like Nicholas de Meynell, who was pardoned a debt of ?,100 to Juetta and Josce le Jovene in 1278 for his service in the Welsh wars) by royal favour.43 The correct interpretation of chronic indebtedness on the part of members of a social class is notoriously difficult to make; but it is certainly noticeable that only a few of the major northern magnates and prelates seem to have borrowed money from the Jews of thirteenth century York.44 On the other hand, the evidence for widespread financial embarrassment on the part of many of the Yorkshire gentry is sufficiently copious to suggest that in the north, as elsewhere in England, Jewish moneylending was a symptom of a general economic crisis. Like their predecessors, Richard Malebisse, William Percy, and Marmaduke Darell in the late twelfth century, the Percies, Lovells, Meynells, Bertrams, Fauconberges, and Cliffords of two or three generations later were families under serious financial pressure. Conscious as the knights of England undoubtedly were that Jewish usury might enable 'the magnates and most powerful men of the kingdom thereby to enter into the lands of lesser men (minores)', it is not hard to see why both Simon de Montfort (in 1263-5) and Edward I (in and indeed before 1290) should have drawn immediate political advantage from an explicitly anti-Jewish policy and programme.45 The evidence available for the business activities of the thirteenth-century York Jewry therefore certainly confirms the view that their single most important economic function was the crucial role they played in the transfer of landed wealth from a wide range of 'declining' gentry and free tenant families to other and more prosperous social groups. Thanks to the pioneer? ing researches of the late Mr. H. G. Richardson, the general significance of the extraordinarily complex traffic in encumbered estates, property rents, and Jew? ish bonds is now well known. It needs no emphasis that indebtedness to York Jews often led to the per? manent alienation of a landlord's estate to one of his lay neighbours. It was, for example, their debts to Aaron of York which forced Sir William Tuschet and William de Lascelles to surrender substantial quantities of land to Richard le Waleys and Richard de Otring ham respectively; similarly, the windmill and 2 acres of land in the southwestern suburbs of York itself which were lost 'in Judaismo' by William le Espec, a member of one of Yorkshire's most famous baronial families, had passed to John de Grantwick in 1276.46 Even more active in the buying up of unredeemed bonds from York Jews in order to augment an existing inheritance were the religious houses of Yorkshire and the north. The systematic acquisition of pledged lands by the Cistercian monks of Meaux during the course of the early thirteenth century is indeed so well docu</page><page sequence="7">40 Professor R. B. Dobson merited in the chronicle of that abbey that it deserves to stand as the locus classicus of a ubiquitous pheno? menon.47 Mr. Richardson has also drawn attention to the way in which the involvement of Malton Priory and Fountains Abbey with York Jews provides 'evi? dence of a well-organised business for marketing encumbered estates': in 1243 part of Leo Le Eveske's considerable treasure was actually in the custody of the Prior of Malton.48 It would be easy enough to mul? tiply examples of the York Jewry's contribution to the land market. During the reign of Henry III, Aaron of York, Leo Le Eveske, Manasses, and other Jews of York were instrumental in providing the Cistercian monasteries of Roche and Rievaulx with the oppor? tunity to acquire estates from the financially embar? rassed Peter de Wad worth and Simon de Hales. Similarly, it was because of his debts to Aaron of York that Thomas the sergeant of Northallerton lost all his lands there to the monks of Durham Cathedral Priory.49 So frequent were such transactions, and so complex the form of the documents in which they were expressed, that it is rarely possible to take the evidence of an apparently straightforward loan by a York Jew to a religious house entirely at its face value. It remains conceivable no doubt that when the Prior of Thornholme in Lincolnshire borrowed 55 marks from Bonamy of York or when the Prior of Guisbor ough borrowed ?400 from Josce of Kent, such sums were genuine loans for purposes of consumption or capital expenditure; and it may well be that the same applies to the ?300 owed to Bonamy by Bridlington Priory in 129?, the last recorded Jewish loan in medie? val English history.50 Even so, the most probable conclusion must certainly be that whereas members of the Yorkshire gentry were the most obvious victims, the religious houses of the north were among the most important beneficiaries of the land market the York Jews did so much to foster. What still remains profoundly mysterious is the extent to which that land market, and the lending of money by York Jews from which it derived, was able to survive the difficult conditions of Edward I's reign. As late as 1268 the success of the monks of Meaux in acquiring land at Skerne in the East Riding by pur? chasing unredeemed bonds from Benedict son of Josce provoked a violent protest from some of their Chris? tian neighbours;51 but, at least in theory, the anti-Jew? ish national legislation of 1269 to 1275 should have extinguished any future prospects of profitable moneylending at York as elsewhere. Admittedly Mr. Richardson has already expressed a caveat against the assumption that the explicit prohibition of usury by the Statute of Jewry promulgated at the Michaelmas Parliament of 1275 did indeed put an end to Jewish credit transactions; and one would willingly concede that a definitive answer to that famous question must await the publication of the many plea rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews which survive for the period between 1277 and 1290.52 That said, it has already been seen that moneylending by the York Jews in the 1270s and 1280s was undoubtedly much less extensive than it had been in the case of their predecessors a generation earlier; and as there seem to be no a priori reasons why the previously insatiable appetites of the lesser landlords of thirteenth-century England for financial credit should have been surfeited by the reign of Edward I, the historian of the medieval English Jewry is confronted with yet another familiar prob? lem?the extent to which that appetite could now be satisfied by creditors other than thejews. The most obvious?perhaps too obvious?candi? dates for such a role have long been the members of the Italian banking houses whose invasion of the English financial world is so dramatic a feature of the late thirteenth century. Now it is certainly true, as recent studies have fully confirmed, that the Riccardi, Frescobaldi, and their fellows performed a multipli? city of economic services?in papal tax-collecting, in the wool trade, in high governmental finance?from which the Jews had usually remained significantly aloof.53 It must also be emphasised that the arrival of the Italian merchants and bankers was by no means a new phenomenon in Edward I's reign: as early as the 1240s Aaron of York himself had been involved in the payment of considerable sums to merchants of Flor? ence, Siena, and indeed Bordeaux.54 Thirty years later, however, there can be no doubt that the impact of the Italians on credit transactions in the north was immeasurably greater: from 1277 onwards references to the fellows of Tomasso Guidiccioni and Enrico and Orlandino da Pogio, 'Eboraco commorantes', may even suggest, perhaps a little speculatively, that the city of York was the centre of a resident branch of the Ric? cardi company in northern England.55 Throughout the pontificate of William Giffard (1266-1279) not only was the Archbishop himself borrowing heavily from Italian financiers but the Riccardi and their col? leagues had also begun to supply extensive credit to many and perhaps most Yorkshire religious houses.56 Perfectly symptomatic of a genuine transformation of the financial scene in northern England is the manner whereby in 1275 a loan of ?900 originally made by Josce le Jovene and his son-in-law Bonamy to Foun? tains Abbey was eventually repaid to the royal clerk, Antony Bek, through the agency of the famous Luke Natale of Lucca.57 To suggest that in England the Jews were replaced by the Italians is to misconceive the course of history.' Perhaps; but now that it is becom</page><page sequence="8">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 41 ing increasingly apparent that the Riccardi and their successors, among their many other services, lent money to a very wide spectrum of late thirteenth-cen? tury English society, it would be dangerous to be certain that so important an issue is yet completely closed.58 If private loans by late thirteenth-century Italian banking companies have received insufficient atten? tion, the activities of native English moneylenders have received even less. For obvious reasons the prac? tice of usury by English Christians is highly resistant to detailed historical inquiry; but there can no longer be any doubt that its origins, in Yorkshire as elsewhere, were so early that they may well precede the arrival of thejews themselves.59 To choose one example out of many, the Dean and Chapter of York Minster were indebted to usurers in 1266; and ten years later Edward I made a general attack on those Christians of London and Surrey, 'illicita cupiditate ducti, judaizantes', who had the temerity to demand open interest on their loans.60 Like canonical prohibition, royal denuncia? tion no doubt caused Christian moneylenders to dis? guise their usurious dealings from public scrutiny; but it certainly failed to have any measurable effect on the operations of a lucrative and very extensive financial underworld. Allowances duly made for the possible distortion created by the survival of additional cate? gories of record during the reign of Edward I, it seems