The Medieval Jews ofExeter
(Read at Exeter, 24th June, 1931)
[Transactions of the Devonshire Association for theAdvancement of Science, Literature, and Art. 1931.-Vol. lxiii,pp.221-240]
A .E . = The Jews of Angevin England, by Dr. Joseph Jacobs.
Trans =Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England.
Rigg.=Calendar of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, Vols. I, II.
Jenkinson.=Calendar of the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, Vol. III.
Stokes.=Studies in Anglo-Jewish History, by Dr. H. P. Stokes.
Tovey=Anglia Judaica, by D'Blossiers Tovey, 1738.
P. R. O.=Public Record Office, London.
The existence of a Jewry in this city in the 12th and 13thcenturies is fully established from the records of the period, andthere are many elements of interest associated with its history. Itis an accepted doctrine of modern students of Anglo-Jewish historythat prior to the Norman Conquest there were no Jews in England, butthey came over with the Conqueror and gradually spread to all partsof the country. And so they drifted in small numbers to this faircounty of Devon and were allowed to make a home for themselves inExeter. I need not here enter into the subject of the legal positionof the Jew of the period and his relation under the Feudal system tothe king and the general community&emdash; except to quote a fewlines from the masterly History of the English Law, by Pollock andMaitland, which sums up the position admirably.
" The Jew's relation to the king was like that of the villein tohis lord. He acquired for the king and he, with all that he had,belonged to the king who protected him against all others... Asregards the rest of the world the Jews were free men; they couldbuild houses and hold lands... In order to bring benefit to hismaster, the king, the Jew was allowed to do what the law of hisChurch forbade the Christian, i.e., to take interest on money lent.Usury was no offence against the law of the land, which enforced theusurious
1A.E., Introduction, p. 9. 2Vol. 1, p. 468.
Unlike almost every other Jewish settlement in England the exactpart of the city where the Exeter Jews took up their residence is notclearly indicated - though it was probably near the High Street. AJew named Amiot occupied a house there in 1211 and a Jewess namedComitissa is reported to have lived in the High Street in 12902 whenshe was expelled by the edict of Edward I which drove 16,500 Jews ofEngland into exile. Two other houses are mentioned as belonging toJews of the city in 1280 (see page 237) but their locality is notstated. Exeter was a properly-organised community with a Synagogue -location unknown - administered by its Rabbi, its Chaplain orPrecentor and its lay leaders. The law of the y ear 1177 permittedthem to have a cemetery beyond the walls of the city,3 - before thisdate all dead bodies having to be taken for interment to London. Thepresent Jewish cemetery in Magdalen Street lies outside the old wallsof the city near the ancient South Gate. According to the conditionof qualified religious autonomy which each Jewry enjoyed under thedirect protection of the Crown,4 Exeter had its Beth Din orEcclesiastical Court of Jewish Law recourse to which entailed a heavyfine to the royal Exchequer. In the Plea Rolls of the year II88, itis recorded the Jews of Exeter render count of one mark gold for afine for pleas which were between them in common.5 The amount theypaid was equivalent in modern value to about £2006 - a form ofpenalty which restricted the use of the Beth Din to only the mostimportant legal cases.
The date when the first settlement took place in Exeter isuncertain. The earliest mention of a local Jew being engaged infinancial transactions is in the year 1181 - it being evident thatJews must have already commenced business
1Cartulary of St. Nicholas in British Museum, Cotton MSS. Vit. D.,IX, fol. 106a. I wish to express my deep gratitude to Miss E.Lega-Weekes and Miss. F. Rose-Troup for their help in connexion withthe Cartulary and other information about early Exeter.
2See p. 236.
3A. E.., p. 62. Hoveden ii, 137,
4A. E., p. 134.
5.A. E., p. 95.
6Concerning the relative money value of the 12th and I3thcenturies as compared with to-day , see A.E., p. 320,where Dr. Jacobs multiplies by 30; Lionel Abrahams (Trans., VIII, p.179) multiplies by 20.
In the year of the constitution of the Jewries, all England wasoccupied with the collection of the ransom to be paid for theliberation of Richard the Lion Heart from the prison in Austria intowhich he had been thrust on his way home from the Crusades.6 The Jewswere called upon to assist in this patriotic task and the sum of5,000 marks7 (equivalent to over £100,000 in modern value) was appointed as their quota - the tax bearing thename of the Northampton Donum or Gift. The details of the payments ofthe Jewries
1A. E., p. 73.
2A. E., p. 369; Stokes, Part I, Ch. IX.
3Hovenden iii, 266. A. E., p. 156, Gross, Papers of theAnglo-Jewish Exhibition. 1887, p. 182, ff.
4A. E. p. 117.
5Richard of Devizes, p. 383; A. E., p. 133.
6Norgate, Richard the Lion Heart, p. 281.
7A. E, p. 162; Trans., Miscellanies, Part I, p. lix.
