Was Moyse’s Hall, Bury St. Edmunds, a Jew’s House?

Moyse’s Hall, Bury St. Edmunds, is a very solid twelfth-century stone house, of which the undercroft and part of the first-floor hall are original, but which has been subject to many later additions and alterations. Half of the vaulted undercroft is Romanesque in style, and half early Gothic. Miss Margaret Wood, in her book The English Mediaeval House (London, 1965), dates the building c. 1180.

The reasons for believing that Moyse’s Hall was built for and owned by Jews are its date, style, and location, a local tradition, and above all its name. The argument against is that these all fail to prove the case. In 1895 and 1896 a fervent debate on this question took place between the Rev. Hermann Gollancz and Mr. Frank Haes, first in the columns of the Jewish Chronicle and then in Volumes II and III of the Jewish Historical Society’s Transactions. The matter was

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