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The Jews of Hackney before 1840

Malcolm Brown

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Jews of Hackney before 1840* MALCOLM BROWN One November day in the late 1820s, Mrs Nathan Mayer Rothschild took up her pen to send a few lines to an acquaintance, an American-born lady of title. 'We are still', she wrote, 'at Stamford Hill. We find this situation more agreeable than in the streets of London. We do not have any of the benefit from our national friend the fog, and I must say that I am unkind enough to do all I can to avoid this boast of Old England.'1 Had the portmanteau word 'smog' been current in Hannah Rothschild's time, that would surely have been the term she would have used. Beneath her wry comment on the weather lies one of the most potent reasons for what is often called 'the flight from the city'. Ever since the Middle Ages, Londoners who could afford to do so have bought, leased or rented accommodation at least some distance from the smoke-ridden and usually overcrowded conditions of their place of work.2 Suburban growth is nothing new. What is new is the interest its study now arouses. Amateur topographers, deep in inscriptions and prolix in anecdote, have given way to cultural geographers, neighbourhood specialists and other exponents of quantitative method.3 Whatever questions may remain as to the relevance of some of their conclusions, historians work with caution in fields not yet explored by these professionals. A booklet privately printed in 1976 is the only specific authority available on the present topic,4 and the cause is not far to seek. Hackney has an abundance of primary sources, but no detailed survey based on them since 1842. The poor-rate books exist in an unbroken series from 1716, and are supplemented by other rate books, mostly continuous, starting from only slightly later dates. The manorial archives are even more copious.5 The material, then, is sufficient to occupy many hands, if not indeed a research team as sizeable as any yet assembled by Professor and Mrs Lawrence Stone.6 For immediate purposes, it is necessary to make a start with the first Jewish household recorded in Hackney after the Resettlement, the family of Isaac Alvares the jeweller, who served as senior warden of the London Mahamad in 1668. Six years later he purchased in the names of his children Deborah (aged five) and Abraham (aged three)7 the copyhold of a modest dwelling in Homerton, then a straggling street of houses surrounded by farmland at some distance from Hackney. The vendor was Sir Edward de Carteret, one of His * Paper delivered to the Society on 20 February 1986. 71</page><page sequence="2"></page><page sequence="3">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 Majesty's Gentlemen Ushers in Ordinary, whose father-in-law, a City alderman, had bought the property earlier in the century. The appurtenances named in the conveyance did not include a washhouse, so although the family were admitted to the premises in 1674, it may not have been until 1676 (when a washhouse was added) that they decided to move in.8 An inventory taken in 1684 shows how plain a life they led when they stayed there.9 The house, two storeys high, was entered by a hall, leading off to a kitchen on one side, and on the other to two rooms, the parlour and the Green Chamber. On a wall in the parlour was a looking glass, and above the fireplace hung one of the few ornaments, a chimneypiece?either a painted cloth or, just possibly, an oil painting on canvas. Next door in the Green Chamber, with its old green hangings, stood a chest of drawers, then a fairly rare item. Upstairs, in the bedchamber with the fourposter, a dozen walnut cane-seated chairs stood against the wall, and above them hung the standard wall hangings of the day, printed calicoes. The contrast between this cottage and the Alvares' town house was very great, but it may be of more interest here to detail some of the expenses incurred at Homerton. Isaac's widow Sarah itemized, among the debts that had come to hand after her husband's death, work done at Homerton by a smith, a bricklayer and a glazier, three sets of rates, and money owed for beer, ale and wine, and for an apothecary. Other debts detail expenses for the children, their clothes, their education and their writing and dancing masters. Whether these two last came to Homerton to give their lessons is uncertain, but it is not unlikely. Hackney was famous for its academies,10 and it would have been easy enough for tutors to call in at private houses on their way to or from London. The Alvares stayed on a few years longer, leasing out the property in 1690 and parting with it in 1698. From then until 1716, when the rate books begin, documentary evidence of Jewish settlement in the area is scarce. Some settlement, however minimal at this time, there would have been.11 At a vestry meeting in 1715 the vicar of Hackney noted in his diary an 'order to make Jews pay the parish fees for their dead', although the absence of the order from the vestry minutes suggests that it was never enforced.12 The wardens of St Katherine Creechurch, as Wilfred Samuel pointed out sixty years ago, recorded the burial of Domingo de Brito at Hackney in 1656, but this was before the first burial ground at Mile End had been obtained, and the interment is likely to have taken place in a private garden.13 A name easily recognizable in the earliest Hackney rate book is that of Jacob Alvares senior, otherwise Alvaro da Fonseca, who in 1716 is marked as 'gon' from a property in Clapton described as 'burned out'. From Clapton, Alvares moved the next year to Mare Street, where Moses Silva and Jacob Cohen had preceded him a Plate i Hackney and its surroundings as shown in Thomas Milne's Land Use Map of London, 1800. 