Sunday, May 17, 2020

Why Britain Kicked Out All Jews in 1290

Nadene Goldfoot
Jewish people had first entered England at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066 when William the Conqueror had actually invited them to live in his country.  First, a handful of financiers followed William to his country.  They settled in London, York, Bristol, Canterbury, etc.  They found work at trading, lending money to the baronage, and mostly advanced funds for current needs on the security of the revenue to the Crown.  From that first time, Jews had been under the protection of the crown.  
William the Conqueror, a Norman, born 1028

William had established a complicated feudal system where lords were created and their lands belonged to the king.  The lords had financial obligation to the king, and Jews were able to help with this higher mathematics, being more skilled in reading and writing and math due to their religion causing them to survive economically as merchants because they were not allowed to own land.  Merchants and Jews were thus under a special status involving the king's protection.  They were needed men.   Every successive king formally reviewed a royal charter, granting Jews the right to remain in England.  

1144 was the first year they were accused of Ritual Murder in Norwich of a child named William.  This Blood Libel would be copied many times against Jews.  The Crusade Period had already seen the 1st two Crusades and Jews  were not molested then, but it was starting.  The 3rd Crusade from 1189-1190 saw riot all over the country causing much bloodshed mostly in London and York where the Jews' business bonds were burned.  

A system of registration of Jewish debts was set up in 1194.  This brought about a taxation system against the Jews of merciless taxation during the reigns of John from 1199-1216 and Henry III from 1216-1277. 


Son of King John, Henry III 1207-1272
Reigned from 1216-1272
Henry III required all Jews to wear an identification badge showing they were Jews.  " As early as 1217, King Henry III of England ordered Jews to wear "on the front of their upper garment the two tablets of the Ten Commandments made of white linen or parchment.
Another favorite mode of clothing in Germany and
for all were given this order from their Catholic Pope
pointed hats like an upside-down funnel.

By 1212, The archbishops of Canterbury, England received their Catholic papal letters saying that Jews had to wear identifiable clothing. It was the papacy who insisted on this need to ID all Jews so they could impose restrictions and segregation on Jews.  Another factor was that the Church wanted evidence of how the English Church implemented their papal  legislation.  1215's law insisted that Jews and Saracens be distinguished from Christians by the wearing of special clothing.  1221's edict ordered the enforcement of distinctive Jewish dress in Canterbury, as it was a protection against miscegenation between Jews and Christian women.  1229's letter talked about a complaint from William of Blois, bishop of Worcester, that Jews of Canterbury had continued to defy the state of the Lateran Council about wearing badges, and continued to have Christian servants in their households.  That was forbidden since 1215.  They were so afraid that Jews might prey on the naivety of young women to pervert them away from the Christian faith.                                                              

The Jews of Europe were legally compelled to wear badges or distinguishing garments (e.g., pointed hats) at least as far back as the 13th century. This practice continued throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, but was largely phased out during the 17th and 18th centuries. With the coming of the French Revolution and the emancipation of western European Jews throughout the 19th century, the wearing of Jewish badges was abolished in Western Europe.
German Jews forced to dress like this during same period. 

Jews did not enjoy any of the guarantees of the Magna Carta of 1215.

In 1239 Henry III introduced different policies, possibly trying to imitate those of Louis of France: Jewish leaders across England were imprisoned and forced to pay fines equivalent to a third of their goods, and any outstanding loans were to be released. Further huge demands for cash followed – £40,000 was demanded in 1244, for example, of which around two-thirds was collected within five years – destroying the ability of the Jewish community to lend money commercially. The financial pressure Henry placed on the Jews caused them to force repayment of loans, fuelling anti-Jewish resentment. A particular grievance among smaller landowners such as knights was the sale of Jewish bonds, which were bought and used by richer barons and members of Henry's royal circle as a means to acquire lands of lesser landholders, through payment defaults.
Henry worked at converting Jews to Catholicism.  "Henry had built the Domus Conversorum in London in 1232 to help convert Jews to Christianity, and efforts intensified after 1239. As many as 10 percent of the Jews in England had been converted by the late 1250s in large part due to their deteriorating economic conditions.  

 1255 was the year Jews were accused of another Ritual Murder case of Little Saint HUGH OF LINCOLN.  The event is considered particularly significant, as the first such accusation endorsed by the Crown.  Henry intervened to order the execution of Copin, who had confessed to the murder in return for his life, and removed (meaning moved them ) 91 Jews to the Tower of London. 18 were executed, and their property expropriated by the Crown. At the time, the Jews were mortgaged to Richard of Cornwall, who intervened to release the Jews that were not executed, probably also with the backing of Dominican or Franciscan friars.
Paying Taxes
The rules in those days forbid Christians to loan money with interest involved, but Jews had no such religious rules forbidding them, and the English kings took advantage of this.  That became all the Jews were allowed to do.  Then the kings took advantage of the Jews by taxing them more because of this. Kings could appropriate Jewish assets in the form of taxation.  "They levied heavy taxes on Jews at will, without having to summon Parliament."

They needed to be under their protection because of slander, for in the beginning of Christianity, this new religion had been finally taken over by the converted Roman Emperors who decided that they were in competition with Judaism and put Judaism down as the bad religion in comparison to their newly adopted religion, Christianity. From that time on there were all sorts of rules that were harmful against Jews, making them less than citizens.  Jews were being discriminated against.  