probable that Christian moneylending may have expanded very considerably indeed from the 1270s onwards. As in the late twelfth century, many of the most active individuals in this field were royal servants and clerks closely involved in the central adminis? tration of the Plantagenet Government. The extra? ordinary wealth of that 'greatest and probably the most unscrupulous of thirteenth-century money? lenders', Adam de Stratton, himself appointed one of the justices for tallaging thejews in 1274, was acquired during the very last years of the medieval English Jewry.61 Of much greater importance and relevance for the problematic history of the York Jewry in its final phase is the first recorded appearance of extensive moneylending on the part of the Mayors of York itself. In 1280 John le Espicer, senior (Mayor of York in 1272-1274), was holding Robert Percy's manor of Carnaby in the East Riding for six years as security for a loan of 250 marks. His associate in this transaction, Sir Gilbert Louth, Mayor of the city at various dates in the late 1270s and early 1280s, has been likened to 'a private banker of the Percy family', for whom 'moneylending seems almost a profession'.62 It is cer? tainly difficult to account for the wealth of these two mayors?and that of their colleague, Sir John Samp? son, who contributed towards a loan of 1,040 marks to Edward I in 1282?in terms of their apparently very limited investment in commercial or industrial enter? prise. Whether 'professional' moneylenders or not, it is tempting to suppose that mayors of York like these were capable of providing not only Robert Percy but also other financially embarrassed members of the Yorkshire gentry with a source of credit alternative to Josce le Jovene and Benedict Crespyn.63 Yet another and undoubtedly more important alternative to the Jews were the moneylending ser? vices available from the higher clergy of the Church of York. Recent research is beginning to suggest that in certain ways, and by a curious irony, the successors to thejewish financiers of thirteenth-century York were those ecclesiastical possessioners who had previously done so little to alleviate the lot of the non-Christian community in their midst. In particular, the often fabulously wealthy residentiary canons and dignitaries of York Minster, almost by definition senior adminis? trators in the service of king or archbishop, readily amassed a regular supply of liquid capital unrivalled by all but the richest prelates and magnates of northern England. Not surprisingly, many of these clerks were ready to put such capital to use. As early as 1268 Godfrey Giffard, Archdeacon of York, was engaged in buying up fee-rents from Jewish sources; and between 1290 and 1307 Henry de Newark and Wil? liam de Hambleton, successive Deans of York Mins? ter, lent sums of well over ?100 to the monasteries of Durham and Bolton by a series of complicated and probably usurious arrangements. The even more sub? stantial if similar loan made by the Chancellor of the Minster, Robert de Ripplingham, to the canons of Bolton Priory in 1317 clearly entailed the repayment of concealed interest.64 Most suspicious of all perhaps is the career of Master Robert Ughtred of Scarbor? ough, a royal clerk who was simultaneously Dean of York Minster (1279-1290) and Keeper of the royal Domus Conversorum in Chancery Lane (1288?1289); capable of lending sums like ?1,000 to his King on the one side and 1,000 marks to his Archbishop on the other. Robert of Scarborough's eventual disgrace and deprivation seems to provide an object-lesson in cor? ruption at high clerical levels.65 The financial activities of the higher clergy do indeed deserve urgent atten? tion in their own right; and it would of course be facile to suggest that they necessarily proliferated as a direct consequence of the decline and expulsion of the Jews from England. What can be said, at least for northern England, is that during the 20 years or so before 1290 an increasing proportion of the profits of moneylending appears to have fallen into the hands of the Christians rather than thejews of York. Throughout those last two decades of sombre sur</page><page sequence="9">42 Professor R. B. Dobson vival there can in any case be no doubt that the York Jewry was suffering the strains of increased economic and social pressure. The severity of such strains is manifest in many spheres, most measurably perhaps in the decline of royal tallages. From at least 1269 onwards, the royal government was made very much aware that, in England as in Gascony, excessive taxa? tion might 'burden the poor Jews beyond their powers' and was in genuine danger of extinguishing the ability of many Jews to contribute to tallages at all.66 Except for 'Bonami de Eboraco', no York Jew seems to have been able to contribute at all substan? tially to the national levy of 5,000 marks imposed in 1271; and after a confused but more or less uninter? rupted series of tallages during the subsequent six years, the Crown at last seems to have conceded the temporary impracticality of additional efforts to extract money from English Jews by means of direct taxation.67 No tallages at all were levied between 1278 and 1287. Half-way through that period (in 1284) an Exchequer estimate of prospective royal revenue assessed the likely total annual income from the English Jewry at only ?200?an estimate indeed which surviving accounts of the perquisites and amer? cements of the Jews in the 1270s and 1280s suggest may have been on the very generous side.68 The Jewish receipt rolls of these years seem to leave no doubt that from 1275 onwards the York Jewry had ceased to be a significant source of financial profit to the Edwardian Government. In 1276 the York com? munity (communa) provided only ?18 towards a total national levy of ?1,000, a tallage to which only five York Jews (Josce le Jovene, Jacob Sabeleyn, Sampson le Chapleyn, Dieudonne Crespyn, and Bonamy of York) were able to make personal contributions.69 By that date the genuine failure of most members of the York Jewry to withstand the burdens of royal taxation had begun to leave abundant traces in thejewish plea rolls. In 1273, for example, the bonds of Abraham Levy, Benedict fil' Josce, Josce of Patrick Pool, and Josce, nephew of Aaron, were all seized by the chiro? graphers of York because of their non-payment of tallage. Within the next two years even Jews as promi? nent as Josce le Jovene and Dieudonne Crespyn were to be arrested and imprisoned for the same reason.70 Imprisonment was by no means the worst of fates to befall members of the York Jewry in its final phase. Discounting the exaggeration of contemporary chroniclers, there can still be no denying the savage and often murderous effects of the procedures against coin-clipping unleashed by Edward I's Government in 1276-1279. At York undoubtedly the most remark? able victim of these charges was Aaron of York's nephew, Josce le Jovene, hanged in 1279 despite a very prominent career in Jewish affairs since the early 1240s.71 But there were several, although it is impos? sible to know quite how many, less distinguished casualties too. Perhaps the historian's greatest sym? pathy throughout this melancholy period should go to the bereaved, to a Jewess like Auncerra, daughter of Aaron of York, who lost not only her first but also her second husband?a certain Lombard hanged (by July 1280) 'for a trespass of money whereof he was con? victed.'72 How large a proportion of thejewish popu? lation were persuaded by this and other types of perse? cution to become converts to the Christian religion remains, at York as elsewhere, a virtually unanswer? able question. The Jewish conversus is so elusive a figure among the records of late thirteenth-century England that any argument ex silentio on this subject is certain to be highly dangerous: it may or may not be significant that Jews from York figure less promi? nently than their fellows in many other English towns among the accounts of the royal Domus Conver sorum.73 Much more reliable is the evidence for an increasing exodus of Jews from York during the late thirteenth century. A willingness to migrate from one community to another had of course always been a characteristic feature of the medieval Anglo-Jewry; but from the 1260s onwards few newcomers seem to have replaced the considerable number of Jews who left the northern city for the south and especially?like 'Abraham le Jovene de Eboraco' in 1267?for Lon? don. Other York Jews, of whom Deulecres of Patrick Pool in 1274 is an example, allegedly fled overseas to escape the incidence of royal tallages.74 During the punitive years of the so-called 'Edwardian Experi? ment', it is perhaps hardly surprising that those pro? vincial Jewries?like York and Exeter?which were the most geographically remote and the last to be firmly established should also be among the first to manifest symptoms of acute numerical contraction. By this period such contraction was in any case fully apparent in the comments on the state of the York Jewry made by Sheriffs of Yorkshire in response to instructions from the royal Justices of thejews. Of 11 prominent York Jews listed by Sheriff Henry de Nor? manton in 1274, one was alleged to be already dead, two were in prison 'for their tallage', two were in London, while the remaining six had 'fled by night out of the county of York with all their chattels outside the chest'.75 More revealing still was the reply made by the Sheriff of Yorkshire three years later to the order that he should attach the persons of 38 individuals accused of coin-clipping and other offences: at least 30 of those named were Jews, all of whom were said to be not only in prison but also so destitute that they could neither find mainpernours</page><page sequence="10">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 43 nor bear the cost of their transport to London for trial.76 On the probable assumption that in 1277 the sheriff was required to cast his net very finely indeed, it