73</page><page sequence="4">Malcolm Brown little while earlier, and his house there was to remain in family possession for almost a century. It may be as well at this point to consider the picture of Hackney in 1715 and 1716 drawn in the diary of Dudley Ryder, eventually to become Lord Chief Justice, but during these years a law student with time on his hands and whose father, a City linen-draper, had a country box in the parish.14 His aunt, the widow of a minister at the celebrated Presbyterian meeting house in Mare Street, lived nearby. Trade and dissent had become the twin pillars of Hackney society, and were long to remain so. From his lodgings behind Holborn, Ryder would set off for Hackney every week, mostly on foot, or if he wanted company, by one of the stage coaches that plied the route. Having paid his respects to his elders, he might accompany a cousin to the bowling green at the Mermaid, or walk out into the fields towards Clapton and beyond, where the rising ground gave a prospect over the river and marshes, or back to the village from which he had set out. Whether the younger Alvares and their friends ever availed themselves of these pleasures we do not know, but some of them probably did. Fishing, of which Francis Franco was to be so fond, was another local pastime.15 But to return to the newcomers. There arrived at Mare Street in 1727 a major personality in the community of his day, Benjamin Mendes da Costa. A few years later he moved into a house in Homerton adjacent to his brother Jacob, who had taken a property close to Stamp Brooksbank, a Bank of England director. Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro had a house nearby. All these men were well known in the City, and it is not surprising to find them regularly elected to parish office, and equally regularly paying the customary fines to avoid it (see Appendix I).16 More unusual is the fact that they put together an appeal to the vestry in 1733 for a reduction in their poor-rate assessments.17 They pointed out, quite reasonably, that others with houses the same size as theirs were rated lower than themselves, and the vestry allowed their appeal. When in 1739 the vestry clerk drew up a list of those he described as 'The Chief Gentlemen at this time residing in the parish', Jewish heads of households numbered eleven, but none were included on the list.iarIt could always be that vestry clerks generally took unkindly to those who claimed rate reductions, but perhaps the names above were simply too insignificant publicly to warrant inclusion. One family, certainly, that would soon become prominent in the neighbour? hood, the Francos, had a small property in Clapton several years before the list of notabilities was drawn up. Jacob Franco, an outstandingly successful gem merchant, whose Fenchurch Street house stood next to that of his brother Abraham, first appears on the Hackney rate books in 1736. In 1744 he bought from the widow of a Huguenot silk merchant a house that had been rebuilt sixty years earlier, for Bishop Wood of Lichfield.19 Leozhards, afterwards called Clapton House and situated just northeast of the pond in Lower Clapton Road, 74</page><page sequence="5">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 Plate 2 Clapton House, c. 1830. The former 'chapel' or private prayer room is on the far right. survived until a century ago. Anthony Hope the author, who was born and brought up there in the 1860s, set down his memories of it years later in terms which suggest that little had changed, in the grounds at least, since the Francos' days.20 On the garden side was a broad gravel walk between hedges that stretched for nearly a quarter of a mile towards South Mill Fields, most of which also once belonged to the Francos. Looking right from the house was a formal garden, then a lawn with a large mulberry tree, and then a double row of elms, the rookery. The Francos made a few alterations here soon after they gained possession. An armorial keystone and a monogrammed weathercock dated 1749 probably indicate the completion of these improvements.21 By this time they had gathered around them several business associates, Moses Jessurun, Isaac Shiprut, Daniel de Prado Flores and Moses Lamego. At some point they added at the end of the north wing a building used (to quote the diary of the man who bought the property from them in 1799) as 'a chapel or private synagogue'.22 Although its exterior (Plate 2) resembles a small-scale version of the Portuguese (1675) synagogue at Amsterdam, it is more likely that the building was used as a private prayer room, where family and friends might gather together as occasion demanded.23 The Francos were not alone in making their own arrangements for domestic worship in Hackney. The estate that Isaac Jessurun Alvares inherited from his grandfather included (in Alvaro da Fonseca's own words) 'my Great Book of the 75</page><page sequence="6">Malcolm Brown Law of Moses' from Alvaro's own house in Mare Street, together with seven copyholds bought as a patrimony for his three-year-old grandson in 1730.24 Joshua Israel Brandon, the tobacco magnate, may have kept the Torah scrolls