In 1212 a Devonian landlord named Henry de Nunant borrowed moneyfrom the local Jews for which he pledged his Manor of Cliston(Broadclyst) - this property later being confiscated by theking.7
Deulecresse le Eveske or Episcopus (in Hebrew, Gedalya Cohen)8 isa noteworthy Exeter Jew who became the leader of the community and iscalled the bailiff (ballivus) of the Jewry. In the year I2I8 a Writwas issued by the king in the following terms9:&emdash;
1Exchequer Accounts, No. 249, 2.
2Fine and Oblate Rolls, I, I97; A. E , p. 239.
3Worthies of Devon, by Rev. J. Prince, 1810, p. 645. The name ofthe family is preserved in the village of Berry Pomeroy, nearTotnes.
4See note 1, p. 238 " De terra que fuit Radulphi des Chous inmagn' vico Exonie inter terram Petri de Palerni et terram que fuitGodekniht quam Amideus Judeus tenet." Palerna gave grants to 28chapels in Exeter in 1211. See Topogaphy of the Cathedral Close, byMiss Lega-Weekes and the Lost Chapels of Exeter, by Mrs. Rose-Troup,pp. 3, 18, ff.
5A. .E., p. 240.
6The name Yveling occurs in Exeter records as that of Christians:Cartulary of St. Nicholas, No. 67 (1177); Chapter MSS. No, 379(1188), Exeter Vicars Choral Obit Book, f. 10 (Mrs. Rose-Troup)
7Testa de Nevil (Book of Fees, p. 98). See paper by MissLega-Weekes in Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries, Jan., 1922, p.46.
8Stokes, Part I, Ch. iii.
9Rigg, I ,p.18.
In the year 1220 Deulecresse was himself in trouble. He, togetherwith Solomon of Exeter, was accused by William de Esse of demanding adebt from him that was not owing, and they were summoned by theSheriff to go to London to answer the charge before the Justices atWestminster.2 Apparently they set up a satisfactory defence and wereacquitted. When they travelled to the capital the two Jews must havebeen conspicuous by the two broad strips of white linen or parchmentin the shape of the Tables of the Law which they wore on their outergarments in accordance with the new law issued two yearspreviously.3
In the Cartulary of the Priory of St. Nicholas,4 two importantmonetary transactions of Deulecresse are recorded which testify tothe prominent position he held in Exeter, being closely acquaintedwith the heads of both the Christian and the Jewish communities. Inthe first, numbered 37I in Nichols' Collectanea Topographica etGenealogica (p. 384), whose date is about 1224, William Bozun ofClist gives to Deulecresse Episcopus Judeorum - as he is called, thesum of five shillings which Martin Rof had paid him as rent for hisland in Clist. Rof had dealings with the local Jews5 and was anotable Exeter citizen who held the office of Bailiff the first timein 1224 and for four later years, and of Mayor eleven times beginningin 1234.6 The Christian witnesses are Martin Prodome, the Mayor,7 andhis brother William, the
1Tovey, p. 77.
2Rigg, I, p. 24.
3Tovey, p 79.
4See text of these deeds in Appendix pp. 238-240.
5In the Cartulary, fol. 160 l60a, Rof borrows 40 silver marks "inJudaismo" to pay William Bozun for some land. Hilary Blund, theMayor, is one of the witnesses. Nichols, Collectanea, No. 369.
6Izacke, Antiquities of Exeter in his Memorials.
7So-called on fol. 106b of the Cartulary in the deed in whichAmideus Judeus is named. See note 1 on p. 238. His name does notappear in Izacke's list of Mayors, nor in that of G. Oliver, Historyof Exeter, p. 228. Other witnesses to this deed are Samson Rof andGilbert Bochet, the Bailiff (Oliver, ib., p. 226).
Moses le Turk, or of Tuarz in Normandy, belonged to a family whichhad three other representatives in England, Solomon in Bristol,3Jacob in London4 and Samuel his brother In Kent.5 He died in Herefordabout I270 leaving the small estate of 13/- upon which his widowGenta paid the usual death duty to the Crown of one-third 6 Jacob ofGloucester occurs frequently in the records of Exeter Jewry - sharingthe leadership of the community with Deulecresse Episcopus.7 In 1219the regency of king Henry levied its first tax upon "his" Jewry, andsix leading Jews ~ were appointed to superintend its collection.Under these chief talliators, as they were called, localrepresentatives were appointed, Jacob being selected as the Exeterofficial.8
The second document, No. 372 which belongs to the year 1233 theyear of Hilary Blund's first Mayoralty, contains a personaldeclaration by Deulecresse in which he sells the rent received fromWilliam Bozun to Martin Rof, who, in return was to pay him annually apair of white gloves or the sum of threepence. For this transactionMartin gave Deulecresse the sum of £2, which the Jewish bailiffhanded over to Joseph of Bristol,9 who, as representative of kingHenry, had come at that time to Exeter with royal letters "to compelthe Jews to pay debts owing to our lord, the king".l0 The principalChristian witness to this deed, mention of whose name fixes the date,is the Mayor, Hilary Blund, was in office in in l22711 after havingbeen previously bailiff for three years and later, Mayor for foursubsequent years between I255 and
lMiss Lega-Weekes Topography of the Cathedral Close, Index, s.n.Produm. This deed of gift was witnessed by Magister Isaac andMagister Michael who as Mrs. Rose Troup informs me were Canons of thecathedral.