seems highly probable that by this year the Jews of York were not only very poor but very few. Some? what ironically, it is only during this period of sharp numerical decline that a little statistical evidence sur? vives to make possible a hazardous estimate of the total size of the York Jewry. In 1275 the York chiro? graphers reported to the Exchequer that 30 Jews pos? sessed a total of 47 bonds in their archa, while a further 46 Jews held no bonds in the chest.77 Not all the individuals named (of whom incidentally only nine were women) were necessarily Jews usually resident in York; and the total figure of 76 can only serve as a very inadequate guide to the adult population of the York Jewry 15 years before its extinction. When every allowance has been made for children as well as wives and others who may have evaded the critical scrutiny of the York chirographers in 1275, it still seems un? likely that there can have been more than 150 or so Jews in York at the accession of Edward I?a total probably not so very different from that of the earlier Jewish community which had suffered at the hands of its Christian persecutors in the massacre of March 1190. Such a figure, however approximate, certainly accords with the single most important estimates for the population of the medieval English Jewry as a whole, those provided by the surviving accounts of the Keeper of the London Domus Conversorum dur? ing the early 1280s. According to those accounts, between 1280 and 1283 the annual poll-tax or chevage obligatory on all English Jews over the age of 12 was paid by between 1,135 and 1,179 persons.78 Not at all incredible in themselves, it is now generally agreed that these figures make it unlikely that there can have been more than 2,500 or so Jews in England a decade before the Expulsion. By 1290 the size of the English Jewry was no doubt even smaller still: at York itself the final survey of their houses and tenements shows that only six Jewish property-holders survived in the city to the very end. The comparatively insignificant number of houses available for confiscation by Edward I in 1290 is itself of course the single most striking testimonial to the startling economic decline of the York Jewry during the preceding 30 years. Indeed, the rapid liquidation of Jewish urban property during the 1270s and 1280s is a phenomenon perhaps better documented at York than in any other English provincial town. Although impossible to quantify at all precisely, the number of tenements and messuages acquired by Jews within the walls of York during the reign of Henry III had certainly been very considerable indeed. Their posses sion of a wide variety of houses dispersed throughout the city?in Micklegate, Fossgate, Spen Lane, Felter gayle, Bretgate, Walmgate, Patrick Pool, Pavement, Castlegate, St. Andrewgate, St. Saviourgate, Hun gate, and (especially) Coney Street?had provided the York Jews with what were probably their single grea? test capital assets.79 Naturally enough, only a minority of these tenements were the actual residences of York Jews. During the first half of the thirteenth century the members of the York Jewry stand revealed as among the most important landlords in the city: as early as 1219 Hugh de Selby, the first recorded Mayor of York, was leasing a house from 'Aaron Judeo' at a rent of 2s. Od. a year.80 Throughout the next half-century the vicissitudinous fortunes of individual York Jews and the opportunities created by Jewish escheats to the Crown automatically resulted in a complex and very active urban property market within the city; but it was only after the 1260s that thejewish share in that market was gradually eliminated altogether. Despite the reservations sometimes expressed about the effi? cacy of national anti-Jewish legislation, at York itself there can be no doubt whatsoever about the crushing impact in this sphere of the royal provisions 'super terris etfeodis Judeorum' issued on 25 July 1271. By prohibit? ing Jews from leasing urban property to Christians, these provisions forced the York Jews to start dispos? ing of many of their tenements and messuages in the city, if not immediately then at the expiry of current leases.81 The most conspicuous victim of this enforced liquidation of urban property was Henna, the now venerable widow of Aaron of York, whose gradual but systematic sale of the great bulk of her inherited property can be traced in the Chancery records of the 1270s. A special inquest held at York in February 1274 reveals that not only Henna but also seven other Jews had been compelled to sell large numbers of city houses to a wide range of Christian purchasers during the immediately preceding period.82 More catastrophic still were the confiscations of Jewish property in York which followed the coin clipping prosecutions of 1276-1279. In many ways 1279 might even be regarded as a more fateful year for the medieval York Jewry than either 1190 or 1290. By November 1279, for example, the land and the site of the York synagogue (schola) between Coney Street and the River Ouse was granted by Queen Eleanor to John Sampson and Roger Basy, future mayors of the city: during the last decade of their existence, the few remaining Jews of York were presumably only able to worship together in the informal setting of one of their surviving dwellings.83 Earlier in the same year Edward I had issued orders for the conversion of several Jewish houses in the city into a royal wine</page><page sequence="11">44 Professor R. B. Dobson cellar; other Jewish tenements had meanwhile fallen into ruin, while many more passed permanently from their hands. Among the beneficiaries of these confisca? tions and escheats were the governing elite of the city itself?men like Laurence de Bootham, Henry de Bryland, and Robert de Appleby, as well as the Basys and Sampsons?who were able to acquire large blocks of Jewish property at what seem to have been com? paratively low prices.84 A greater beneficiary still was undoubtedly the royal Government itself, which (according to one Wardrobe account) received no less than ?1,356 from forfeited Jewish property in the country as a whole between 1279 and 1280.85 It would accordingly not be difficult, at York as elsewhere, to 'demonstrate the bearing of the proceedings of 1278-9 upon the problem of the Expulsion'.86 Historians of the medieval English Jewry have perhaps failed to appreciate that the connection between these two events was administratively very close indeed. The same important royal official, Hugh de Kendal, a Chancery clerk and clerk of the King's Council, super? vised the spoliations of both 1279 and 1290. In the former year, he was responsible for the sale of the houses of Jews hanged for felony, in the latter for the valuation and sale of the houses and other possessions of the Jews exiled from England for ever. When Edward I finally decided on the expulsion of his Eng? lish Jews he had accordingly not far to look for the man best qualified to maximise his personal profits from the occasion.87 What had been done once already?and in many ways the administrative prob? lems created by the forfeitures of 1279 were consider? ably more complex than those of 1290?could easily be done again. The extent to which the English Jews were living on genuinely borrowed time during the 1280s never? theless remains one of the major unsolved problems in their history. At York itself it is very hard to believe that the emaciated community of the last decade could ever have recovered its former strength and status. Needless to say, the declining economic power of the York Jewry made its individual members much more vulnerable to acts of personal hostility. The by now almost incessant stream of ecclesiastical and govern? mental restrictive legislation?like the measure com? pelling Jewesses as well as Jews to wear the tabulae in 1281?can hardly have failed to produce its inhibiting effects.88 Perhaps even more unnerving was the un? certainty created by the unnecessary ambiguities of royal legislation on the one side and the vicissitudes of royal policy towards the Jews on the other. A large proportion of the York cases in the Jewish plea rolls are indeed a detailed commentary on the thirteenth century Jew's anomalous situation at law: 'Custom protected him in times of peace, but could give him no security; it was not generally known and had none of the prestige which maintained the common law.'89 On occasion even the inviolability of the royal archa, the absolute sine qua non of Jewish business security, could prove illusory; an especially informative York plea of 1270 not only resulted in the almost certainly fraudulent imprisonment of Abraham fil' Josce but reveals that the all-important links of confidence between Jewish moneylender and Christian chiro? grapher had snapped completely.90 The chances of mutual trust were certainly not enhanced by the inep? titude of the English Government: by mid-October 1279, when the Sheriff of Yorkshire was commanded to protect the York Jews and to ensure that they could buy food, trade, and live (conservare) among the Christians of the city as in years past, Anglo Jewish relations in York must already have been irre? parably prejudiced by the judicial massacre' of that year.91 Nor can the fragility of the Jewry's presence in the northern city have been anything but further under? mined by the increasing hostility of the senior eccle? siastics of the church and province of York. Edward I's determination to use the preaching services of the mendicant orders, and especially of the Dominicans, as a major element in his campaign to convert the English Jews is well known: such a campaign can hardly have been a matter of indifference to the York Jewry at a period when the orders of friars in that city were at their most numerous and influential.92 More suspicious and probably more damaging were the anti-Jewish activities of the Archbishops of York themselves. Like the other members of his formidable kindred, Archbishop