he bequeathed to his son, in the City, but his daughter-in-law remained in Clapton and left them in turn to her eldest son, so that at some point they may well have been used at Clapton.25 Not everyone was fortunate enough to have their own Torah scrolls,26 nor was life in Hackney devoted entirely to things of the spirit. The rowdy behaviour of one group of young men (which included Naphtali Franks and David Solomon) brought them before a local JP in December 1738,27 but the most frequent lapses from good citizenship occurred in failures to satisfy rate demands. Isaac Shiprut avoided paying parish dues in 1755 by resorting to the ancient expedient of flitting, and when the petty sessions ordered Abraham Judah to appear before them to show just cause why he had neglected to settle a long-standing rate bill, he duly obeyed the summons but still refused to pay.28 It would be unfair to over-emphasize these exceptions. On the whole the Jews of Hackney respected the customs of the country and paid the parish what was expected of them. Sometimes the parish expected a lot, as in 1752 when the vestry included nine of them among the thirty-five nominees for office.29 Like all the other nominees, they seem to have been City commuters, and in the event none of the nine was appointed. Time and again the rate clerks on their collection rounds would knock on a door, and finding no answer would pencil in their book a City address: Mr Norden 'in Old London Street'; Mr Flores 'in Paved Alley in Bury Street'; Mr Franco 'opposite the India warehouse'. Their position resembles that of those nominated for similar offices by the manorial courts, although manorial office-holding seems to have been considered a shade more prestigious, perhaps in view of its greater antiquity and colourful customs (see Appendix II). The main pre-requisite of the reeve of Hackney, for instance, was an expensive cloth coat.30 It is easy enough to imagine that James de Lemos and Joshua Brandon, reeves in 1762 and 1763, would have enjoyed this sort of dressing up.31 Israel Levin Salomons, the diamond merchant who took a lease of Clapton House in 1780, was elected aleconner in 1787.32 Traditionally the lighter side of this office involved sitting on a beer-soused bench in leather seated breeches: if the breeches stuck, there could be no objection to the standard of the beer. There were also the annual leet dinners at the Mermaid, where copy holders could browse and sluice together at manorial expense,33 although many might well have hesitated before falling to. At the other end of the scale, anybody who came below the poverty line would have been entitled to a measure of parish relief. In fact this is relevant in only one instance, when Benjamin da Costa, a decayed waxchandler, received coals for the poor for ten years from 1785.34 There are a number of other examples of poverty among eighteenth-century Hackney Jews. No distress was 76</page><page sequence="7">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 to be had on the goods of Solomon Moses in 1743, nor on those of Isaac Polock and Isaac Marks in 1754. The collector marked Moses Jessurun, a regular defaulter, as 'poor' in 1739, but added that 'he helped me to get Mr Blaw's and Mr Paz's money'.35 And Bersheba Martinez, one of several spinster sisters, was excused by the parish from paying rates for the last years of her life on her little house in Church Street. Poverty was not in fact the general impression given by most Jews who kept house in Hackney. Many were comfortably placed, some very comfortably indeed. One story has Israel Salomons asking whether the parish would compensate him for any damage done to the silver gates he was proposing to erect at Clapton House during his tenancy.36 Even though this may be apocryphal, the wealthier families lived as well as they could. Isaac Alvares employed five male servants at his house in 1780, Mordecai Lopes four, Emanuel Fernandez one, Abraham Keyser two, Esther Serra two, and Elias Lindo two in Hackney and two in the City.37 The silver-plate tax returns (incomplete as they are) throw further light on this section of the community. Of three located in Hackney, Isaac Rebello was assessed at 500 ounces, Isaac Alvares at 1200 ounces and Jacob Mendes da Costa's widow Branca at 2100 ounces.38 Fourteen others were assessed in the City and had second houses in Hackney, and the carriage-tax records tell a similar story.39 It was just such people, of course, who contributed most handsomely to the local subscription lists, notably one to provide a bounty for the volunteers in 1745, and others set up at the turn of the century to relieve the worst cases of the appalling indigence of that period.40 Among bequests to the parish the names of Benjamin Mendes da Costa, Jacob Franco, Abraham Franco, Isaac Rebello and Abraham Lopes Pereira all figure prominently.41 As the century ends, certain patterns of settlement seem to emerge. It should be remembered that numbers were small: before 1840 there were never more than twenty-five heads of household in the district at any one time, and this in the largest of all inner suburban parishes. What appears to have happened is that a few major figures would establish themselves and by so doing attract a number of relatives or associates who would remain nearby for a time,42 sometimes in houses of their own, sometimes in houses let by their patron?in fact, the very process that Moses Cassuto noticed when over here on a visit in 