Antonio Fernandes Carvajal, the founder of the modern Jewish community in Britain, was born in about 15961 and brought up in Fund?o, Portugal's cloth-producing town, for in 1656 he certified that he knew the parents and kindred of Antonio Rodrigues Robles in Fund?o.2 He lived and traded in the Canaries and Rouen and settled in London in about 1635. Having been baptized as a child in Portugal, where the profession or practice of Judaism was a capital crime, he and his wife conformed to Roman Catholic practice, while secretly observing Jewish rites in the privacy of their home. In London, as a subject of the King of Spain, Carvajal attended Mass at the Spanish Ambassador's chapel, but when England went to war with Spain in 1654, he and his sons took English nationality by endenization.3 They then converted to open Judaism, taking the names of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob on circumcision. Carvajal leased a house in Creechurch Lane, Aldgate, which he fitted out as a synagogue, and he leased land at Mile End for a Jewish cemetery. When he died, in 1659, he was buried there.4
The surname Carvajal is Spanish and means 'oak grove'. This is a trans? lation of the Portuguese word Carvalhal, which also means 'oak grove', by which surname he was known to his correspondents in Brazil5 and when he lived in Rouen.6 There are at least two places in Portugal named Carvalhal, one near the town of Barcelos and one three kilometers north of the city of Viseu. In the sixteenth century this was not described as a town or village but as a place, where a tin and pewter fair was held. It was usual for Portuguese men with common surnames like Fernandes, Lopes, Mendes, Nunes or Rodrigues to be distinguished from each other by adding their family place of origin to their surname. For example, the Rodrigues Mogadouro family came from the town of Mogadouro. The Rodrigues
1 In 1653 he gave his age as fifty-seven. Trans JHSE XXIV (1976) 52, citing HCA 13/70.
2 Calendar of State Papers Interregnum cxxvi/ 105II, cited in Trans JHSE I (1895) 79.
3 W. A. Shaw (ed.) Letters ofDenization and Acts of Naturalisation . . . 1603-1700, Publication of the Huguenot Society XVIII (1911) 68.
4 Trans JHSE Mise VI (1962) 4.
5 J. Goncales Salvador, Os Crist?os-Novos e 0 Comercio no Atl?ntico Meridional 1530-1680 (S?o Paolo 1978)267.
6 C. Roth, 'Les Marranes ? Rouen: un chapitre ignore de Phistoire des Juifs de France', Revue des etudes juives (1929).
Miranda family came from Miranda do Douro (according to David Rodgrigues Miranda). The surname Fernandes Carvalhal points to a fore? bear living in Carvalhal. Since it was a small place, Carvalhal is an unusual surname.
In 1568 the Coimbra Inquisition arrested one Leonor Nunes, the wife of Antonio Fernandes, a shoemaker of Carvalhal, and convicted her of aposta? tizing to Judaism. It is the Sephardi custom for the eldest son to be named after his paternal grandfather.7 The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that Antonio Fernandes Carvalhal