Gloucester
© Marcus Roberts with original research and contributions by Ian Holt. Trail and Project Kindly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

History

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Medieval Community

The first mention of the Gloucester community is in 1159, when it was the smallest contributor to a tallage, though it could well have been in existence before this date, as documentary evidence is poorer before this time. The community was at the margins of Jewish colonization in England, which was centred on London, and which became more diffuse the further west and north, one travelled from the capital.

However, Gloucester offered important commercial opportunities for Jews prepared to settle there, as there was a royal castle in the city, a local mint, a cathedral and important monastic foundations, and because it was important for its port and control of the River Severn, as well as being a springboard for military adventures in Wales and Ireland.
Jewish communities were often found in the presence of a royal castle, or great baronial castle, as royal castles were mandated to give the local Jewish community security in times of tension and un-rest, as the Jews were the property of the king and under his protection and that of the local Constable of the Castle, as the king's local representative and keeper and administrator of the Jews. The Jewry also has proximity to the cathedral - cathedrals were often important customers.

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