1741.43 Those who came to Hackney independently would come because it was the fashion, or more exceptionally to set up in business like Rowland de Paiba the coal supplier,44 or perhaps because warehousing was cheaper than in the City,45 or to retire.46 There are several examples (mostly from the end of the century) of widows leaving the City for Hackney to live next to or near each other, some of whose husbands had had a second house in the vicinity.47 There is nothing distinctive about these trends: Jewish people who moved to Hackney were doing just what others in their position were doing, and why there were 77</page><page sequence="8">Malcolm Brown rather fewer than elsewhere is not hard to guess. For Hackney, well on into the nineteenth century, represented to contemporaries one of the most prosperous of all mercantile residential communities,48 and a foothold there was correspon? dingly desirable. How much more desirable, then, were the grander houses, as for instance that of the Lindos, its palisades and walled grounds with a gate opening on to gardens beyond,49 or that of Abraham Keyser, furnished scarcely less sumptuously than his residence in the City,50 or that of Isaac Jessurun Alvares, with its greenhouse, summer house and goldfish ponds.51 Every member of the Mahamad had a house in Hackney in 1760,52 and when Moses de Castro became betrothed in 1788 to Hananel Mendes da Costa's daughter, he transferred a property in Clapton along with other goods as sureties to the marriage trust.53 The records of two adjacent parishes, Bethnal Green and Islington, provide a number of points of comparison. As a residential district the Green was only slightly preferable to the original area of settlement, since the prevailing winds swept the City's smoke across the parish, covering it in a pall of soot. It was however rather less densely populated than the City, and unsurprisingly eight Jewish names are found in the rate books in 1746. Jospa ben Jacob Buchtel, who is said to have tried to arrange services at Bethnal Green in 1747,54 is not among these, but the house may have been that of the only Ashkenazi recorded there at that time, Lyon Nathan.55 Proportionately more Jews moved to Bethnal Green than to Hackney in the eighteenth century, although those who did go stayed for shorter periods. Of the 125 counted from 1744 (the date of the earliest surviving rate-book) to 1800, 18 remained in the parish for 10 years or longer. For Hackney, of the 147 counted from 1674 to 1800, 35 stayed 10 years or longer. There were certainly fewer large houses in the Green, although one is of much interest. This was Aldgate House, so called because in 1760 the owner, a local antiquary, bought the remains of old Aldgate and added them on to the previous structure to form a garden annexe (see Plate 3).56 Israel Levin Salomons took a lease of the house in 1765. Soon after moving in Salomons advertised in the press for information leading to the apprehension of whoever had stolen fourteen melons from his garden.57 He was succeeded in 1769 by Abraham de Mattos Mocatta, with whose name the rate collector struggled unsuccessfully, Caledonianizing it (if that is the correct term) to MacCawdor. This solecism may have prompted Mocatta's departure from the neighbour? hood, for he is found the following year at Hackney, and two years later (having subscribed to Spencer's Complete English Traveller in 1771) yet further afield. Other travellers in Bethnal Green were David and Miriam de Leon, who retired from sugar-factoring to spend the last ten years of their married lives in a property in Sugar Loaf Alley.58 Then there was Moses Vita Montefiore, who settled in London in the early 1750s and took a house in the Green for the summer of 1753; Hazan Moses Cohen d'Azevedo, there for a year in 1760; and 78</page><page sequence="9">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 Plate 3 Aldgate House, Bethnal Green. Engraved by J.P. Malcolm, 1800. in 1784 Lazarus Hart, father of Lemon Hart the rum distiller. By this time numbers had so risen that the whole northern side of what is now Victoria Park was coming to be known as Jews' Walk.59 Mention should also be made here of an incident no doubt best forgotten: Isaac Mendes Furtado, having severed connections with Bevis Marks after his misconduct at the Purim service in 1783, erected at Mile End a terrace he spitefully named Purim Place.60 Also best forgotten is the lock-up house at Bethnal Green where the miserable Baron d'Aguilar stored part of his collection of valuable furniture, and where the wretched cattle normally penned at 'Starvation Farm', Islington, were some? times brought for pasture.61 It is more heartening to remember that 3 Paradise Row was from 1788 the home of the man who perhaps did most to regain for ordinary Jews of this period the self-confidence they were so often in danger of losing?Daniel Mendoza.62 Another comparable area, Islington, attracted relatively few Jewish inhabi? tants in the eighteenth century, in fact no more than seventeen. The first recorded arrival was Benjamin d'Israeli, who in 1760 paid the window tax on a small house in Lower Street, where he stayed for nine years. Somewhat confusingly, d'Israeli's name is found at different times on the rate-books of no 79</page><page sequence="10">Malcolm Brown fewer than four parishes, and the happy picture his grandson painted of life in the family house at Enfield must represent one of the few moments of stability in an otherwise