Some Medieval Notes

Articles Image

In a paper read before this Society and published in its transac? tions some years ago, I hinted that medieval references to Jews and Jewish concerns in England were by no means exhausted yet: nor would be even if the publication of the Jewish Plea Bolls were com? pleted and followed by that of the Jewish Receipt Rolls. I pointed out that the general belief that all Jewish affairs were dealt with by the special Jewish Exchequer Was quite incorrect: and it followed that the corollary to this belief?that the very rich manuscript material relating to ordinary Exchequer procedure contained no Jewish material?was equally inaccurate. Looking through old and new notes on this subject after the war, I am more than ever struck with the amount of Jewish information in these " ordinary " Exchequer Records (and in other places) which would reward systematic and patient research. The Memoranda Rolls, for example, would, I am convinced, yield quite a harvest, though the items are scattered. Any * Jewish student who is contemplating medieval research ought at least to bear in mind the possibility of directing it along such lines as would enable him incidentally to garner some of this Jewish material. I annex, in summary, a few examples.1

In the first place I notice two excellent examples of a fact sug? gested in my previous paper?that Jewish items are frequently hidden in the ordinary Exchequer Records under such non-committal titles as De debitis jplurium. K.R. Sheriffs' Accounts 39/3 has the following heading :

Particule Johannis de Sancto Laudo vicecomitis Somers5 et Dors' liberate Thesaurario et Camerariis de Scaccario super puroforum suum ad clausum Pasche anno regni Regis Edwardi xijmo. Et sunt omnes tottales de Iudeissmo.

There follow details of the money the sheriff had received, and at the end is added in another hand :

Summa . x . libre . viii . solidi. iiij . denarii De quibus recepit vnam talleam de debitis plurium de scaccario recepte.


1 I am indebted for a number of these to my former student, Miss M. H. Mills.

This by itself would have been enough, had I known of it before, to prove the whole of my contention as to the treatment of Jewish matters by the ordinary Exchequer machinery. What does it tell us ? That the sheriff of Somerset and Dorset had paid in as part of his Easter " prof er" (part, that is, of his ordinary Pipe Roll account) moneys collected by him in connection with Jewish busi? ness ; that he had done this in the ordinary way, paying over to the ordinary officials of the ordinary Exchequer of Receipt, and that his tally (and consequently the entry of the transaction in the Pipe Roll and Receipt Roll) bore only the words " of the debts of various persons." No. 39/2 in the same series is a similar document.

Next we have two rolls from the series known as Exchequer L.T.R. Miscellaneous Rolls. The first of these (5/41) is called Particule proficui Comitatus: i.e.

Become a member to read the full article
Become a member today


24 hour access to JHSE online resources

Instant access to over 700 articles View the original articles as a PDF
Learn More


Annual JHSE Membership

Members are entitled to a free copy of the latest Jewish Historical Studies, free access to our online resources and associate membership of the UCL Library in London.  In addition, they receive the JHSE Newsletter, special offers on books for sale and pay less to attend our series of lectures and other public events.
Learn More


Student Membership

The JHSE want to encourage students to engage with Jewish history.  Apply for a Student Membership with your university email account and once we have verified your status you will soon have all the benefits of being a full JHSE member.
Learn More


Associate your Institution with the JHSE

Give your members access to JHSE online resources and special offers on book sales.  Use your institutional email account when applying, and once your status is verified we will explain the scheme.  Preferred payment is by credit or debit card.
Learn More

Your Cart