A hundred and ninety-one years went by, and by 1290, there were about 3,000 Jewish people living in England.  The entire Jewish population was expelled on July 18, 1290  from the country on the orders of Edward I.  They had to be out by their All Saints Day on November 1, 1290.  It shouldn't have been too big a surprise to Jews as the almost 200 years of existence there was fraught with increasing anti-Semitism each year.  
The Wandering Jew by Gustave Dore

Medieval England was especially hard on Jews. " An image of the Jew as a diabolical figure who hated Christ started to become widespread, and myths such as the tale of the Wandering Jew and allegations of ritual murders originated and spread throughout England as well as in Scotland and Wales."  An image of Shylock by Shakespeare was created by a man who had never seen a Jew and knew nothing about them.  
49 levies were imposed on Jews for a total of 200,000 marks, a vast sum of money. Henry III imposed greater segregation and reinforced the wearing of badges in the 1253 Statute of Jewry. "Henry passed the Statute of Jewry in 1253, which attempted to stop the construction of synagogues and enforce the wearing of Jewish badges, in line with existing Church pronouncements; it remains unclear to what extent the King actually implemented the statute.  By 1258, Henry's Jewish policies were regarded as confused and were increasingly unpopular amongst the barons.  Taken together, Henry's policies up to 1258 of excessive Jewish taxation, anti-Jewish legislation and propaganda caused a very important and negative change.
England showed more anti-Semitism than Europe did.  He endorsed the myth of Jewish child murderers.  This became a very popular charge against Jews saying that they needed the child's blood to use in making matzos. Again, this is a charge so far from truth that it's pathetic.  Jews NEVER eat blood from an animal, let alone a human.  It's against the dietary laws from Moses, one of the 613 laws that are followed, and this is an important one.  

Meanwhile, his court and major Barons bought Jewish debts with the intention of securing lands of lesser nobles through defaults. 

The Second Barons' War in the 1260s brought a series of pogroms aimed at destroying the evidence of these debts and Jewish communities in major towns, including London, where 500 Jews died, WorcesterCanterbury and many other towns.  The Jews were experiencing competition from Italian bankers at this time, making their services not needed.  Their rights were then restricted from 1269 onward.  England probably never had more than 5,000 Jews in all at a time.  

1275 was the year that the king came up with another anti-Semitic act with the Statute of the Jewry that said Jews could not charge interest in loans.  Thus they had 15 years to leave for they weren't allowed any other profession.  

1287 was the year King Edward expelled Jews.  "All their property was seized by the crown and all outstanding debts payable to Jews were transferred to the King's name. By the time he returned to England in 1289, King Edward was deeply in debt. The next summer he summoned his knights to impose a steep tax. To make the tax more palatable, Edward, in exchange, essentially offered to expel all Jews. The heavy tax was passed, and three days later, on 18 July, the Edict of Expulsion was issued."  Jews faced expulsion because of anti-Semitism's public pressure.                                   

One  story told of a captain taking a ship full of Jews to the Thames, en route to France, while the tide was low, and convincing them to go out for a walk with him. He then lost them and made it back to his ship quickly before the tide came back in, leaving them all to drown.   King Edward was said to be incensed and had the captain executed for the crime.  
Many Jews emigrated, to Scotland, France and the Netherlands, and as far as Poland, which, at that time, protected them (see Statute of Kalisz).  I note that Jews had to be invited by the ruler before they could enter, and were invited because of their math skills for all rulers needed financial help and probably couldn't add 2 + 2.  Then, when they felt they were on their feet, got rid of the Jews.                                     

In 1475 was another Blood Libel against Simon the Jew in Trent.  No proof in these cases of Blood Libel was ever produced, but confessions would be extracted from Jews by torture, and "miracles" in connection with the dead body were taken as proof that death was due to Ritual Murder.  Christians were becoming less gullible, however, and many fought the bood-murder charge and declared its absurdity.  Pope Gregory X defended Jews in his bull in 1272-Sicut Judaeis, and other popes did likewise.  
The Spanish Inquisition of 1492 by the Catholic Church forced not only all Jews from Spain, but all other countries copied them as they heard of the religious proclamation.  There wasn't a country where the Jews could hang their hat for more than a tiny bit of time and then they were off to the races again to stay alive.  
It is thought that America's Abraham Lincoln's ancestors were from Lincoln, England and had been Jews.  

Oliver Cromwell, an English general and statesman who led the Parliament of England's armies against King Charles I during the English Civil War and ruled the British Isles as Lord Protector from 1653 until his death in 1658., was the man who invited them to return in 1657.  Wonder why?  He had only a partial success at that.  In 1664 they had a Marrano (Spanish Jews secretly who pretended to by Christians)   group come to live in England.  In 1753, someone introduced THE JEW BILL, but it caused little harm.  

The Jewish population of Great Britain including northern Ireland in 1990 was about 330,000.  I met many English Jews in Israel from 1980-1985.  They were not allowed dual citizenship like I was from the USA.  

The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia  2 papal letters on the wearing of the Jewish badge

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