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Jacob Harris, bad boy founder of Sussex Jewry
Tuesday, 23 February 2021 | 7:45 pm - 9:00 pm£5.00
Beyond the medieval period, the first formal Jewish communities of Sussex were created in the later part of the eighteenth century. This does not mean that there was no Jewish presence before then. The first recorded Jew, or a man assumed to be so, was Jacob Harris (aka Hirschal Hirsch) who came to prominence in 1734 when he carried out a brutal triple murder in a small inn on Ditchling Common. After he was caught in Turner’s Hill, found guilty and hanged in Horsham, his body was returned to Ditchling Common where it was gibbeted and remained there for many decades. Eventually the body and gibbet cage fell away but the gibbet post remained and continued as a place of pilgrimage. It was known as Jacob’s Post.
This talk given by Professor Tony Kushner (Southampton University) explores who Jacob was, or might have been, and explores concepts of space in the remembering of and identification with Jacob Harris through to this day.