Walter Giffard of York not only borrowed money from the Jews but seems to have been involved in a highly lucrative traffic in Jewish bonds: one suspects that it was these material consid? erations which induced the Giffards to support (in 1271) the successful Franciscan campaign to deprive all English Jews of their right to hold free tenements.93 Some years later the conduct of Archbishop John le Romeyn (1286-1296) raises even graver misgivings. When, on 21 April 1287, Romeyn ordered the Official of his diocese to put into effect Honorius IV's call for more stringent action against the dangers of inter? course between Jews and Christians, he was only obeying the Pope's instructions of the previous November; but when, only a few weeks earlier, he had concluded his visitation of Bridlington Priory in the East Riding with the decree that thenceforward no Jews should be admitted into the cloister there, it is hard to resist the suspicion that the Archbishop was already cognisant of the canons' debts to Bonamy of</page><page sequence="12">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 45 York which were to lead to his own public humilia? tion six years later.94 The well-known story of Archbishop Romeyn's abortive attempt to profit from Bridlington Priory's indebtedness to Bonamy of York does indeed repay careful attention: not only an object lesson in the confusion created by the Expulsion of 1290, this episode reveals how Jewish moneylending could so readily promote peculation and collusion in high clerical places. It was at Paris on his return from a visit to the Papal Curia in 1292 that Archbishop Romeyn encountered the exiled Bonamy, then in the protec? tion of King Philip the Fair of France. When Bonamy informed him that the canons of Bridlington had never settled an outstanding debt to him of ?300 (originally repayable in the summer of 1292), the Archbishop offered his assistance in collecting the sum. Despite Romeyn's later denials, there can be no serious doubt that he entered into a secret agreement or con ventio with Bonamy which probably took the form of buying up the outstanding debt at a substantial dis? count. On his return to England, the Archbishop raised the issue at his next visitation of Bridlington Priory: in the chapter-house there he instructed the Augustinian canons, 'ad salvationem animarum suarum', to deliver the ?300 to one of his attendants, allegedly acting as Bonamy's attorney. It was at this point that the Prior of Bridlington, who should of course have revealed the debt to the Crown at the time of the Expulsion three years earlier, took understandable fright; and in the spring of 1293 he at last confessed the existence of the loan to King and Council in Parlia? ment. Subsequent investigation revealed that Arch? bishop Romeyn had indeed acquired Bonamy's bond for the debt, a bond which was now said to be in the custody of the Abbot of St. Mary's and Prior of St. Andrews, both religious houses at York. At the Michaelmas Parliament of 1293 Romeyn appeared to answer what was in fact an unanswerable charge? that he had concealed a Jewish debt from the King despite the 'solemn proclamation' of 1290 which made it illegal to do so. After some vain efforts at denial, the Archbishop finally admitted the offence and was adjudged to be in the King's mercy.95 Inevitably enough, the canons of Bridlington themselves were obliged to repay their debt of ?300 neither to the Archbishop nor to Bonamy of York but to the Crown: surviving royal receipt rolls show not only that Romeyn had never received the capital sum but also that the Prior of Bridlington finally satisfied the Exchequer by twice-yearly payments of 50 marks during the ensuing years.96 The precise nature of Archbishop Romeyn's penalty is unknown; but, in the words ofjames Raine the younger, 'his conduct, to say the least, was suspicious in the extreme; and most people will be inclined to think that it was highly reprehensible'.97 Reprehensible no doubt; but that the last recorded attempt to collect a substantial debt on behalf of a medieval English Jew should have been made by an Archbishop of York has its symbolic as well as its dramatic quality to impart. Nor of course is the earlier life of Bonamy of York lacking in general significance and interest. Much the most important Jewish property-holder in York at the time of the Expulsion, Bonamy probably deserves his reputation as the last of the many great financiers in the history of the medieval English Jewry. Admittedly the detailed implications of his often mysterious career must await further elucidation from as yet unpub? lished Jewish plea rolls. It is, for example, still ex? tremely uncertain whether he can be identified with the Bonamy of York who appeared as the son as well as attorney of a prominent York Jew, Josce of Canter? bury or Kent, as early as 1253.98 From 1268 onwards, however, Bonamy rapidly became the most finan? cially active of all the York Jews: he was now often known as 'Bonami le Gendre', Bonamy the son-in law of Josce le Jovene, many of whose business inter? ests he seems to have inherited after the latter's death by hanging in 1279. But it was in the early and mid-1270s that Bonamy's moneylending transactions seem to have been at their peak: during those years his wide-ranging credit network, although on a some? what smaller scale, is remarkably reminiscent of Aaron of York's great business empire a generation earlier. Like Aaron, Bonamy of York had a house in Milk Street, London, and was closely associated with the financial operations of the central Government: in the spring of 1275 it was reported that 'Bonamy is daily before the Council and the Barons of the Ex? chequer'.99 One of the three leading contributors to the tallage of 5,000 marks imposed on the English Jewry in 1272, it remains uncertain how far Bonamy was able to preserve his fortune during the persecu? tions of the following years. Imprisoned on at least one occasion, many of his unredeemed debts undoubtedly did pass to the Crown in the wake of the Statutes of Jewry in 1271 and 1275. On the other hand, royal favour certainly insulated him from the severer effects of governmental proceedings against the Jews. In January 1278, for example, he received the protection of a royal writ licensing him to engage in commerce according to the provisions of the statutum de Judeismo of three years earlier.100 Bonamy, probably alone among York Jews, did in fact play at least some part in the English wool trade; and it was almost certainly because of his continued financial services to Edward I's Government in the 1280s that he and his family</page><page sequence="13">46 Professor R. B. Dobson were granted the rare privilege of a personal safe conduct out of the kingdom in the summer of 1290.101 From York, where he and his relatives had been living on the eve of the Expulsion, Bonamy moved?as has been seen?to Paris. There he became the most famous example of an exiled English Jew in favour at the Court of Philip the Fair. In return for an annual payment to the French King of 100 livres (a sum still being paid by him as late as 1298), Bonamy of York apparently enjoyed a modicum of prosperous security?proving that in France, if no longer in Eng? land, 'wealth could still persuade the king to overcome his sense of antipathy'.102 Does the troubled but not unsuccessful career of Bonamy of York point a general moral? Obviously no attempt can be made here to enter into the long, still unresolved, and perhaps ultimately sterile debate on the reasons for the expulsion of all the Jews from England in 1290. In York at least, the evidence already adduced in this paper leaves little doubt that by the 1280s the economic, social, and political conditions requisite for the survival of a substantial Jewish com? munity had gone for ever. Many years had certainly elapsed since record survives of any vigorous intellec? tual or cultural activity on the part ofthat community. On the other hand, the fact that Bonamy of York and a few other English Jews preserved a comparatively high degree of wealth and status to the very end serves as a salutary reminder that there was no a priori reason why a small group of Jewish financial experts could not have remained in England to the Crown's advan? tage for many years to come. As late as the spring of 1290, and despite the precedent set by the expulsion of all the Jews from the Duchy of Gascony in the pre? vious year, there is no evidence to suggest that the complete extermination of the English Jewry was either inevitable or indeed predictable. The radical solution adopted in 1290 was undoubtedly?as it is now rightly obligatory to stress?the King's own personal responsibility, 'a piece of independent royal action'.103 Of the many and varied influences on Edward I's decision, Mr. Richardson has drawn espe? cial attention to the possibility that the King was driven to the confiscation of Jewish wealth only when he realised that it was no longer possible to exploit it by the traditional method of taxation: 'Edward's con? science had been stirred by his financial necessities.' However, even that particularly influential interpre? tation remains less than completely established. Not only did the tallage imposed in 1287 produce the substantial sum of over ?4,000 but in the following years the Government was still trying to raise the proceeds of a ?12,000 fine on the English Jewry as a whole.104 Nor is it at all certain that the secret instruc tions issued to the sheriffs on 18 June 1290 ordering them to seal the Jewish archae ten days later provide absolute proof that 'the decision to expel the Jews from England . . . must have been taken by the begin? ning of June'. Royal letters close to the Justices of the Jews on 9 July 1290 make it seem quite as likely that the archae had been sealed in preparation for yet one further bout of Jewish taxation.105 Only when Parlia? ment itself met at Westminster on 15 July can one at last be certain that Edward I knew