peripatetic existence.63 The Laras also favoured Islington. Joshua Lara had a house in Hornsey Row for five years from 1775, and, according to the vestry minutes, regularly took part in discussions at the highways and workhouse committee meetings. His youngest brother Hananel, a bachelor, dwelt north of Highbury Place, at a villa named after the nearby dairies Cream Hall.64 It is said that Hananel occasionally heightened the tone of local society by sporting a gold-mounted eyeglass; but no inhabitant of Islington could have been prouder of his appearance than Doctor Sequeira, whom Joseph Montefiore remembered carrying a gold-headed cane and wearing a snuff-coloured cutaway and white stockings.65 From 1780 Sequeira had a large house in Upper Street, and from 1797 an even larger one in Barnsbury Place.66 Ephraim Lindo and Nathan Basevi lived nearby, as did the first inhabitant of 28 Highbury Place, Emanuel de Castro. His kinsman, Samuel de Castro, was the first inhabitant of the house originally numbered 5 Canonbury Lane. The two most conscientious of these early residents were the brothers Isaac and Samuel Mendez Pereira, who frequently served on the Mahamad in the 1780s and 1790s, and who lived next door to each other in Canonbury Square. What social contact any of these would have had with their neighbours must remain matter for speculation. Perhaps the ladies of Hackney were as well disposed as those of Stoke Newington, who admitted some pathetically grateful Jewish women to their local subscription library in the early 1800s.67 The names of the Misses Henrietta and Ellen Levin, and Miss Levy, are found at this period on the committee of a Hackney singing class, whose disbandment drew forth some facetious lines of doggerel from a local wag.68 Then there was Solomon Mendes, that valetudinarian man of letters who retired early to Clapton, whence he seldom sallied out, preferring instead to keep up a stream of correspondence with a wide-ranging circle of friends and acquaintances in town.69 Still in this context, mention should be made of an otherwise unknown botanical painter, A. Nunes of 13 Robinson's Row, Kingsland, who in 1798 published with John Thompson a superbly illustrated volume entitled Botany Displayed.70 Isaac Mocatta spent the last few years of his all-too-brief life in St Thomas' Square, Hackney, and was on familiar terms with W.S. Landor, who on one occasion so far deferred to his friend's literary judgement as to suppress a postscript Mocatta thought ill-considered.71 The Rebellos, too, left their mark on Hackney society. David Rebello, whose pleasant house off Mare Street (Plate 4) survived until fifty years ago, issued in 1795 and 1796 two of the first private token coins ever distributed, and even included a representation of St John's (the parish church) on both of them.72 Social confidence could always be displayed by other means. When the clerk of the local highways committee called upon Joshua Brandon in 1767 to tell 80</page><page sequence="11">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 Plate 4 David Rebello's house. Ground plan drawn by Ashpitel, 1839. him that a drain at one of the five houses he owned in Hackney was causing damage to the road, Mr Brandon 'gave for answer that he had let the house for a term of years not yet expired, that he did not make the drain nor knew who did, and therefore hoped that the committee would look upon it that he had nothing to do with it.'73 Indeed they did so! Early in the nineteenth century the name of Rothschild appears in the rate books. Nathan Mayer Rothschild was somewhat apprehensive at the prospect of taking a villa in 1816. His prosperity had been much commented upon, not always favourably, and Herries, the Commissary-in-Chief, warned him that possession of a villa would only encourage backbiting.74 His sister Henrietta, Abraham Montefiore's wife, had no such misgivings. There had been Monte fiores in Hackney for over fifty years, and in 1818 Abraham bought a large house just off the Kingsland Road. The following year, the Rothschilds acquired the lease of a villa with eight acres of land on the west side of Stamford Hill High Road, at the junction with what is now Colberg Place (see Plate 5).75 The property had been built thirty years earlier and was occupied successively by a brewer, a broker (Isaac Barrow Lousada), an East India Company director (Colonel Bannerman), and Joseph Taylor, MP.76 The Rothschilds seem to have enjoyed Stamford Hill. Nathan found time to serve as a vice-president of the newly established local dispensary, besides making various improvements to his own estate (see Plate 6).77 The family stayed on until 1835, when they bought Gunnersbury, and Stamford Hill was sold by auction to Joel Emanuel, the Bond Street jeweller and philanthropist.78 81</page><page sequence="12"></page><page sequence="13">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 Rothschild's near neighbours had included S.M. Samuels (who succeeded him as vice-president of the Stoke Newington dispensary), Nathaniel Levin (Abraham Goldsmid's son-in-law), Abraham and Esther Vaz de Silva of Sanford Place, and Abraham Solomon, a City retailer of 'straw, chip and Leghorn hats' and silk gloves, whose business prospered well enough to keep him at 7 Sydney Place, Stamford Hill, for thirty years. Solomon Israel, a ship-broker who lived with his wife and five daughters in Stoney Place Road, was a close relative by marriage of Jacob da Fonseca Brandon, one