JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Subject: Re: First Jews in England #general

David Kravitz

"Evertjan Hannivoort wrote

The first Jewish families arived in Britain perhaps with the
Phoenicians, far more tha 2000 years ago, as Simon Goulden of the
United Synagogue writes here: Daf Hashavua 23/9/2000

Or else they surely came with the Roman conquest, but even if they did
arrive with William the conqueror as late as 1066, your expectation of
great genealogical resources is not very reasonable. ;-} " <<

The Jews of England were kicked out and only returned after Oliver
Cromwell invited them back. The oldest synagogue in England is
Sephardic, dating >from 1702, and is still very much in use today
despite, not the least, an IRA bomb. I understand that they hold very
good records going back 300 years. The oldest Ashkenazi synagogue from
this period is in Plymouth going back 250 years and I am sure they,
too, have some records.
David, the fact they were kicked out strengthens my thesis in that the
1702 sephardim where not the first.

Why do you think that before the fimal kick-out of 1395 they had no
synagogues? Only because of lack of evidence?

I made no comment or suggestion about places of worship in England/Britain
pre-1702. In James Joyce's Ulysses he comments that there were no Jews in
Ireland but this was not true. In the total absence of any documentary
evidence covering the three hundred years after expulsion, one must assume
that all praying by Jews was in private houses or that places of worship
were destroyed. Reference to the remains of a medieval synagogue in
Canterbury can be found at
and there are books covering mediaeval England and Jews. There were probably
Jews in England between 1400 and 1700 but they would have kept a very low
profile or, even, integrated into Christianity.

My point about Bevis Marks is that they hold full records of marriages over
the last 300 years but you need to be a Sephardi to stand any chance of
tracing ancestors.

David Kravitz
Netanya, Israel

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