his own mind: three days later royal writs were dispatched to the county sheriffs informing them that a day (1 November) had been assigned for the exodus of 'all the Jews of our kingdom', now condemned to 'a perpetual exile and without hope of remaining'.106 In the autumn of 1290 thejews of medieval England were accordingly to leave the kingdom, as they had long lived there, under the vigilant eye of the royal administration. Despite fears in some quarters that the departure of the English Jewry might only serve to increase the burden of taxation laid upon the King's Christian subjects, there can be little doubt that the Expulsion provided Edward I with the popular appro? val he must have hoped for. To judge from contem? porary chroniclers, the exodus of the English Jews created remarkably little stir and even less positive disorder.107 In Yorkshire as elsewhere, the English Government did its considerable best to minimise the risks of scandalous atrocities. As early as 26 July, the day before Edward I ordered the men of the Cinque Ports to provide safe passage for all departing Jews, the Mayor and Bailiffs of York were instructed to protect the persons of Bonamy, his family, and his household. A few days later, on 6 August at his castle at Cawood, Archbishop Romeyn took the additional precaution of commanding the Official of his see to warn the Christian inhabitants of his diocese not to molest the Jews as they journeyed south. By the end of the month, when Bonamy and his son Josce were issued with personal safe-conducts across the Channel, it seems very probable that the York Jewry had already ceased to exist.108 As in other English towns, the Crown was to find the ejection of thejews a simpler and more rapid process than the liquidation of their assets. It is nevertheless a final tribute to the efficiency of a now expiring administrative system that the Sheriff of Yorkshire responded so promptly and carefully to the final act in the exploitation of the medieval English Jews. On 4 October 1290, a month before the date assigned for the final departure of all Jews from England, he was instructed to have the York archae dispatched to Westminster and at the same time to produce a detailed report and valuation of all Jewish</page><page sequence="14">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 47 houses and tenements in the city. Within a few weeks there appeared before the barons of the Exchequer not only the two York archae, 'sealed with the seals of various knights of the county', but Peter de Appleby, John de Warthill, John le Espicer, and Thomas de Benningworth, goldsmith, the last in the long sequence of substantial York citizens who had been chirographers of their city's Jewry.109 Unfortunate? ly?as at London, Stamford, Ipswich, Colchester, and Bedford?no report on the bonds contained in those York chests has survived. To judge from the ex? tremely small sums received by the Exchequer from outstanding Jewish debts in Yorkshire between 1290 and 1295, the latter are unlikely to have been at all easy to collect. In the Michaelmas term of 1293, for exam? ple, the roll of receipts de Judaismo records an income of only ?3 13s. 4d. 'de dehitis de Iudeis' in Yorkshire, confirming?as one would expect?that the former great capital resources of the York Jewry had not survived its extinction.110 What did survive were the houses and tenements once held by the Jews in York itself. Of these, moreover, a detailed description does survive in a variety of slightly different versions, all ultimately based upon the Sheriffs return of an inquest made by 12 prominent York residents in mid-October 1290.111 By Christmas 1290, when Edward I author? ised Hugh de Kendal to begin the selling and leasing of Jewish property throughout his kingdom, the Ex? chequer had already accepted the valuations placed on thejewish tenements by the York jurors. Nor did it take unduly long for Hugh de Kendal to dispose of the houses once lived in by Bonamy, Josce of Kent, and their many colleagues. Most of the York properties were sold off, appropriately enough, on 3 April 1291, when Edward I himself was visiting the northern city on his journey towards Scotland and the hearing of the 'Great Cause' at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Unlike most aspects of the history of the Jews of York, the fate of their surviving property can accordingly be presented in tabular form.112 The Disposal ofJi Location and holder of property in October, 1290 1. a messuage in Coney Street (Bonamy of York) 2. a messuage in Coney Street (Cok fil' Aaron: cellars leased to Lawrence de Bootham) 3. a tenement in Coney Street (Josce fil* Benecti and Sarah his mother: leased to Agnes de Graa for 10 years) 4. a tenement in Coney Street (Bonamy of York, once of Josce de Kent: Josce fil' Bonamy living there 1290) 5. a messuage in Micklegate (Bonamy of York: Benectus fil' Bonamy living there in 1290) 6. a messuage in Micklegate (Mosse fil' Bonefey) 7. a rent from the house of John Basy in Feltergayle (Bonamy of York) 8. Le Jewbury, with a house and 8 selions of land (the Jewish communities of York and Lincoln) Tenements in York, 1290-1291 Christian purchaser, price Gross annual (where known) and date of value grant ?2 13s. 4d William Vavassor of Hazlewood (?40: 3 April 1291) ?2 0s. Od. William, first Baron Latimer (?26 13s. 4d.; 3 April 1291) ?3 6s. 8d. Master Robert de Graa, son of Ivo de Graa (22 June 1291) ?3 5s. 4d. Robert Ughtred of Scarborough (?53 6s. 8d.; 3 April 1291) ?1 14s. 4d. Henry de Donesford (22 April 1291) ?2 0s. Od. William de Carleton, citizen of York (3 April 1291) 4s. Od. Henry de Donesford (and lib. (22 April 1291) of pepper) ?1 0s. Od. Robert and Alice de Newland of York (3 April 1291)</page><page sequence="15">48 Professor R. B. Dobson Although on an infinitely smaller scale, the disposal of thejews' houses in 1290-1291 raises issues almost as interesting as Henry VIII's liquidation of monastic wealth after the dissolution of the English religious houses 250 years later. It is therefore all the more surprising that the Edwardian sale of Jewish property has never received the detailed attention it would undoubtedly repay. At York itself the number of houses still in Jewish hands at the time of the Expulsion was admittedly less than in most other English towns where a Jewish community survived to the end;113 and in the absence of comparative studies it would certainly be dangerous to assume that what happened in the northern city was typical of the rest of the country. Neither at York nor elsewhere, however, is there much room for the traditional view that 'a considerable proportion was given away to the king's favourites'.114 On the contrary, Hugh de Kendal was clearly expected to raise the best possible price on escheated Jewish property. At London, for example, he spent over ?26 in repairing dilapidated Jews' houses in order to attract a substantial purchasing price; and in the case of the three York messuages where that price is known, the Christian buyer was prepared to pay a capital sum fourteen or fifteen times the estimated annual income.115 Nor, except at Bris? tol, does Hugh de Kendal appear to have experienced any difficulty in finding a market for Jewish houses among a wide range of social groups. The most valu? able of the York tenements went to members of the Yorkshire knightly class (William Vavassor of Hazle wood; William, Lord Latimer; Robert Ughtred of Scarborough) who must have been personally well known to the King himself; while the lesser prizes passed to some comparatively obscure as well as to one very prominent civic family (the Graas).116 Although so few in number, the properties purchased by these men certainly included some highly desirable houses indeed. In particular, the sums paid for the messuages and tenements of Bonamy of York himself suggest that these may still have been 'large houses like royal palaces' of the sort which had caught the attention of the chronicler William Newburgh a century earlier. In Hugh de Kendal's, admittedly not absolutely final, account of ?1,150 13s. 4d. received from the sale of Jewish houses, rents, and tenements throughout the kingdom, only the London properties (?856 6s. 8d.) contributed more to the grand total than those of York (?243 13s. 4d.). By a final irony, the last major contribution of the Jews of York to the insatiable appetites of the English monarchy was at least partly consumed in glazing new windows at Westminster Abbey and in meeting the expenses there of 'Magistri Willelmi Tarel factori imaginis Regis Henrici' ,117 For nearly 700 years the tomb of Henry III?with that of Queen Eleanor of Castile the first full-size bronze effigy ever cast in England?has stood as an abiding memorial to the way in which Henry's son exploited his Jewish subjects after as well as before their ultimate departure from his kingdom. At York itself tangible memorials to a once formid? able Jewish community must soon have been hard enough to find. A couple of Jewish place-names in the city (Jewbury and Jubbergate or Joubretegate) were to survive the many centuries ahead; and the site of the Jewish cemetery outside the north-eastern walls of the city was no doubt the object of much nostalgic specu? lation before the building of Orchard and Little Orchard Street (now themselves demolished) covered part of the area with housing in the middle of the nineteenth century.118 York must also have been one of those English towns where 'stone houses remained to recall their former owners' legendary skill as builders': as late as 1438 an alderman and late Mayor of York, Thomas Gare, bequeathed a tenement called the 'Hyjudee' in Coney Street to one of his relations.119 But the place of the York Jew in the popular imagina? tion can only be a matter for speculation; in so far as the late medieval Christian inhabitants of York thought of Jews at all, they were as likely to be influenced by the legends, myths, and propaganda of their own period as by half-forgotten