of the few Jews on the voters' list for the 1802 Middlesex election. The Brandons had come to Clapton in 1742 and continued there until 1843. Worthiest of attention, perhaps, were the Montefiores. Moses Vita Montefiore bought a copyhold to the north of Mutton (now Lamb) Lane in 1763.79 His widow leased the property out, as did his famous grandson, until trustees parted with it in 1813. Samuel Montefiore also had a house in the parish.80 There has come to light recently a record that gives some substance to what has been surmise hitherto.81 Benjamin de Moses de Elias Lindo (who died in 1825) compiled his account book with a fortunately obsessive regard for detail, including items of expenditure for the summer months of 1818 when he was living with his parents in Church Street, Stoke Newington. His grandfather Elias (who had died in 1785) had retired to a country box fronting the Lower Clapton Road, where he could give rein to that passion shared by so many suburban householders, the cultivation of exotics, while keeping an eye from his counting house on the indigo-brokerage business in Bury Court.82 Benjamin commuted regularly to the City by stage coach, but spent many of his evenings visiting family in his parents' neighbourhood?'Aunt da Costa', 'Aunt da Castro' and 'Aunt Lindo' are mentioned frequently in his pages. At times he would make up a party to the theatre with his brothers and friends, or take a boat trip along the Lea. This most sociable of bachelors, a member of both Lloyds and the Stock Exchange, still awaits a biographer. Among the more notable inhabitants of the parish, Grace Aguilar was born here in 1816, to a family which on her mother's side had links with the district going back to the 1740s. The Aguilars moved away in 1824 and returned some years later, when they fixed on 5 The Triangle as a house large enough to accommodate the family and a few boarders at the academy Grace's mother established.83 In a short story entitled 'Red Rose Villa and its inhabitants' (included in the posthumous Home Scenes and Heart Studies) Grace described 'a Plate 5 (above) N. M. Rothschild's house at Stamford Hill. Tyssen estate map, 1814-20, showing 'Mr Rothschild' pencilled over the name of the previous owner, Colonel Bannerman. Plate 6 (below) N. M. Rothschild's house at Stamford Hill. Starling's map of Hackney, 1831, showing development after 1820. 83</page><page sequence="14">Malcolm Brown first-rate finishing school for young ladies of the first families', with its own family, like hers, of two sisters and two brothers. This may have been a sly glance at another Jewish school nearby, the academy for young ladies at 5 Wickham Place, Clapton, kept by Lydia, Miriam, Rose and Caroline, the four daughters of Abraham Belisario the Jamaica merchant. Miriam Belisario herself was to achieve a measure of literary celebrity with the publication in 1856 of her Sabbath Evenings at Home. Two other gifted Sephardim of Hackney were Jacob Rodrigues Peynado (who died in 1877), a frequent contributor of learned articles to the earliest American Jewish periodical, The Occident, and Elias Lindo (who died in 1865), author of a much-praised Calendar in 1832 and one of the pioneer Anglo-Jewish historians. For obvious reasons little information is available about most entries in the rate books. Lyon Abrahams of Well Street was a secondhand-clothes dealer; Joel Benjamin, who lived with his family of twelve in Brooksby's Walk, a watchmaker; Samuel Avila of Church Street (and Mile End Road), a pawn? broker; Joseph Delvalle of Sanford Place, a bookseller; George Dias of Church Street, a City auctioneer; those of independent means included Aaron Cohen, elected headborough of Dalston and Shackle well in 1822, and Michael and Frances Phillips of Kingsland Place, members of the Great Synagogue. To these should be added in 1840 Michael Barnett and his sister, a dressmaker, who were among the earliest inhabitants of De Beauvoir Place in the opening stages of the De Beauvoir Town development.84 'The village of Hackney', wrote William Robinson in 1842, 'was a place selected for retirement by many ofthat respectable class in society, the Jews, who located here many years ago; but at this time there are very few of that persuasion resident in the parish.'85 There is no reason to doubt the truthfulness of his statement. Robinson was writing twenty years before Solomon Andrade formed a small congregation in Essex Road, and forty years before regular Friday-night services were held in Mare Street.86 These fall beyond the scope of the present paper and come more properly within the ambit of the Jewish East End History Project, whose terms of reference cover the period from 1840 onwards. It is greatly to be hoped that this survey, the first attempt to describe the prehistory of one area of Anglo-Jewish suburban settlement, will encourage others to continue the story. 84</page><page sequence="15">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 NOTES 1 Rothschild Archives, London (hereafter RAL), 109/10/3-7, Hannah Rothschild to the Marchioness of Carmarthen, 24 November [dated 1828 from internal evidence]. 2 L. Stone, 'Residential Development..in B.C. Malament (ed.) After the Reformation (Phila? delphia 1980) 190. 3 F.M.L. Thompson provides a general survey in his editorial introduction to The Rise of Suburbia (Leicester 1982); for the limitations of recent auxiliary sciences, see J. Barzun, Clio and the Doctors (Chicago and London 1974). 