2Perhaps Budleigh. See C. G. Harper, The South Devon Coast, p.63.
4Ib., XI, p. 100.
5Rigg, I, p. 100
6Ib., p. 204
7See pp. [?]
8P. R. O., No. 249, 12. he is associated with the Western Jewrieswith Bonenfant and Lumbard for Bristol, and Solomon of Ilchester forSomerset. See Stokes, p. 250.
9i.e. Joseph Furmager, one of the leaders of Bristol Jewry. See mypaper on "Pre-Expulsion Bristol." Trans. XII.
10Quos solvi domino regi per manus Iosepini de Bristollis qui tunctemporis venit Exoniam cum litteris domini regis patentibus ascompellendum judeos solvere debitos domini regis."
11Oliver, ib. gives 1227 as Blund's first year as Mayor.
126l l The Christian Chirographers, Philip de Stokes and HenryPicot, as well as their Jewish colleagues Jacob of Gloucester andMoses le T urk, also sign the document, to which Ursell and Bonefei,Martin and William Prodome further add their signatures. Thesedocuments are of interest because Martin Rof later gave his Clistproperty to the Priory of St. Nicholas, as recorded in theCartulary.2
The community rapidly increased in numbers and in wealth for, in1223 fifteen local sons and daughters of Israel paid to a royal taxthe sum of £78 10s. 6d. (equivalent to about £2,340 to-day) out of a total collection of about £1,680 (inmodern value £50,400 ) from the whole country.7The list of twelve men is again headed by Jacob of Gloucesterwith
lIzacke Antiquities of Exeter in his Memorials.
2Nichols' Collectanea, Cartulary of St. Nicholas, No. 373.
3P.R .O.Exchequer Accounts, No. 249, 13. See my "Bristol,'l.c.
4Examples of this personal description of Jews are given in A. E.,p.371 - as Moses cum naso, Manasseh grassus, Benedict longus, Deodonecum pedibus tortis. Stokes, p. 65.
5Norgate, The Minority of Henry III, pp. 132, 174.
6See Paper by Miss Chew in Trans., XI.
7P. R. O. Receipt Roll, E. 40l, 6.
It is curious that in a Receipt Roll of I226,l Exeter is notincluded among the contributors to the tax of 4000 marks - the recordprobably being incomplete. In 1231, the city and castle of Exeterwere given by the king to his brother Richard,2 Earl of Cornwall andCount of Poitou and later king of the Romans, but the Jewry, as inall such cases, remained the sole property of the Crown.
In February, 1241, the city ofWorcester3 beheld a remarkablegathering of 109 Jews from twenty-one Jewish centres assembled towhat Tovey - the 18th century author of the "Anglia Judaica" callsthe Parliamentum Judaicum 4 the "Jewish Parliament". King Henry was,as usual, in need of money, and orders were issued to the Sheriffs ofthe Jewries that delegates should be appointed to consider ways andmeans of raising a new tallage, "to treat with us both for our andfor their own good". The Sheriffs were threatened with dire penaltiesif they failed to carry out the king's command. When the M. P.s meton Quinquagesima Sunday it was soon made clear that all the royalofficials had to tell them was "it is your money we want". A tallageof 20,000 marks (in modern value about £402,000 )to be paid within a year was imposed upon the Jews who werethemselves to act as Assessors and Collectors and to aid the Sheriffsin raising the tax from their fellow Jews "under pain of forfeitingtheir goods and estates and the severest penalties, to the terror ofall others". Whilst the larger Jewries as London, York, Canterbury,Oxford, Cambridge and others sent 6, Exeter chose 4 representativesin the persons of Jacob of Gloucester, Deulecresse Episcopus with twomen hitherto not mentioned, Bonenfant, the son of Judah (or Leo) andJose (Joseph) Crespin the son of Abraham. We possess no officialreport concerning the collection of this tallage, but the recordsgive details of individual payments, the famous Aaron of
1P. R.O., E. 401, 8.
2Close Rolls, 1231, p. 363.
3Stokes, Part II, Ch. III.
