Medieval Southampton and its Jews

The story of medieval Southampton Jewry cannot be understood except against the back? ground of the topographical development of the town, and its activities as a port; important then as now.

‘Clausenturn’ was the Roman name for that part of Southampton where they maintained a garrison. Clausentum was probably occupied by the native Britons after the Roman with? drawal from the country in about 411 c.e. At a much later period this Roman area of Southampton became known as Bitterne.

The Saxon settlement in Southampton was situated in what is now the suburb of Northam, around St. Mary’s church. The Saxons knew the town as ‘Heantun’, or ‘Hamtun’, and the surrounding district as ‘Hamtun-Scire’. The name ‘Ham Tun’ is pure English. ‘Ham’ is home and ‘Tun’ is enclosure.


The name of ‘Hamtun’, with various spellings, continued in use until about the middle of the tenth century, when

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