4 M. Bernstein, Stamford Hill and the Jews before 1915 (MSB Publications, London 1976) concentrates more fully on the later period. V.D. Lipman, 'The Rise of Jewish Suburbia', Trans JHSE XXI (1968) 78-103, is the seminal study; I am most grateful to Dr Lipman for much advice. 5 W. Robinson, The History and Antiquities of Hackney (London 1842). The parochial and manorial muniments are divided between the Greater London Record Office (hereafter GLRO) and Hackney Archives Department (hereafter HAD). I am particularly grateful to Jean Wait of HAD for her kind advice, and to Harriet Ken nealy of GLRO for reading this article in type? script. 6 L. and J.CF. Stone, An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 (Oxford 1984) xxiii-iv. 7 For doubts as to the capacity at this period of children of aliens to inherit see R. Routledge in Journal of Legal History III?2 (Sep? tember 1982) 116. 8 GLRO, M/93/90-91B; HAD, M 1198 1205 and 1470-4. 9 PRO, Prob. 5/4028. I owe the interpre? tation of this document to Peter Thornton, Curator of Sir John Soane's Museum, London. 10 M. Bryant in T.G. Cook (ed.) Local studies in the history of education (London 1972) 99 135 (with bibl.). 11 PRO, Prob. 11/354 (Arias); 1706 April A (Nunes); 1715 June A (Pacheco). 12 HAD, D/F/TYS/12/1; compare GLRO, P 79/JN/ 1/139 and 150. The Hackney burial registers of the period (P 79/JN 24-5) contain names of possible interest in this connection. 13 W. Samuel, The First London Synagogue of the Resettlement (London 1924) 23-4; Guildhall MS. 1198/1. 14 W. Matthews, The Diary of Dudley Ryder (London 1939). I am grateful to the archivist of the Harrowby MSS Trust for further informa tion about Hackney. 15 Franco fished the Lea from Amwell Bury for ten years from 1788: Hertfordshire RO, D/EX326.E. 1. 16 For other examples of reluctance to discharge these offices, see A. Rubens, 'The Jews of the Parish of St James...' in J. M. Shaftesley (ed.) Remember the Days (London 1966) 182-3. 17 GLRO,P79/JNi/2i4f.8o. 18 HAD,D/F/TYS/i2/i. 19 GLRO, MDR 1749/2/26 and 96. A payment in 1746 of ?60 from Abraham and Jacob Franco to 'Gainsborough' is recorded by A. Corri in Burlington Magazine CXXV (1983) 215, but see ibid. CXXVII (1985) 459-60 for doubts as to the identity of the payee. 20 Sir Anthony H. Hawkins, Memories and Notes (London 1927) 8-10. Compare 'A Des? cription of the late Mr W?'s Gardens, at Hackney', in New London Magazine V (1789) 158. 21 HAD, D/F/TYS/5 7 f. 161. 22 GLRO, MDR 1799/3/871; HAD, Bagust MS. 5 f.22, with transcribed diary of the purchaser (James Powell) and particulars of sale. 23 A.M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (London 1951) 28. Abraham Franco owned the adjacent Pond House. 24 Other property in Alvaro's will (1742 Trenley 345) included 'two large Japan scru tores' and 'two China jars four feet high standing in the Great Parlour': these last two items are mentioned again in Alvares' will (1809 Loveday 326). 25 Other property mentioned in Brandon's will (1772 Taverner 4) included four copyholds 'near the Brook'. 26 I am grateful to Professor Raphael Loewe for clarification of this point. 27 GLRO, M 79/X/1. 28 HAD, P/J/P/107 (Shiprut); P 79/JN/ i/i47(Judah). 29 R. Simpson, Memorials of St John's at Hackney (Guildford 1882) III-149; GLRO, P 79/JN/ i/i42f.i57. 30 Customs and Privileges of the Manors of Stepney and Hackney (London 1736) 93. 31 GLR0,M79/KH/22. 32 GLRO, M 79/KH/27. Salomons was the sublessee of the house: PRO, C/i 11/7. 33 GLRO, E/BVR/340. 34 HAD, P/J/i; P/J/C/13/1 and 41-2. 85</page><page sequence="16">Malcolm Brown 35 HAD, P/J/T/28. PRO, Prob. 31/220/25 is the inventory of De Paz' house in Homerton. 36 Guildhall MS. 11,994 A f.81 and HAD, Bagust MS. 5 f.22. Salomons' son-in-law Ben? jamin Goldsmid had a leasehold in Kingsland Road before moving to Roehampton. 37 PRO, T 47/8: some Hackney names are transcribed in Middx. and Herts. Notes &amp; Queries 1 (1896) passim. 38 PRO, T 47/4-7. The figures given are for 1764, and are comparable with the finta assess? ment of that year printed in M. Gaster, History of Bevis Marks Synagogue (London 1901) 146-8. 39 PRO, A.0.3/369; T 47/2-4. 40 HAD, M 2553; P/J/C/13/1-2; D/F/DOB 21 and38;D/F/TYS/57. 41 HAD, P/J/i and P/J/C/3; PRO, 1758 Hutton no (A. Franco); GLRO, P 79/JN 1/197. 42 For trading interests and clusters see G. Yogev, Diamonds and Coral (Leicester 1978) passim. Natal Levi Sonsino let one of his two houses in Mare Street to Jacob de Castro; Sonsino's son sold them to J.I. Brandon and J. de Lemos. 43 R.D. Barnett, 'The Travels of Moses Cassuto' in J.M. Shaftesley (ed.) (see n. 16 above) 103. 44 De Paiba had his own wharf on the Lea for twenty years: HAD, Land Tax Assessments 1778-97. Isaac Mendez of Clapton described himself as a grocer in his will: PRO, 1782 Gostling 420. 45 HAD, D/F/TYS/12/1 f.57; GLRO, MDR 1752/2/335; Quarterly Review 34 (1826) 195. 46 Cases of semi-retirement include Abra? ham de Medina (d. 1774) whose address from 1763 is given in the directories as 'Hackney or 60 Threadneedle St.' and David Rebello (d. 1796), of '34 Mare Street or Rainbow Coffee House, Cornhiir from 1772. 47 For example, Sarah de Castro, Esther de Silva and Rebecca Delvalle lived in adjacent terrace houses in Stoke Newington in 1797. 48 S. Foote, The Commissary (London 1765) Act I scene 1; G.A. Walpoole, The New British Traveller (London 1784) 287; Guildhall MS. 9558f.44i. 49 GLRO, MDR 1786/3/206. 50 PRO, Prob. 31/723/809 is the inventory of Keyser's house in Homerton. 51 PRO, Loveday 326 (1809). 