Testimony from the margin: the Gloucester Jewry and its neighbours, c. 1159-1290

The foundation of Gloucester’s Jewry was but a small part of a much wider process – the Jewish colonization of twelfth-century England.1 By 1189, the end of Henry II’s reign, a network of more than twenty communities, each with its own religious and social facilities, had been established throughout England, southeast of a line from York, through Nottingham and Hereford, to Exeter. It is by close individual studies of such communities that a clearer picture of the character of Jewish society in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England can be built up. As yet only a few have been submitted to this process. At Gloucester the history of the medieval Jewry can be placed in the wider context of the neighbouring communities at Hereford and Worcester, but not, so far, of Bristol to the south.

Two major studies of English provincial Jewries have been published, Cecil Roth’s Jews of Medieval Oxford (1951)

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