Bonenfant was an active moneylender2 and became a Chirographer in1244 when Hak (Isaac), the son of Deudone (Jonathan), was dismissedfrom his post on the grounds of incompetence,3 and he was joined inthe office by the fourth Exeter delegate, Joseph Crespin.4
The Worcester tallage of 20,000 marks had scarcely been paid when,three years later, the king inflicted a tax of 60,000 marks upon theJews of England as a punishment for a dead child having been found inLondon who was supposed to have been murdered by the Jews.5 Exeterpaid its contribution towards this heavy fine, and when a sum of£31 6s. 0d. still remained to be settled, Joseph Crespin, theChirographer, undertook to be responsible6 for it. An Exeter residentnamed Deulegard (Shemaria) about this time removed from the city andsettled in Winchester where, in the year 1253, he rose to theimportant position of Chirographer.7
In the same year Exeter paid £3 15s. 0d. towards a totalcollection of £320,8 and in 1254 the communal fund of the localJewry gave £2, whilst a local debtor of Aaron, the son ofAbraham, of London, paid £10, and Bonenfant, the Chirographer,I2 marks - the total receipts amounting to £20, out of 1,000marks given to the king.9 Bonenfant was the pledge for another royaltallage in 125510 that was ordered to be paid to the king's brother,Richard Earl of Cornwall,11 to whom Exeter belonged and to whom thewhole of the Jewry of England had been sold in 1251 in return for asum of 5,000 marks paid into the Royal Exchequer,12 as well as forthe sum of £5 5s. exacted for another tax from Isaac, the son ofAbraham, an Exeter Jew. By about the year 1260, he was no longer inoffice and was succeeded by Lumbard Episcopus, the son of the famousbailiff, Deulecresse Episcopus.13 Both Bonenfant and his brotherSamuel - being men of wealth&emdash; were pledged to Edward, Princeof Wales - a practice of common occurrence, Jews being given by theking as sources of private income to various members of the royalfamily.14 In 1266 Samuel became converted to Christianity and as aconsequence,15 all his property reverted to the Crown.l6 Amandate
lCalendar of the Liberate Rolls, 11 p. 127.
2Rigg, I, pp. 135, 178, 179, 203.
3Ib., p. 82
4Ib. pp. 107, 132.
5Tovey, pp. 116, 120.
6Rigg, I, p. 75.
7Select Pleas of the Exchequer (Selden Society and JewishHistorical Society), p.23.
8P. R. O., E. 401, 20.
9Ib., E. 401,1566.
10Patent Rolls, 1255, p. 439
11Ib., p. 443.
12Tovey, p. 135. Madox, History of the Exchequer, p. 156.
13Rigg, I, p. 132.
14Ib., p. 203.
16Tovey, p.216. Close Rolls, 1254, p. 24.
A Receipt Roll of 1260 gives details of a new tallage of 500 marksdemanded from the Jewish subjects of king Henry.2 From this documentwe gather that Exeter Jewry is becoming reduced in circumstances. Therich Jacob of Gloucester has evidently lost most of his wealth, theunceasing royal tallages easily explain the cause, and he can giveonly the sum of 13s. He died about the year 1267.3 Lumbard Episcopuspaid 6s. 8d, Bonenfant 4 marks, whilst his brother Samuel, who wasconverted six years later gives 21/2 marks and Joseph, the son ofMoses, gives 4s., the total amounting to the modest sum of £86s. 4d. Towards a second tax of 2,000 marks in the same year,4 Exeteris unable to contribute anything, although a royal order had beenissued to the local Sheriffs, Constables of Castles, Mayors,Bailiffs, Chirographers and other officials of all Jewries includingExeter,5 to open the archae and to make a rigid search for theevidence of goods and chattels, jewels and pledges, lands and rents,belonging to the Jews everywhere.
About this period, a description of the local customs and businessregulations current in Exeter was written which is extant in the Cityrecords and has recently been published under the name of "AnAnglo-Norman Custumal of Exeter," by Professor J. W. Schopp and MissR. C. Easterling.6 There is an interesting reference to the Jewswhich reads as follows:7 "A plea of a Christian against a Jew couldnot be heard without Jew and Christian nor the plea of a Jew againsta Christian without Christian and Jew, and the Jew must give wage andpledge that he will pursue his plea and the Christian likewise thathe will stand to the law, and if he cannot find a pledge, he, theChristian, must be plevied by affiance." (i. e., he must be bailed bysolemn engagement). This law of the city is evidently based upon theancient Charter given to the Jews in 1190 by king Richard I andconfirmed by king John
1Rigg, I, p. 2I5. Concerning her house in the High Street, see p.236 In the Expulsion Report, there are four bonds for the sale ofcorn due to her and one tally for the sum of 2/-, see p. 237.
2P. R. O., E. 401/43.
3Rigg, I, p. 15l, where his widow Belia is mentioned. He hadbusiness dealings with Bonenfant in 1263, ib., p. 182.
4P.R.O., E. 372, 104.
5Tovev, p. 151.
6For the History of Exeter Research Group of the UniversityCollege of the South-West. M. Bateson, Borough Customs, I, p. xxvi.Historical MSS. Commission, Report on the Records of the City ofExeter, p. 387.
7Paragraph 65, p. 37.
