The Strayings of Paul Isaiah in England, 1651-1656

On the 21 st August, 1663, Mr. Elias Ashmole, the antiquary (whose memory the University of Oxford still keeps green) was walking in and around St. Chad’s Church at Shrewsbury when he noticed a seven-year-old tombstone bearing an English epitaph which ended with four Hebrew letters. The use of Hebrew in epitaphs was not uncommon then in England, and Mr. Ashmole was a student of the language, his teacher having been a convert from Judaism, one Solomon Franco, as has been elsewhere related.2 Moreover, this appeared to be the grave of just such another convert, and so Ashmole made a careful copy of the inscription in a notebook already half-full of jottings from churches in Shropshire. This book has been preserved as MS. Ashmole 854 and this is his entry (p. 201):-

21 Aug. 1663. Shrewsbury. St. Chadds Church wch stands E.B.E. on a grave-stone at the West end of

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