THE DOMUS CONVERSORUM

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I have brought with me this evening a few photographs connected with the Old Hospital for Converted Jews in London, but I do not intend to read you a long paper or give you a detailed history of the House.

The fact is that my friend, Mr. William Hardy, has recently read a very elaborate paper on the subject before the Society of Antiquaries, and has also published the substance of it in a Magazine, and there is no need for me to repeat what he has written. I shall be contented if I tell you enough to make you feel some interest in the photo? graphs.

You all know, I daresay, that King Henry III. founded this Hospital for Converts in Chancery Lane, which was then called " the Street called New Street, in the Suburbs of London, running between the Old Temple and the New." The first Temple or House of the Knights Templars was founded in Holborn, and was removed to its present site in Fleet Street in 1185.

Soon after the foundation of the Hospital, Matthew Paris, the Monk of St. Albans, who spent his life in writing a history of England, tells us (iii. 262) that " Henry III. built a decent church, fit for a conventual congregation, with other buildings adjoining, at his own expense, in the place where he had established a House of Converts, for the ransom of his soul and that of his father, King John, and all their ancestors, in the 17th year of his reign, that is to say, in London, not far from the Old Temple, To this house converted Jews retired, leaving their Jewish blindness, and had a home and a safe refuge for their whole lives, living under an honourable rule, with sufficient sustenance without servile work or the profits of usury. So it happened that in a short time a large number were collected there.

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And now, being baptised and instructed in the Christian law, they live a praiseworthy life under a Governor specially appointed."

In one of the manuscripts of this history of Matthew Paris, now in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, of which part is supposed to

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Church for Converted Jews, from a MS. of Matthew Paris (Brit. Mus. MS. Boy., 14 C. vii.).

be written by his own hand, there is a drawing of a church in the margin, intended as an illustration of this passage.

I have brought with me a coloured facsimile of this drawing and also an enlarged copy of it.

It is a question whether this is really a picture of the Chapel itself or whether it is merely a typical church drawn in the margin to call attention to the passage, without any idea of representing the actual building, just as a crowned head might be put in the margin opposite a passage referring to a king, without any intention of its being a portrait.

I have here also a

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