The History of the Jews in England


This page provides a brief overview of both the history of the Jews in England and the varying position that the Jewish community held in England over 600 years.

Although there are many specific details of the settlements, development, and progression of the Jews in England between the years 1066-1655, a single general pattern emerges: Jews came, were subject to increasing persecution, and eventually all expelled from England. This general pattern defines the course of the Jews in England until shortly after Shakespeare's death.

Entry--Increasing Persecution--Expulsion

(click on a date if you want additional information)

Summary of History

1066 -Jews enter England

1144 -first ritual murder charge, or case of "blood libel" involving William of Norwich

1189 -the Third Crusade

1194 -Crown establishes Exchequer of the Jews

1217 -English Jews made to wear yellow badges

1255 -blood libel case: Hugh of Lincoln

1265 -rising influence of Italian bankers makes Jewish financial services superfluous

1269 -Jewish rights gradually restricted

1290 -Jews expelled from England


1589 -Marlowe's Jew of Malta performed

1594 -execution of Roderigo Lopez

1597 -Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice

1655 -Manasseh Ben Israel negotiates with Cromwell for re-admission of Jews into England

The Stage History of Shylock / Index Page / Geocities