and inaccurate memories of the time when real Jews had walked through the streets of their own city. If the occasional Jew did visit York during the centuries after the Expulsion, he can presumably only have done so in a literally 'wandering' capacity. Most intriguing of all perhaps was an incident in December 1318 when Edward II, then at York himself, licensed Sir Roger de Stanegrave, a Knight Hospitaller, to begin raising the ransom for his release from long captivity in the Holy Land: Sir Roger was to return to his native Yorkshire 'accompanied by Isaac, to whom he had been demised for a certain sum and who was to remain in his train (comitiva) until satisfied for that sum.'120 Whether or not the mysterious Isaac ever did enter the city, it would seem unfair to end this account of the Jews of York with a unique episode perhaps more reminiscent of Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe than of the harsher reali? ties of Jewish urban life in the thirteenth century. A few Jews did of course return to York in more recent and more happy times. But even the York Hebrew Congregation of approximately twenty families founded in 1892 came to experience?like its prede? cessor 700 years earlier?the intractable problems of economic and numerical decline. When the 80-year old Jewish synagogue in Aldwark finally closed its doors as recently as 1975, its President explained that</page><page sequence="16">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 49 'our young people go to universities or colleges in other towns and don't come back to York'.121 As in 1290, the history of thejews of York?who knows for how long??has once again come to a temporary close.122 NOTES 1 C. Roth, A History of the Jews in England (3rd edn., Oxford, 1964), p.v; cf Trans JHSE, XXIII (1971), 106. 2 R. B. Dobson, The Jews of York and the Massacre of March 1190 (Borthwick Papers, York, No. 45, 1974). 3 C. Roth, The Jews of Medieval Oxford (Oxford Histori? cal Society, new ser., ix, 1951), p.iii. 4 C. Roth, 'Why Anglo-Jewish History?', Trans.JHSE, XXII (1970), 22. 5 To the four volumes of the published Calendars of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews (1905, 1910, 1929, 1972) may be added Sarah Cohen, 'Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of thejews (Michaelmas Term 1277-Hilary Term 1279), pre? served in the Public Record Office' (University of London, Ph.D. thesis 1951). 6 H. Jenkinson, 'Medieval Sources for Anglo-Jewish His? tory: The Problem of Publication', Trans.JHSE XVIII (1955), 285-293, provides a most useful if not absolutely definitive list of Jewish Rolls of Receipt. Entries relating to Jews in thirteenth-century Pipe and Chancellor's Rolls are still largely terra incognita; but see Z. Entin Rokeah, 'Some Accounts of Condemned Jews' Properties in the Pipe and Chancellor's Rolls', Bulletin of the Institute of Jewish Studies, i (1973), 19-42; ii (1974), 59-82; iii (1975), 41-66. 7 Roth, History of the Jews, p.24. 8 Chronica Monasterii de Melsa (Rolls Series, 43, 1866-1868), i, 251-252; Pipe Roll 7 Richard I (Pipe Roll Society, 1929), pp.86, 92, 93; cf. Dobson, Jews of Medieval York, p.39. 9 Curia Regis Rolls, i, 389-91, 424; cf. H. G. Richardson, The English Jewry under Angevin Kings (London, 1960), p. 145. In his interesting discussion of this important case, Richard? son omits to mention that the bonds in question derived from the moneylending activities of Benedict and Josce of York before the 1190 massacre: see Pipe Roll 3 John, p. 160; J.Jacobs, The Jews of Angevin England: Documents and Records (London, 1893), pp.211-212. 10 Richardson, English Jewry, pp. 266-267; Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, pp.227-228. 11 See the lists (not absolutely identical) of archae to be inspected by royal commissioners appointed in 1273, 1275, 1276, and 1279 [C.P.R., 1272-81, pp.6, 126-127; C.Cl.R., 1272-79; p.263; C.Cl.R., 1279-88, p.41). However, as Richardson has already pointed out, 'in the last fifteen years of the English Jewry the existence of an archa does not necessarily connote the continued existence of a Jewish com? munity': Richardson, English Jewry, p. 18. 12 H. M. Chew, 'A Jewish Aid to Marry, A.D. 1221', Trans.JHSE, XI (1928), 106-109; York Minster Library, Vicars Choral Deeds, No. 22; York Minster Library, Vicars Choral Cartulary, fo.25, and cf. fo.15; C.Cl.R., 1264-68, pp.480-481. It seems probable, although not certain, that Isaac of Northampton was the 'Isaac Judeus' whose York house was valued at four marks per annum in 1276, several years after his death: Rotuli Hundredorum (Record Commis? sion, 1812-1818), i, 119. 13 PRO, E.101 (Accounts Various), 249/12, incorrectly dated to 1219 by H. P. Stokes, Studies in Anglo-Jewish History (Edinburgh, 1913), p.250; cf. Richardson, English Jewry, p.214, n.5; Excerpta e Rotulis Finium (Record Commission, 1835-1836), i.412; T. Madox, The History and Antiquities of the Exchequer (London, 1769), i.225; Memoranda Roll 1230-31 (Pipe Roll Society, 1933), p.49. 14 R. Davies, 'The Mediaeval Jews of York,' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, iii (1875), 179; M. Adler, 'Aaron of York,' reprinted from Trans JHSE, XIII (1936), 113-155, in his Jews of Medieval England, pp. 127-173; and cf. Chew, 'A Jewish Aid,' pp.106-109; V. D. Lipman, The Jews of Medieval Norwich (London, 1967), p.224; Dobson, Jews of Medieval York, pp.43-44. In view of this evidence, not too much significance need to be accorded to Matthew Paris's com? ment that Aaron was 'de Eboraco oriundus': Matthaei Parisiensis Chronica Majora (Rolls Series, 57, 1872-1883), v, 136. 15 See, e.g., Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 116, 181, 186, 224, 270; II, 140, 189; IV, 30, 39, 79-80; Adler, Jews of Medieval England, pp.143, 163-164. 16 Richardson, English Jewry, p.214, n.5; but cf. Excerpta e Rotulis Finium, i, 412. Lists of Jewish tallages imposed by Henry III are printed by Roth, History of the Jews, p.273, and P. Elman, 'The Economic Causes of the Expulsion of the Jews in 1290,' Economic History Review, 1st series, vii (1937), 153-154; but these still await detailed correlation with the original tallage accounts in PRO, E.101/249 and E.401 passim. 17 C.P.R., 1247-58, pp.441-444; Adler Jews of Medieval England, p. 159. 18 C.P.R., 1247-58, pp.439, 441-444; cf. Lipman Jews of Medieval Norwich, p.5, n.3. 19 PRO, E.101/249/16; E.401/1572. 20 C.Cl.R., 1251-53, pp.312-313; Madox, History of the Exchequer, i, 249; Roth, History of the Jews, pp.58-59; Richardson, English Jewry, pp.177, 191, 194. 21 PRO, J.I.1/1109 (Assize Roll), memb. 34v. 22 C.P.R., 1258-66, p.679; C.P.R., 1266-72, pp.170-171. 23 C.P.R., 1266-72, p.255; cf. Roth, History of the Jews, pp.79-80. 24 D'Bloissiers Tovey, Anglia Judaica (Oxford, 1738), p.102; C.Cl.R., 1231-34, p.466; Rotulorum Originalium Abbrevatio (Record Commission, 1805-1810), I, 17; C.Cl.R., 1259-61, p.381. 25 E.g., Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, II, 88, 203; III, 4; iv, 14,17; Abstracts of the charters and other documents contained in the chartulary of the Cistercian Abbey of Fountains, ed. W. T. Lancaster (Leeds, 1915), i, 234; F. Hockey, Beaulieu: King John's Abbey (Beaulieu, 1976), p.74; C.Cl.R., 1268-72, pp.499, 518-519. 26 R. Chazan, 'Jewish Settlement in Northern France, 1096-1306', Revue des EtudesJuives, cxxviii (1969), pp.41-65; R. Chazan, Medieval Jewry in Northern France (Baltimore, 1973), pp. 207-208; cf. Richardson, English Jewry, pp. 13-14. 27 I. A. Agus, Urban Civilization in Pre-Crusade Europe (Leiden, 1965), i, 99; I. Epstein, The Responsa of Rabbi Simeon ben Zemah Duran as a source of the history of the Jews in North Africa (London, Jews' College publications 13, 1930), p.4. I owe my knowledge of this example to the generosity of Professor Joseph Shatzmiller, of the University of Toronto: see also H. Gross, Gallia Judaica (Paris, 1899), p.338. 28 Select Pleas, Starrs and Other Records from the Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, 1220-1284, ed. J. M. Rigg (Seiden Society, xv, 1901), pp.120, 127; cf. L. Hyman, The Jews of Ireland (Shannon, Ireland, 1972), pp.3-4. 29 Rigg, Select Pleas, p.128; Cal Jewish Plea Rolls, III, 4, 138, 156, 262, 277; the place-name of Colton is discussed in Starrs and Jewish Charters preserved in the British Museum, ed. Abrahams, Stokes, and Loewe (Cambridge, 1930-1932), ii, p.202.</page><page sequence="17">50 Professor R. B. Dobson 30 J. Parkes, A History of the Jewish People (London, 1964), p.93. Jews settled on and east of the Rhine were also heavily concentrated in the major German towns until a compara? tively late date in the Middle Ages: see G. Kisch, The Jews in Medieval Germany: a study of their legal and social status (2nd edn., New York, 1970), pp.288-293. 31 V. D. Lipman, 'The Anatomy of Medieval Anglo Jewry,' TransJHSE, XXI (1968), pp.66-67, 76-77. Here again any argument to the contrary would have to be based on the occasional and highly problematic appearance in the records of Jews with names like Samuel and Nehemiah of Grimsby: E. Gillett, A History of Grimshy (Oxford, 1970), p.17. 32 See the list of 16 towns which sent money er s to an assembly at Westminster in the summer of 1248: F. M. Powicke, King Henry 111 and the Lord Edward (Oxford, 1947), p.320. Cf. G. C. Brooke, English Coins (3rd edn., London, 1950), pp.113-115. 33 E. J. E. Pirie, Coins in Yorkshire Collections (Sylloge of the Coins of the British Isles, 21, 1975), p.l. I am grateful to Dr. V. D. Lipman and to Professor Michael Dolley (who suggests that some Biblical names on English medieval coins may have Welsh rather than Jewish associations) for their advice and their scepticism on this complex issue. 34 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 192. See E. Brunskill, 'The Jews in Medieval York', Trans.JHSE, XX (1964), 241, for the case of a widow whose lands and rents in the city were mortgaged to Jews of York for 4? marks. 35 S. Reynolds, An Introduction to the History of English Medieval towns (Oxford, 1977), p.74. 