NORTHAMPTON


NORTHAMPTON, town in central England. Its Jewish community, first mentioned in the 12th century, was one of the most important in medieval England. In 1194 representatives of Anglo-Jewry were summoned there to apportion among themselves a levy of 5,000 marks for ransoming Richard I from captivity (The Northampton Donum). Northampton had its own *archa. Though expelled from Northamptonshire in 1237, Jews were allowed to remain in Northampton itself. In 1263 they were attacked by the baronial rebels and took refuge in the castle. A ritual murder accusation occurred apparently in 1277, the repercussions and consequences of which were much exaggerated by historians. Several local Jews were executed in London in 1278 for coin-clipping. The community continued in existence until the expulsion of 1290. R. Isaac b. Perez of Northampton was one of the most distinguished medieval Anglo-Jewish scholars. A small community was established at the end of the 19th century and in 1969 numbered approximately 300. In the 2001 British census, its population of declared Jews was 322. There was an Orthodox congregation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

I. Abrahams, in: JHSEM, 1 (1925), lix–lxxiv; A.J. Collins, in: JHSET, 15 (1946), 151–64; Roth, England, index. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Jolles, The Northampton Jewish Cemetery (1994); idem, A Short History of the Jews of Northampton, 1159–1996 (1996); idem, "The Presence of Jews in Northamptonshire," in: Northamptonshire Past and Present, vol. 57 (2004);

[Cecil Roth]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.