The revolt of the Barons led by Earl Simon de Montfort againstking Henry from 1262 to 1267, which brought such havoc in the Jewriesof London, Canterbury, Bristol and other cities, did not touchDevonshire and the small Jewry of Exeter was left unharmed by thegeneral disorders. As the seal of the Exchequer of the Jews in Londonhad been stolen during the civil war, certain six deeds were orderedto be placed in the safe charge of the Exeter Archa.2 About this timeJacob Baszyn of Exeter was murdered in Oxford, probably by thesoldiers of the rebellious Barons.3
A new local celebrity now appears on the scene in the person ofJacob Copin.4 In 1266 he was appointed Chirographer in place ofLumbard who had died,5 his sureties for good conduct being Bonenfantand Deulecresse le Chapleyn (Capellanus) or le Prestre - this lattertitle, according to Dr Joseph Jacobs, the great authority uponAnglo-Jewish history, describing the Hazan or Precentor of thecongregation.6 After the death of Joseph Crespin, his son Jacob tookhis place as Chirographer7 and remained in office for many yearstogether with Jacob Copin. The latter continued to be one of theleaders of the local community and the most prominent money-lenderuntil a few years before the Expulsion.8 On one occasion, in the year1270, he was on a visit to the village of Newton, where he transactedbusiness,9 when he was assaulted by Robert of Buleshill, Christianahis wife and William Le Layte. Copin brought an action against themand they absconded, the Sheriff being ordered to arrest them andbring them to justice.10 The king would not allow anyone to ill-treathis Jews, who were so valuable a source of income to him. In the sameyear a charge was brought against three of the principal financiersof Exeter, Copin, Samuel, the son of Moses, and Deulecresse leChapleyn, concerning a dispute about a debt, but the plaintiffsfailed to appear and they were fined.11 Towards a tallage of 5,000marks in 1272, Copin is the only Exeter contributor mentioned in theReceipt Roll, paying into the royal coffers in the last year of kingHenry's long reign the sum of £20, probably on behalf of thewhole community.12 The new king continued the demands upon
1A. E., pp. 143, 212.
2Rigg, I, p. 148.
3Ib., p. 201.
4The name Cophin occurs in Exeter records. Cartulary of St.Nicholas, No. 341-(1162); Chapter Rental, Nos. 100-147-(1265).
5Ib., p. 135.
6Jewish Ideals, p. 205. Stokes, p. 21.
7Rigg, II, p. 52.
8See p. 236.
9Among his clients was Paulinus of Newton in 1271.
10Rigg, I, p. 242.
11Ib., p. 261.
12P. R. O., E. 401, 1567.
The year 1277 saw the last of the tallages of which any recordexist. From the first, king Edward obtained the sum of £40 fromhis Exeter Jews out of £1,000 levied upon the Jewries,5 whilstthe final impost of 25,000 marks6 met with complete failure, whichwas the natural result of the passing of the statute de Judaismo twoyears previously. The increase in the Exeter payments towards the endof the tallage period in response to the royal demands bearstestimony to the improved position of the local congregation underthe rule of the Chirographers, Copin and Crespin.
In this year also a very serious charge was brought against thetwo chiefs of the Jewry.7 A certain Robert Fichet8 of the village ofSpaxton in Somerset had died owing an Exeter Jew, Solomon, the son ofSolomon, the sum of £80. Hugh, the son of the deceased debtor,was a minor, and his guardian, in settling the Fichet estate,asserted that the debt was not owing, but that Adam the clerk of theChirographer had forged a deed on the suggestion of Solomon themoney-lender, after the death of Robert Fichet, and furthermore thatthe four Chirographers of the Exeter Chest had been parties to thefraud of placing this false document in the Archa.
1Rigg, II, p. 13.
2P. R. O., E. No. 249, 16. The local clergy frequently acted astaxcollectors. See Close Rolls, 1294, p. 326, where the Prior of St.Nicholas is instructed to receive the local taxes.
3Ib., E. 401, 1568.
4Muniments of Westminster Abbey, No. 6933 (dated 1272). Rigg, I,p. 297.
5P. R. O., E. 401, 1572.
6Ib., E. 401, 1573. Only two Jews contributed small sums.
7Rigg, II, p. 140.
8In 1266 he had been a client of Aaron of Caerleon. Ib., p.134.
Two years passed during which Jacob Copin continued to lend moneyto many of the gentry and clergy and farmers in Devon and Somerset,3frequently taking their houses and lands in pledge,4 his principalcompetitor being Amite (or Amiote), the widow of his friend Samuel,the son of Moses.5 In 1276 his son Blakeman came under suspicion ofbeing guilty of clipping the coin of the realm, together with ten
1Rigg, II, p 145.
2Ib., pp. I9~193, 200, 218, 258.
3A list of his debtors is given in the deeds found in the Archa atthe expulsion.
4To pledge land for debts was of frequent occurence. In 1235,Jacob of Exeter, Abraham the son of Moses and Fauntekin (Bonenfant),obtained land in this way (Close Rolls, p. 103). In 1250, the land inthe High Street, next to the house of Bartholomew Boschet calledBilebury, is pledged to the Jews (Archives of the dean and Chapter ofExeter, No. 3). In 1254, Robert del Estre pledged his lands. (CloseRolls, p. 84).
