Visit London’s Jewish Museum ©Jewish Museum London After the Norman Conquest of 1066, William the Conqueror encouraged the Jewish population of Normandy to come to England.
Relations were initially peaceful, but in the 12 centuries Jews suffered increasing persecution, culminating in their expulsion in 1290.
They were granted freedom of movement, but the king had the right to tax them as part of his personal income whenever he wished.
Jews were increasingly forced into money lending, which the Church banned Christians from undertaking.
After the Lateran Council of 1215, English Jews were forced to wear a white cloth badge called a ‘tabula’, shaped like the 10 commandments.
Finally, on 18 July 1290, an Edict of Expulsion was issued, giving Jews three months to leave the country.
The medieval Jewish community came to an end, as the refugees from England were absorbed into the greater numbers of the Jews of Europe.