COLCHESTER, country town of Essex, England. In the Middle Ages the town harbored a Jewish community, which ranked ninth in importance among the English Jewries in the *Northampton Donum of 1194. On the organization of the *Exchequer of the Jews , Colchester became the seat of an *archa for the registration of Jewish transactions. The Ashmolean Museum holds a mid-13th century bowl engraved in Hebrew probably owned by Joseph of Colchester. In 1277 a number of local Jews and Christians were involved together in a breach of the Forest Laws. On the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, nine houses owned by the Jews on Stockwell Street, as well as the synagogue, escheated to the crown. A short-lived Jewish community was established at the close of the 18th century. A congregation was established in 1957, and 27 Jews were living there in 1967. In 2004 the Jewish population numbered approximately 100.
Roth, England, index; Roth, in: AJA, 3 (1957), 22–25; J. Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England (1893), passim; J. Jacobs, Jewish Ideals (1896), 225ff,; Neubauer, in: REJ, 5 (1882), 246ff. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: JYB 2004; D. Stephenson, in: Essex Arcaeol. & Hist. Jnl. 16 (1983–84), 48–52; VCH Essex, 9 (1994), 27–28; M.M. Archibald and B.J. Crook, English Medieval Coin Hoards I, BM Occasional Paper 87 (2001), 67–142; H.G. Richardson, English Jewry Under the Angevin Kings (1960), index.
[Cecil Roth / Joe Hillaby (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.