5Details of bills belonging to Amité are given in theInquiry Report after the Expulsion, see p. 237. Samuel and Copin wereoften partners in money transactions. In 1270, a royal licence wasissued, allowing them, together with Gamaliel of London, to sell adebt (Patent Rolls, p. 494).
A complete change in the affairs of the Jews of England took placewhen, in the year 1275, the king and Parliament enacted the Statutede Judaismo, which prohibited usury to the Jews.6 The heavy exactionsof the royal tallages had almost exhausted the supply of Jewish moneyand by one act of legislation the Jew was forbidden to follow thepursuit in which kings of England had encouraged him for two hundredyears.
Trading in wool and corn was allowed7 and in Exeter this soonbecame a profitable industry in which many of the local Jewsengaged.8 When shortly afterwards the severity of the provisions ofthe Act of 1275 was mitigated, and a very
IThe other defendants are Benedict of Wilton, Ursell, IsaacEricun, Aaron of Dorchester, Jorin the son of Isaac, and James dcFenys.
2See my Paper on "Pre-Expulsion Bristol". Trans., XII.
3Close Rolls, 1284, p. 278.
4Abrahams, Expulsion of the Jews in Jewish Quarterly Review, VII,p. 256. Calendar of Fine Rolls, I, p. 113. Tovey, p. 210.
5See my Paper on the Domus Conversorum. Trans., IV, p. 26.
6Tovey, p. 200. Abrahams, Jewish Quarterly Review VII, p. 244.
7Richard of Devizes (ed. Howlett, p. 437) writing in the year1192, says, " Exeter feeds men and beasts with the same corn."
8In the Official Enquiry Report at the Expulsion, details aregiven, see p. [?]
It is possible that this unhappy change in the fortunes of thelocal Jewry was the outcome of the Synod held in 1287 at Exeter bythe Bishop, Peter Quivil.3 The Church had begun a violent campaignagainst Anglo-Jewry. In 1284, John Peckham, the Archbishop ofCanterbury, had issued a decree4 that in London all Synagogues exceptone should be demolished and no Synagogues in private houses shouldbe allowed. Pope Honorius IV, two years later, addressed a Bull5 tothe Archbishop and his colleague of York denouncing the "accursed andperfidious" Jews of England who have done "unspeakable things andhorrible acts to the shame of our Creator and the detriment of thecatholic faith." The study of the Talmud, a book of "manifoldabominations, falsehoods, heresies and abuses," was specificallycondemned and the Church of England was enjoined to suppress theactivities of the Jews and to destroy any friendly intercourse withthem. This attack was followed in 1287 by the Bishop of Exetersummoning his clergy to a Synod whose edicts6 sought to protect theirflock against the insidious wiles of their Jewish neighbours. Theprevious ecclesiastical enactments against the Jews, specially thoseof pope Clement IV at the Synod of Vienne in 1267, were renewed,among which stress was especially laid upon the following:- that Jewsand Christians were not to visit each other or join in anyfestivities, as they appear frequently to have done7; that aChristian
1See Gross, Papers of the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition,1887, pp. 219-229, Appendix B. Chapitles Tuchaunz le Gywerie(Regulations concerning the Jewry) from Add MSS., British Museum,32085, ff. 120-121, dated about 1276.
2The tally debts are for small sums, see p. 236.
3G. Oliver, Lives of the Bishops of Exeter, p. 48. Quivil wasBishop from 1280 to 1291.
4Tovey, p. 302.
5Translation in Abrahams, Jewish Quarterly Review, VII, p.440.
6Mansi, Sacrosancta Concilia, XIV, pp. 1019-1076 (Venice, 1731)These edicts are based upon the decisions of the Church Council ofVienne in 1267 (Mansi, ib., pp. 363 ff.) and the Fourth LateranCouncil of 1215. See Jewish Encyclopedia, IV, p. 79.
7In 1286, Bishop Swinfield of Hereford excommunicated a number ofhis congregation for taking part in a Jewish wedding that was held"with displays of silk and cloth of gold, horsemanship andstageplaying, sports and minstrelsy". Ancient Customs of the City ofHereford by R. Johnson, p. 100.
should not take medicine from a Jewish doctor; that on Easter Day,no Jew should appear in the streets of Exeter and should keep hisdoors and windows closed; that the Jews should pay taxes to theparish clergy and the wearing of the badge of the Tables of the Lawwas to be strictly enforced. The thunder of the Synod of Exeter doesnot seem to have produced its full effect as the Jews continued totrade with their neighbours almost until the Expulsion three yearslater.
The old and new Archae were also opened at Westminster andfull details of their contents are reported These are divided intothree parts &emdash;
A. 143 bonds for money lent by Exeter Jews, and evidently stillunpaid, the earliest being dated 1237 and the latest I275, the yearof the Statute de Judaismo, the majority being of the years1270-1275. The highest amount on one charter is £60 (equivalentto-day to £I,500 ) lent by the famous Jacob Copin,and the lowest five shillings.
