Starrs of Aaron of York in the Dean and Chapter Muniments of Durham

IN the Dean and Chapter Muniments of Durham there are five 13th century documents1 with Hebrew inscriptions which relate to the activities of Aaron of York.2 Aaron was born in the last quarter of the 12th century in York. His father, Jose, who was one of the leaders of the Jews of that city, perished with the rest of the community at York Castle in 1190.3 Aaron, at that time a child, managed somehow to escape. He later returned to the city where a new Jewish community was established and became its leading personage. In 1236 he was appointed to the highest position in English Jewry, that of Arch-Presbyter, secular head of the Jews in England.4 This office, which had been founded in 1199 and of which he was the third incumbent, he held until 1243. Aaron was a financier whose transactions were countrywide. His clients included many leading members

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