52 The list is given in A.M. Hyamson (see n. 23 above) 434. For other instances of Sephardi suburban self-zoning practices, see R. van Lut tervelt, De Buitenplaatsen aan de Vecht (De Bilt 1943). 53 GLRO, MDR 1788/6/341-2. 54 C. Roth, The Great Synagogue... (London 1950) 68. 55 Tower Hamlets Local History Library, ratebooks. 56 R. Kemp, Some notes on the ward of Aldgate (London 1904) 5. 57 C. Roth (see n. 54 above) 154. 58 GLRO, MDR 1794/5/264. 59 The first map to show this as a street name is Horwood's (1799) begun in 1792. 60 A.M. Hyamson (see n. 23 above) 197; GLRO, MDR 1784/2/172-4. 61 G.F. Vale and S. Snaith, Bygone Bethnal Green (London 1948) 17. 62 P. Magril (ed.) The memoirs of.. Mendoza (London 1951) 54. 63 B. Disraeli, preface to the 14th edition of his father's Curiosities of Literature (London 1849) xxiv. It is not impossible that some of the ratebook entries may refer to another Benjamin d'lsraeli, identified by R. Blake in Disraeli (Lon? don 1966) 4-5. 64 Guildhall MS. 474 A. 65 L. Wolf, Essays in Jewish History (London 1934)32. 66 Islington Central Library, ratebooks; V.D. Lipman (see n. 4 above) 101 n. 15. 67 B. Rodgers, Georgian Chronicle (London 1958)130. 68 HAD, Local History Collection Y 4460. 69 C. Roth, Anglo-Jewish Letters (London 1937)105-14. 70 B. Henry, British Botanical and Horticul? tural Literature before 1800 II (Oxford 1975) 125 and 685. This may have been the Anthony Nunes whose sister was married at Hackney in 1787, according to the parish register. 71 C. Roth (see n. 69 above) 207-8. 72 R.D. Barnett, Catalogue of the Jewish Museum (London 1974) 181. 73 GLRO, P 79/JN 1/181. 74 R. Davis, The English Rothschilds (London 1983) 36-7 and RAL (see n. 1 above). 75 GLRO, MDR 1816/5/251: the family may have rented the house before obtaining the leasehold; HAD, P/J/LT 97. 76 The brewer, Henry Sandford (d. 1796), was one of the first occupants of 1 Royal Crescent, Bath (now the property of the Bath Preservation Trust). 77 HAD, D/S/28/5 and 9; D/F/TYS/16 f.122; E.M. Butler (ed.) A Regency Visitor (Lon? don 1957) 96-7. 86</page><page sequence="17">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 78 For Emanuel, see V.D. Lipman, A Century of Social Service (London 1959) 175 n. 2. 79 GLRO, M 79/LH/13,19, 23 and 41. 80 GLRO,MR/PLT/5455-9. 81 Mocatta Library, AJ/340. I am very grateful to the Gaster family for allowing me to study the MS described here. 82 GLRO, Acc. 212/3-10; HAD, M 4161/10. 83 B.-Z.L. Abrahams, 'Grace Aguilar', Trans JHSE XVI (1952) 137-48. 84 GLRO, T.H.C.S./482 (1840). 85 W. Robinson (see n. 5 above) 210. 86 M. Bernstein (see n. 4 above) 17. 87</page><page sequence="18">Malcolm Brown APPENDICES Appendix I List of Jews Nominated for Office in the Parish of St John, Hackney C = churchwarden; 0 = overseer of the poor; S = surveyor of highways; L = collector of the lamp rate. * = persons elected to serve. Date Office Name Fines (where known) 1718 0 Moses Silva* ? 8 1721 S Alvaro da Fonseca* ? 5 1723 C Alvaro da Fonseca* ?10 1729 0 Alvaro da Fonseca* ? 8 1732 O Benjamin Mendes da Costa* C,0&amp;S Jacob Mendes da Costa* ?20 1733 0 Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro 1734 0 Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro* 1735 0 Gabriel Lopes Pinheiro* 1737 C&amp;S Benjamin Mendes da Costa* ?15 1741 C,0&amp;S Jacob Franco* ?20 1745 O Natal Levi Sonsino* 17 51 0 Daniel Flores* S Abraham de Medina* ? 5 1752 S Isaac Rebello* ? 5 0 Aaron Gomez da Costa 0 Joshua Israel Brandon 0 Isaac Rebello 0 Abraham de Medina O Moses Lamego 0 Abraham Franco 0 Jacob Levi Sonsino O Abraham Judah O Isaac Silva 1753 O Joshua Israel Brandon O Abraham de Medina O Moses Lamego 0 Abraham Franco 0 Abraham Judah 0 Isaac Silva 1754 0 Moses Lamego* 0 Abraham Franco 175 5-9 0 Abraham Franco 1762-5 S Joshua Israel Brandon 17 71 0 Isaac Levin Solomons 0 Moses Montefiore 1773 L Isaac Rebello* 1774 L Abraham de Medina* 1776 0 Moses Montefiore* 1780 L Moses Montefiore* 1783 C Moses Montefiore* 'excused thro'ill health' Additionally, David Alves Rebello and Isaac Jessurun Alvares were elected overseers in years not specified in the records available. 88</page><page sequence="19">The Jews of Hackney before 1840 Appendix II List of Jews Elected to Office by the Manorial Courts of Lordshold and Kingshold, Hackney R = reeve; C = constable; H = headborough; A = aleconner * = persons who appointed proxies 1728 I73I 1740 1746 1749 1750 1751 1752 1754 1755 1756 1757 1758 1760 1762 1763 1766 1768 1770 1773 ?-3 1776 1777 1780 1786 1788 1790 1799 1804 1822 1831 1834 C Alvaro da Fonseca* H Benjamin Mendes da Costa* C Benjamin Mendes da Costa* H Jacob Mendes da Costa* H Jacob Franco* C Jacob Mendes da Costa* H Benjamin Mendes da Costa C Jacob Franco* H Joshua Israel Brandon* H Moses Lamego* H Isaac Rebello* H Isaac Shiprut* H Abraham Judah* H Moses Lumbroso de Mattos* C Moses Lamego* C Isaac Rebello* R James de Lemos R Joshua Brandon H Abraham de Joseph Messias* R Joshua Brandon C Abraham de Medina* C Joshua Brandon* H Moses Montefiore* H Phineas Serra* H Solomon Norden* H Moses Aboab Fonseca* H Phineas Serra H Isaac Jessurun Alvarez* H Aaron Gomez da Costa C Isaac Jessurun Alvarez* A Israel Levin Salomons* R 'Joshua Israel Brandon estate'* C Rowland de Paiba* H Joseph Gompertz H David Alvez Rebello* H Benjamin Goldsmid* C Samuel Lewen* H Aaron Cohen* C Nathan Mayer Rothschild* C Abraham Solomon* excused, 'he having executed that office' excused [see 1773 entry] 'not liable' 89</page></plain_text>