B. 24 tallies3 (inscribed wooden sticks used as vouchers forloans), recording sums ranging from 2/- to £3 13s. 3d - the fewthat are dated are marked by the years 1286 to 1289
C. 21 receipts for advances upon corn, at the price of half a mark(6/8) per quarter, dated from 1284 to the year of the Expulsion - thehighest transaction being for 60 quarters and the average being 20quarters.
lVol. 826. Part 5. There are no references to Exeter houses.
2E. 101, No. 249, 27, contains the report upon property. E. 101,No. 260, 2, gives the list of bonds in the Archa.
3Stokes, p. 80.
Some 80 towns and villages of Devonshire and a few inSomersetshire are named in these deeds.
Jacob Copin was the largest creditor, his 35 bonds amounting to£357 (=£1O,71O )&emdash;all of which hadremained unpaid between the years 1266 and 1275. To one debtor he hadlent £169 1Os. 0d (=£5,100 ) in two years,and his clients included Sir Robert le Denys, Richard Bullock thegoldsmith, who was one of the Christian Chirographers, two priests,Roger de Moleyns and Arnulf of Hunecroft, and numerous residents ofDevon and Somerset. It is somewhat surprising that at his executionthat took place about 1280, all his bonds had not been removed fromthe Archa, seeing that the property of condemned Jews escheated tothe king.2 His house was confiscated at his dcath3 as also was thatof Amité, the widow of Samuel son of Moses, who comes next toJacob in the amount of her business transactions. There are 36 deedsin her name, one owned by John Quynel, Rector of Shobrooke Church,some are for farm produce, the debts in all amounting to £2I5(equivalent to-day to £6,540 ). Next in order comeJacob Crespin, the Chirographer with £114 (value to-day£3,420 ), Isaac, the son of Moses, £89 (valueto-day £7,670 ), whilst Deulecresse le Prestre,the Synagogue official, had 17 debtors with bills for £75 (equalto-day to £2,250 ), including Sir Philip ofUppecote and a Christian capellanus (chaplain). Aaron, son of Jose ofCaerleon, owned £34 ( = £1,020) and Solomon, the son ofSolomon of the Fichet case £26 in debts (equal to-day to£780). Comitissa who lived in the High Strect, dealt in corn tothe value of £33 6s. 8d. for 100 quarters, and also had onetally to the value of 2/- entered in her name.
Altogether, the Exeter report contains the names of 25 men, one isanonymous, and 4 women, who were among the richest members of theJewry in the latter half of the I3th century. In the whole of theExeter records from 1181 to 1290 the names of 66 men and 12 women areso far known.
And thus the mediaeval Exeter community ceased to exist and itsmemory was revived in the middle of the 18th century when, in theyear 1763, a synagogue was opened in St. Mary Arches Street where itstands to the present day.
lAbrahams, Trans., II, p. 81, estimates total value of bonds, etc,at the Expulsion to be £15,000 (=to-day £450,000)
2In 1269 (Patent Rolls, p. 382) and 1275 (ib., p 126), lists ofExeter bonds in the Archa had been sent to the Royal Exchequer. InClose Rolls, 1279, p. 41, the order for confiscation of property ofcondemned men is given.
3Agarde's Index to Assize Rolls, Devon, Roll 54.
(to be corrected)
CARTULARY 0F THE PRIORY OF ST. NICHOLAS. British Museum. CottonMS. ~it. D. ix ff. Io6b-Io7.
I. La1~d ~Icld by Amidct~s t1le JCZL'. (l~'icho]s Collectanea~'o. 23I.)
I. Sciant presentes c~- futuri quod Ego Johannes Longus dedi ~-concessi et presenti carta mea confirmaui Jordano Lidene ij solidosredditus de terra que fuit Radulphi des chous in magno vico Exonieinter terram petri de palerne ~; terram que fuit Godekniht quamamideus iudeus tenet tenendam ~ habendam sibi ~- heredibus suis deme. Et heredibus meis imperpetuum iure hereditario reddendo michiannuatim & heredibus meis dimidiam libram piperis per annumseruicio ~ querela in Iesto sancti I~Iichaelis. Et pro hac donacionemea ~- concessione dedit michi prefatus iordanus duas ~larcas argentiin recognicione ut autem hec mea donacio & concessio rataimposterum perseueret illam tam presentis carte munimine quam sigillimei impressione confirmaui. Hiis testibus martino produme tunc maioreExonie Roberto ceruo Samsone Rof Gilberto boschet. Et multis aliis.(Date about I200).