36 PRO, E.101/249/27, No. 4; Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 129, 161, 303; II, 2, 30, 155, 165, 185; York Minster Library, Vicars Choral Deeds, No. 22. See also J. T. Fowler, 'On certain Starrs or Jewish documents, partly relating to North allerton', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, iii (1875), 60, for the names of three Christian clerks of the York chests as well as two custodes archae. 37 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 303; II, 2, 30, 62, 89, 103, 156, 173; cf. C.P.R., 1272-81, p.67. 38 C.P.R., 1272-81, pp.334, 462, 464; Rot. Hund., i, 125; Cal. Inq. post Mortem, iii (1291-1300), pp.16-17; cf. V. C. H. Yorkshire, City of York (1961), pp.45-6. 39 B. L. Abrahams, The Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 (Oxford, 1895), p.17. In fact, the most famous, if unique, example of amicable co-operation between Jew and Gentile is provided by Benedict fil' Abraham's admission to the citizenship and guild merchant of Winchester in 1268: C.P.R., 1266-72, p.223; M. Adler, 'Benedict the Gildsman of Winchester', Misc.JHSE, IV (1942), 1-8. In addition to his extensive properties in Winchester, Benedict fil* Abraham at one time held a messuage in Coney Street, York (C.P.R., 1266-72, p.226). 40 Grimsby Borough Archives, Petition of Citizens of Lincoln; Historical Manuscripts Commission, 14th Report, Appendix viii (1895), p.263. 41 Pipe Roll 3 Henry III (Pipe Roll Society, 1976), p.189; cf. PRO, E.401/3b. P. D. A. Harvey, 'The English Inflation of 1180-1220,' Past and Present, 61 (1973), 24-25, would tempt one to develop the argument that general inflationary ten? dencies must 'have brought the money-lenders some extra business'. 42 C.Lib.R., 1245-51, p.274; C.P.R., 1266-72, p.446; Madox, History of the Exchequer, i, 242; cf. C.Cl.R., 1268-72, p.244; C.Cl.R., 1279-88, p.39. 43 C.Cl.R., 1264-68, pp.350-351, 479; 1272-79, pp.386, 473; 1279-88, pp.18, 39-40. 44 Perhaps the most interesting example of a magnate's indebtedness to a York Jew is Leo's loan to William de Forz made at an early date (1226) in the century: Rot. Lit. Claus. (Record Commission, 1833-34), ii, 96. Also see note 110 below. 45 Documents of the Baronial Reform and Rebellion, 1258-67, ed. R. F. Treharneand I.J. Sanders (Oxford, 1973), pp.86-87; P. R, Coss, 'Sir Geoffrey de Langley and the Crisis of the Knightly Class in thirteenth-century England,' Past and Present, 68 (1975), 29-34. Valuable, but by no means compre? hensive, notes on the Yorkshire families mentioned in this and later paragraphs may be found in Early Yorkshire Fami? lies, ed. C. Clay (Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Record Series, cxxxv, 1973); and The Parliamentary Representation of the County of York, 1258-1832, i, ed. A. Gooder (ibid, xci, 1935). For an interesting new insight into the way 'the position of lesser landholders as holders of parochial patronage had diminished fundamentally during the course of the thirteenth century', seej. E. Newman, 'Greater and lesser landowners and parochial patronage: Yorkshire in the thirteenth century,' Eng. Hist. Rev., xcii (1977), 280-308. 46 Yorkshire Deeds, ii, ed. W. Brown (Yorkshire Archaeo? logical Society, Record Series, 1, 1914), p.119; C.P.R., 1266-72, p.694; 1272-81, pp.9-10; Rot. Hund., i, 119. 47 Chronica Monasterii de Melsa, ii, 12, 55,109,115, 116; cf. Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 161, 173. 48 CLib.R., 1240-45, p.204; Richardson, English Jewry, pp.83-108, 281-284. 49 R. Davies, 'The Mediaeval Jews of York,' p.179; Car tuarium abbathiae de Rievalle (Surtees Society, lxxxiii, 1889), pp.200-204; Muniments of Dean and Chapter of Durham, 1.1. Ebor., No. 15; cf. E. Birnbaum, 'Starrs of Aaron of York in the Dean and Chapter Muniments of Durham', Trans.JHSE, XIX (1960), pp. 199-205. 50 Hebrew Deeds of English Jews before 1290, ed. M. D. Davis (London, 1888), p.303; Select Pleas, ed. Rigg, pp.38-9; Rotuli Parliamentorum, i, 99-100, 120; see further my refer? ences to Archbishop Romeyn and Bonamy to be found nn. 94 and 95 below. 51 The Sheriff of Yorkshire reported that his bailiffs nearly lost their lives in the course of this especially revealing and complex dispute. (Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, 1,173; summar? ised in Richardson, English Jewry, p. 105). 52 Richardson, English Jewry, pp. 106-107. It should per? haps be emphasised that the 1275 Statute of Jewry denounced usury on the specific grounds that it had caused the 'disinher? iting of good men of his land': Statutes of the Realm (London, 1810-1828), i, 221; English Historical Documents, 1189-1327, ed. H. Roth well (London, 1975), p.411. 53 R. W. Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown: The Riccardi of Lucca and Edward I (Princeton, 1973), pp.4-47, 75-131; M. Prestwich, War, Politics and finance under Edward I (London, 1972), pp. 205-213; T. H. Lloyd, The English Wool Trade in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1977), pp.60-98. 54 C.P.R., 1232-47, pp.445, 480; CLib.R., 1240-45, p.209; 1245-51, p.90. 55 To the references in Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown, p.17, add C.P.R., 1272-81, p.215. 56 Register of Walter Giffard, 1266-79 (Surtees Society, cix, 1904), pp.108, 110, 115, 128, 132; V. C. H, Yorkshire, iii (1913), p.28; Rot. Hund., i, 105, 106; R. J. Whitwell, 'English monasteries and the wool trade in the thirteenth century', Vierteljahr schriftf?r Sozial- und Wirtschaftgeschichte, ii (1904), pp. 1-33. 57 C.Cl.R., 1272-79, pp. 444-445; C.P.R., 1272-81, pp.97-98, 151, 259-260; Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown, p.28. 58 Richardson, English Jewry, p. 108; but cf. Kaeuper, Bankers to the Crown, pp.31-34, especially for details of Italian</page><page sequence="18">The Decline and Expulsion of the Medieval Jews of York 51 loans to members of the English nobility and episcopal bench, who were rarely in debt to thejews by the reign of Edward I. 59 Dobson, Jews of Medieval York, pp.8-9. 60 Historians of the Church of York (Rolls Series, 1879-1894), iii, 187; Foedera (Record Commission, 1816), i, pt. ii, p.539. 61 N. Denholm-Young, Seignorial Administration in England (Oxford, 1937), pp.62, 77-85. For the lending of money by royal clerks to knights and religious houses in the reign of Edward III, see R. B. Pugh, 'Some Mediaeval Moneylenders', Speculum, xliii (1968), pp. 274-289. 62 C.Cl.R., 1279-88, pp.16, 49; V.C.H., City of York, pp.45-46. 63 Kirkby's Inquest (Surtees Society, xlix, 1867), p.65; Parliamentary Representation of the County of York, i, 26-28. 64 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, 1,194-195; Durham Account Rolls (Surtees Society, 1898-1901) ii, 491; I. Kershaw, Bolton Priory: the economy of a northern monastery, 1286-1325 (Oxford, 1973), pp.139, 174-178, 191-192; R. B. Dobson, 'The Later Middle Ages, 1215-1500,' in G. E. Aylmer and R. Cant, eds., A History of York Minster (Oxford, 1977), pp.59-62. 65 Register of John leRomeyn (Surtees Society, 1913-1917), ii, pp.xix-xxi; W. H. Dixon and J. Raine, Fasti Eboracenses (London, 1863), pp.330,345; Adler, Jews of Medieval England, pp. 304-305; C.P.R., 1281-92, pp.24, 38, 68, 270, 301, 358; Tovey, Anglia Judaica, p.221. 66 Foedera, i, pt. ii, pp.518, 523, 598. 67 P.R.O., E. 401/1567-1571; cf. Richardson, English Jewry, pp.214-216. 68 M. H. Mills, 'Exchequer Agenda and Estimate of Revenue, Easter Term 1284', Eng. Hist. Rev., xl (1925), 233, cf. PRO, E.401/1574, 1586-1588. 69 PRO, E.401/1572. 70 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, II, 20; IV, 46, 79-80. 71 C.Ch.R., 1257-1300, p.222; cf. C.Cl.R., 1279-88, pp.18, 28,39-40; Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 84; II, 4, 20,60, 207; Madox, History of the Exchequer, i, 242; Yorkshire Deeds, ii, 79. 72 C.Cl.R., 1279-88, p.28. 73 M. Adler, 'History of the Domus Conversorum from 1290 to 1891', Trans.JHSE, IV (1903), 53-54; Jews of Medie? val England, pp.350-352. 74 C.Cl.R., 1264-68, pp.338, 350-351; Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, II, 156. As early as 1215, it was well known that poor Jews in particular would try to leave the country at the time of a tallage; Rot. Lit. Claus., i, 186. 75 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, U, 155. 76 Ibid., III, 277-278. 77 Ibid., IV, 16-17. 78 PRO, E.101/249/24, printed by Adler in Trans.JHSE, IV (1903), 59-63. That these figures (1,179 in 1280; 1,154 in 1281; 1,135 in 1282, 1,151 in 1283) represent a genuine effort to enumerate all adult Jews liable .to the tax is of course open to question; but it should be noted that the collectors of the Jewish chevage were themselves brothers of the Domus Conversorum, who had an obvious vested interest in raising as much money from this source as was legally possible. The general accuracy of these figures is moreover indirectly con? firmed by the collectors' own account of the 895 Jews and Jewesses (exclusive of those from London and Canterbury) who paid chevage in 1280 (Rigg, Select Pleas, p. 113). For the most helpful recent discussion of the problems, see Lipman, Jews of Medieval Norwich, p.37. 79 To the evidence collected in V.C.H., City of York, p.48, n.64, and Dobson, Jews of Medieval York, p.44, add Rot. Orig. Abbrev., i, 30, and John Rylands Library, Manchester, Latin MS. 220, f.l06v (land held by Syerith Salaman 'in vico sancti Andree in marisco'). I owe this last reference to the generosity of Dr. David Palliser. 80 Pipe Roll 3 Henry III, p.186; cf. Cart, de Rievalle, p.298. 81 In April 1272, on the explicit grounds that it was not the King's intention that Christians should be ejected from their leases before the expiry of their full terms, Robert de Appleby, a citizen of York, was allowed to remain in posses? sion of a Coney Street house for three further years (C.P.R., 1266-72, p.644). The text of the 1271 provisions is printed in full by Rigg, Select Pleas, pp.l-lv. 82 Cal.Jewish Plea Rolls, II, 155-156. Cf. ibid., 78, 173, 202, 244; C.P.R., 1266-72, p.644; 1272-81, p.380. 