Mr Pepys’ contacts with the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of London*

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The first synagogue of the resettlement in Britain, that of the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation, Sha'ar Hashamayim, was opened on 19 December 1656 in Cree Church Lane in the City of London.((This was first and finally established in a classic study by W. S. Samuel, 'The First London Synagogue of the Resettlement' Trans JHSEX (1924).)) Its services were attended at various times by several Christian contemporaries who left written accounts. The first recorded visit was that of Thomas Violet, Jew-baiter and pamphleteer, in the spring of 1659.((Anon, 'The Great Trapanner of England Discovered'. See W. S. Samuel, 'Carvajal and Pepys' Misc. JHSE 11/3(1935) 24-9. )) The next visit was that of Samuel Pepys, who attended the service on the Sabbath, 3 December 1659, when prayers were said in memory of Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, the founder and leading figure of the congregation, for whom Pepys certainly felt some fellow-feeling, for Carvajal had died of an operation for the stone on 2 November 1659, at the hand of the same surgeon-Thomas Hollier-who had in March 1658 operated success? fully on Pepys himself.((W. S. Samuel (see n. 2) states, quoting a letter of Pepys, that both Carvajal and Pepys were operated on by the same surgeon, whom W. S. Samuel took to be Dr Pearse, but the new edition of the diary makes it clear that this was not so, but that Pepys' surgeon, and hence also Carvajal's, was Thomas Hollier.)) Pepys, a much younger man than Carvajal-only twenty-five-was more fortunate, and survived. In March 1662 John Green halgh visited the Synagogue on a Sabbath, thanks to his friendship with Samuel Levy, Sopher and Shamash to the congregation, and described it in a letter addressed to his friend the Reverend Thomas 0. Crompton, dated 22 April.((Trans JHSE X (1924) App. I, where Greenhalgh's long and very valuable account is quoted in full. See also A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England (London 1951)15-19. )) Then, on 14 October 1663, Pepys and Mrs Pepys, escorted by his friend Daniel Rawlinson, came again to Cree Church Lane Synagogue, this time to form a distinctly unsympathetic impression of the festive ceremonies on the eve of the Rejoicing of the Law.((R. C. Latham and W. Matthews, The Diary of Samuel Pepys IV (1971) 335; (hence? forth quoted as Diary).))

It seems that such visits of inspection by Gentile ladies and gentlemen were now becoming quite embarrassing, for on 17 Elul 5424 (8 September 1663), in their first supplementary Ascama, the Mahamad ruled that no Yahid (subscriber or member) should bring them and if they came, none was to rise or move to give them his seat; in other words, they should be ignored.((R. C. Latham and W. Matthews, The Diary of Samuel Pepys IV (1971) 335; (hence? forth quoted as Diary).))

But the new and complete edition of Pepys' Diary((Diary, Vols I-X (1970-1983).)) shows that Pepys also had a close and friendly connection, lasting some time,((As Pepys' journal stops in May 1669.)) with a couple of members of this Jewish community

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