2. Lidene prese~lts ~Jtis La~ld fo St. l~Ticllolas. (l~'ichols No.232.)
Sciant presentes 8~ futuri quod Ego Jordanus Lidene pro anima mea& patris & ~Iatris mea ~ omnium antecessorum &successorum meorum dedi & hac presenti carta mea confirmaui deo~- ecclesie sancti ~'icholai Exonie & monachis ibidem deoseruientibus in puram ~ perpetuam elemosinam redditum duorumsolidorum annuatim percipiendum de terra que fuit radulphi des chousin magno vico Exonie que jacet inter terram petri de paleme &terram que fuit Godel;niht quam amideus iudeus tenuit ad quatuor anniterminos scilicet ad festum sancti Johannis baptiste iijd. Ad festumsancti hlicllaelis iijd. ad natalem domini iijd. 'Ad pascha iijd. deme & heredibus meis libere quiete imperpetuum ut autem hec meadonacio Rata ~- stabilis semper perseueret presens scriptum cumsigilli mei iml)ressione eis dedi in testimoniulll. Hiis testibusI~Iartino Rof tunc maiore I~xonie. Thom~ Rof Et ~'illelmo bochet.tunc preposito. Et. aliis.
~Je~T~is~: E1rc~c~0pcdia ~, p. 2 ~
Cotton ~IS. ~Tit. D ix ff. I60d-I62. 3, M~iilia11~ Boz1J11 givcs~eil~ pa1d hy Marti1l l\'of to I~c~lccresse rpisCO t)1~5. (~'icllols~o. 37I.)
Sciant preselltes ~- futuri quod Lgo ~'illelmus ]307.un deClist dedi & conces~ . hac pr(senti carta confirlllauiI)eulecresse episcopo iudeorum E~;onie .~- heredibus suis quinquesolidos de redditu scilicct illos guinque solidos quos ~lartinus Rofrnichi c~- heredihus mei- soluere an~ .ttilll tenel)atur XXX denariosad pacc}la c~ denariuc ad festum sancti l~ichaelis de terra de clistqualll ille martinus ~ heredes sui de me c~ heredibus meis per cartamhal)ellt prout in eadcm carta continetur libcros ~- quietoj integros~ pacificos de me ~- heredibus meis li ~: heredil)us suis uel cuiillos assi~nare uoluerit. Reddendo indc annllatim michi ~ hcl-edibusmeis ~-num par calcarium de trillus denariis uel trcs denarios adpascha pro omnibus demandis ~ e.~.-accionibus .~- contradiccionibus.~os uero predictos colidos d( redditu Ego predictus ~'illelmui .~-heredes mei predicto l)eulecresse 8~ heredibus suis uel cui illosassi~nare uoluerit tellcmur ~-arantizare contra omnes homincs ~-fcmillas imperl)etuulll super omnes terras nostras ~ci omnes redditusnostris ~ omnia catalla nostra. I'ro hac autcm me a donacioneconfirmaciolle
arantizaciolle pl edictus deulc cress( michi dedit unam i~iarcamargenti. Ouocl ut ratum ~ in concessum imperpetuum permaneat 'presenti carta ~- sigilli mei impressione confirmaui. Hiis testibusLaurancio cissorc ~ Henrico picot tunc cyrographariis christianisarchae domini regis in Exonia I~Iartino Prodome. ~'illclmo fratreeius. Johanne ~losseo ]e turl~ ~ ursello sier (sic) Amiot tuncCyrograpllariis judeis predicte archae. Jacobo iudeo de Glouernia.Bonefei filio ~'saac l~losseo de Burdellus ~- multis aliis.
4. Dcl~lecresse Episcopl~s sclls to llIart~l Rof t7le la1ld tllatBozu~ ad sold to oe1(lecresse.
(Nichols No. 37~.)
Sciant presentes ~- futuri quod Ego Deulecresse episcopus iudeorumuendidi spolltanea voluntate mea ~artino Rof quinque solidataredditus quos ~'illelmus Bozull michi vendidit
& quos idem martinus annuatim dehuit reddere eidem ~7illelmode tenemento suo in clist tencnda ~ hahellda eidem I~lartino &heredibus suis rcddcndo inde annuatim michi & heredibus meisvllum par c~-rothecarulll albarllm. uel v~ m obolum ad pascha proomnia seruicio ~- per manllm meam ~- heredum meorum heredibus~'illclmi Bozull vnum par Calcarium alborum uel tres denariossecundum tenorem carte eiusdem ~'illelmi Bozun quam eidcm ~ illehllusmichi fecit quam eidem martino libcraui obscruandam in ~-arantum. Prohac autem vendicione dedit michi predictus martinus quadragintasolidos quos solui domino regi per manus iosepini de Bristollis quitunc temporis venit Exoniam cum littcris domini regis patentibus adcompcllendum iudeos soluere dcbita domini Regis. vt autem hacvendicione mea firma & stabilis imperpetuum permaneat presentiscripto in modum cyrographi composito cuius altera pars reposita fuitin archa cyrographorum sigillum meum apposui. Testibus phillipo destokes ~- Henrico picot tunc cophrariis christianis Jacobo iudeo deGloucestre & mosseo le turc tunc cophrariis iudeis HyllarioBlundo tunc maiore Exonie ~'altero le chaw. Johanne caperun. Martinoprodome. ~Tillelmo prodome vrsello genere .~mlot bonefei filioysaac.
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