Money and the hangman in late-13th-century England: Jews, Christians and coinage offences alleged and real (Part I)

In 1290 England saw the first lasting, national expulsion of Jews in Western Europe, initiating a pattern later to be followed by others. Various explanations of the king’s action were offered by a range of chroniclers. Contemporary comment on the scelera, or crimes, of the Jews (it is not clear whether the reference is to the Jews’ rejection of Jesus and to the events surrounding his crucifixion or to contemporary crimes), and on the Jews’ monetary offences (including the clipping and counterfeiting of coins), is to be found both in English records and chronicles as well as in the responsa of Rabbi Meir son of Baruch of Rothenburg.((For usury, forgery and corruption of money, see The Chronicle of Walter of Guisborough Previously Edited as the Chronicle of Walter of Hemingford . . . , ed. H. Rothwell (London 1957) 226. Scelera are noted, for example, in the 1290-1 Lord Treasurer’s

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