83 C.P.R., 1272-81, p.334; T. P. Cooper, York: The Story of its Walls, Bars and Castles (London, 1904), pp. 336-337. For other references to a synagogue at York (in 1274) see Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, II, 103, 165. The synagogues (scholae) of Norwich, Nottingham, and Colchester seem to have sur? vived until the Expulsion (Rot. Orig. Abbrev., i, 75-76). 84 C.Cl.R., 1272-79, p.527; cf. C.Ch.R., 1257-1300, p.232; C.P.R., 1272-81, pp.377, 380, 398, 458, 464; British Library, Cotton MS. Nero D III (St. Leonard's Hospital Cartulary), f.147. Low purchase prices, like the 25 marks paid for a house by Peter de Appleby in 1280, are no doubt a reflection on the state of the property when sold as well as on its interest value. 85 Prestwich, War, Politics and Finance, p.200, citing PRO, E.372/124. 86 Richardson, English Jewry, p.225. 87 Hugh de Kendal's detailed responsibility for the imple? mentation of Edwardian policy towards the Jews would certainly repay further investigation: see, e.g., PRO, E.101/250/1; C.P.R., 1272-81, pp.337, 398, 464; 1281-92, pp.410, 417, 419; C.Cl.R., 1279-88, p.28; 1288-96, p.297. Some other references to his career are collected in Records of the Wardrobe and Household, 1285-1286, ed. B. F. and C. R. Byerly (H.M.S.O., 1977), p.xxii, n.3. 88 Foedera, i, pt. ii, pp.570, 599,634; cf. Roth, History of the Jews, pp.76-80; Councils and Synods, ed. F. M. Powicke and C. R. Cheney (Oxford, 1964), ii, 959, 961, 963, 1044-1045. 89 Powicke, Henry III and Lord Edward, p.517. 90 Rigg, Select Pleas, pp.54-56. 91 C.Cl.R., 1272-79, p.577; cf. Richardson, English Jewry, pp.218-219, 231. 92 Foedera, i, pt. ii, p.576; Tovey, Anglia Judaica, pp.215-216; cf. F.D. Logan, 'Thirteen London Jews and Conversion to Christianity: Problems of Apostasy in the 1280s,' Bull. Institute of Historical Research, xlv (1972), 214-229; and L. M. Goldthorp, 'The Franciscans and Dominicans in Yorkshire,' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, xxxii (1936), 269-291, 365-387. 93 Cal.Jewish Plea Rolls, 1,193-195, 206, 229-230,280; II, 156, 255-6, 297; see A. G. Little, 'Friar Henry of Wodestone and the Jews,' Collectanea Franciscana, ii (1922), 150-157; N. Denholm-Young, Richard of Cornwall (Oxford, 1947), p.149. 94 Register of Archbishop Romeyn (Surtees Society, 1913-1917), i, 22, 201; cf. C.Pap.L., i, 491; Councils and Synods, ii, 1045, n.6. 95 Rotuli Parliamentorum, i, 99-100, 120. For Romeyn's visit to the Papal Curia in 1292 see C.Pap.R, i, 443, 450, 497, 508. 96 PRO, E.401/1603, 1606, 1608. 97 Dixon and Raine, Fasti Eboracenses, p.348. It might be added that the publicity given to Romeyn's secret dealings with Bonamy was no doubt an incidental by-product of the Archbishop's current feud with Bishop Antony Bek, a feud</page><page sequence="19">52 Professor R. B. Dobson which brought Romeyn to imprisonment in the Tower in 1292-1293. 98 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, I, 114-115. According to the sheriffs returns of 1290, one of the tenements then held in Coney Street by Bonamy of York 'aliquandofuit Iocei de Kent' (PRO, E.101/249/30, memb. 4r). But the identification of Bonamicus as the son of Josce of Canterbury made by A. M. Hyamson, A History of the Jews in England (London, 1908), p. 104, seems too confident. 99 Cal. Jewish Plea Rolls, II, 261; cf. ibid., I, 180, 295; II, 103, 128, 155; IV, 37, 80, 110; C.P.R., 1272-81, pp.151, 157, 259-60; Hebrew Deeds of English Jews before 1290, ed. M. D. Davis (London, 1888), p.303. 100 PRO, E.401/1567; C.P.R., 1272-81, p.253; Cal. Jew? ish Plea Rolls, II, 260. 101 Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica, ed. C. Roth (Lon? don, 1937), A.10. 28; C.P.R., 1281-92, pp.379-382. 102 Comptes Royaux, 1285-1314, ed. R. Fawtier (Paris, 1953?1956), i, no. 243; Chazan, Medieval Jewry in Northern France, pp.183-184. 103 Abrahams, Expulsion of the Jews, p.74. 104 Richardson, English Jewry, pp.227-231; PRO, E.401/1594, 1585. Richardson believed it an 'improbable story' that 'thejews throughout England of every age and sex were thrown into prison on Friday 2 May 1287, returning to their homes only after they had undertaken to pay the king ?12,000': Chronicle of Bury St. Edmunds, 1212-1301, ed. A. Gransden (London, 1964), p.89. Whether Richardson's scep? ticism is altogether justified is another matter: see Roth, History of the Jews, p.275, and the important reference (ofJuly 1289) to the 'finis xii mille librorum quern communitasJudaeorum fecit cum rege' in Madox, History and Antiquities of Exchequer, i, 258. 105 Richardson, English Jewry, p.228: but cf. C.Cl.R., 1288-96, p.91. 106 C.Cl.R., 1288-96, pp.95-96; Tovey, Anglia Judaica, p.240; Annales Monastici (Rolls Series, 1864-1869), iv, 326-327. 107 As is well known, the only serious atrocities recorded are those which took place 'in the passage across the seas' after thejews had embarked at London and the Cinque Ports. See C.Cl.R., 1288-96, p.295; Annales Monastici, iv, 327; Roth, History of the Jews, pp.86?87; A. Gransden, Historical Writing in England, c. 550 to c. 1307 (London, 1974), pp.467, 469, 472. 108 Tovey, Anglia Judaica, p.241; C.P.R., 1281-92, pp.379, 382; Register of Archbishop Romeyn, i, 109. 109 PRO, E.101/249/27, Nos. 1 and 4; E.101/249/29. The original royal writ is printed in B. L. Abrahams, 'Condition of thejews of England at the time of their Expulsion in 1290', Trans.JHSE, II (1895), p.85; and cf. ibid, p.105. 110 PRO, E.401/1587; and cf. E.401/1599, 1603, 1606, 1608. How far the Crown was able and prepared to enforce its rights to the repayment (without interest) of all outstand? ing debts from Christians to Jews remains highly uncertain. As late as 1307 John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, seems to have been pardoned his antiquated but considerable debts to Leo of York (?140) and other Jews (?108): C.P.R., 1301-07, pp.496-497. 111 PRO, E.101/249/27, Nos. 4, 5; E.101/249/30, memb. 4. Slightly inaccurate printed summaries of the return are provided by Abrahams, 'Conditions of the Jews,' p.105, and R. Davies, 'The Mediaeval Jews of York,' Yorkshire Archaeo? logical Journal, iii (1875), 192-194. 112 Lists of the grants of all Jewish houses and tenements throughout England are printed in Rot. Orig. Abbrev., i, 73-76; but considerably more informative are the summaries of the original royal letters patent?with dates?transcribed in British Library, Lansdowne MS. 826, fos. 43-59. The table presented here does not incorporate the details of the tempor? ary leasing of Jewish houses in York by the sheriff before final sale (on which see PRO, E. 101/249/30, memb. 4); nor does it include those Jewish houses which were already in Queen Eleanor's possession before 1290 and which were sold by the royal escheator north of the Trent after her death in that year (C.P.R., 1281-92, p.417). 113 E.g., at Canterbury, Lincoln, Oxford, and Norwich (PRO, E.101/249/27, Nos. 46-50, 22-27, 13-15, 37); cf. Abrahams, 'Condition of the Jews,' pp.85-105. But by 1290 only one house is recorded in Jewish possession at Exeter (E.101/249/27, No. 31). 114 Roth, History of the Jews, p.89; cf. Abrahams, Expul? sion of the Jews, p.73. 115 PRO, E.101/250/1: the price paid for individual houses is only recorded in the three cases (William Vavassor, William Latimer, Robert Ughtred) where the purchaser was later in arrears (cf Rot. Orig. Abbrev., i, 71; C.Cl.R., 1288-96, p.368; C. FineR., 1272-1307, p.313). Vavassor, Latimer, and Ughtred may well have bought Jewish houses in York as a speculative investment; in which case the annual return they could have expected on their capital seems to have been broadly similar to that enjoyed by investors in rural estates during the later Middle Ages: see K. B. McFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1973), pp.56-57. 116 William Vavassor and William Latimer both served Edward I on his Welsh campaigns; while Robert Ughtred was Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1299-1300 (Parliamentary Repre? sentation of Yorkshire, pp.22-23). For the Graas and the other York city families who bought Jewish houses, see British Library, Cotton MS. Nero D.III (St. Leonard's Cartulary), fos.76, 101; PRO, E.101/249/27, No. 5; Register of the Freemen of the City of York (Surtees Society, 1897-1899), i, 6; V.C.H., City of York, pp.43, 45-47. 117 PRO, E. 101/250/1. Henry III had himself been apply? ing part of his profits from the English Jewry to the rebuild? ing and decoration of Westminster Abbey since at least 1269: C.P.R., 1266-72, pp.313, 317; cf. H. M. Colvin, The History of the King's Works (London, 1963), i, 134, 136, 481-482. 118 R. Davies, Walks through the City of York (London, 1880), p.40; A. Raine, Mediaeval York: a topographical survey (London, 1955), pp.281-282; Dobson, Jews of Medieval York, pp.46-47. 119 Borthwick Institute, York, Probate Register, ii, fo.100; cf. Roth, History of the Jews, p.89. 120 C.P.R., 1313-17, p.254. I am indebted to Dr. Lionel Butler for the helpful comment that 'although it was quite usual for a prisoner returning from the Levant to be escorted home by a collector in the service of a captor, I know of no other instances of such Jewish agents coming to England'. It seems probable if not certain that Stanegrave had been in Mamluk captivity since the fall of Acre in 1291, only one year after the Expulsion of the Jews from England. 121 Yorkshire Evening Press, Friday 3 October 1975; cf. V.C.H., City of York, p.419; Encyclopaedia Judaica, ed. C. Roth and G. Wigoder (Jerusalem, 1971), Vol. 16, p.850. 122 An earlier version of this paper was read to the Jewish Historical Society of England on 7 July 1976. I am most grateful to Mr. Raphael Loewe, then President of the Society, for his generous assistance on and since that occasion. I am also much indebted to Dr. V. D. Lipman, Mr. J. M. Shaftes ley, and Dr. D.M. Smith for their most helpful comments on points of detail.</page></plain_text>

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