David of Oxford and Licoricia of Winchester: glimpses into a Jewish family in thirteenth-century England

This paper concerns the activities of a thirteenth-century Jewish married couple, David of Oxford and Licoricia of Winchester, and traces their descendants through three generations, to Licoricia’s nine grandchildren.1 The story is told chronologically, interweaving the themes of acceptance in and exclusion from the wider community, demography, mobility, marriage, divorce, education, employment, property and inheritance as the narrative progresses.

The history of the Jewish community of medieval England is relatively brief. The chronicler William of Malmesbury2 states that the Jews of London were brought from Rouen by William I (the Conqueror) as part of a policy of stimulating commercial development. In the half-century following the accession of Henry II in 1154, there was a new wave of immi? gration from both Angevin and Capetian territories. Stacey’s3 opinion is that the English Jewry was ‘in many respects an archetypical medieval Ashkenazic community. Almost all the structural features that characterized

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