A Chronology of the Jews in Britain



Before 1066

No real evidence of presence of Jews in Britain

Late 11th Century

William the Conqueror brought Jews from Rouen to London


Important disputation between Gilbert Crispin (Abbott of Westminster) and a Jew

12th Century

First Charter of Protection to Jews in England

March, 1144

William of Norwich, the first Ritual Murder charge against Jews in the medieval period.


Ibn Ezra visits London

March 1167 or 1168

Harold of Gloucester ritual murder charge.


Jews of England had had to use the burial ground in London, but in 1177 were permitted to purchase burial grounds outside any city where they lived


Jews forbidden to hold Arms


First Arch Presbyter of the Jews appointed


Death of Aaron of Lincoln who was considered one of the wealthiest men in England

3 September, 1189

Coronation of Richard Lion-Heart led to a series of massacres of Jews

16/17 March, 1190

Massacre in York

Late 1194.

First steps towards establishment of the Exchequer of the Jews

10 April, 1201

King John confirms Charter of the Jews. It cost them  4,000 marks

1 November, 1210

Unprecedented Tallage on Jews

15 June,1215

Magna Carta. Two clauses concern debts due to Jews

30 March, 1218

Jewish badge introduced, only strictly enforced after 1253


Jews expelled from Leicester. This proved to be the start of a host of expulsions from various cities and towns

16 January, 1232

Domus Conversorum established in London

31 January, 1253

Restrictive measures against Jews

August, 1255

Hugh of Lincoln ritual murder charge

April, 1264

Attack on the Jewry in London and elsewhere

24 November, 1275

Statute of the Jewry


Jews ordered to attend sermons delivered by Dominican Friars

18 July, 1290

Edict expelling Jews

1290 -1656

The period between the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 and their readmission in 1656 is generally called ‘The Middle Period’. Although there was no Jewish community during this period, Jews visited Britain from time to time for various reasons and some Marranos established themselves in Britain for periods of time

31 October, 1655

Humble address from Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell. A fortnight later on 13 November he submitted a petition for the readmission of Jews to England

December, 1655

Whitehall Conference to discuss the petition. Dissolved by Cromwell before it reached a decision


Although no formal agreement on readmission, Jewish residents of London began living openly as Jews

December, 1656

First Synagogue established after Readmission

February, 1657

First Cemetery acquired in Mile End

14 October, 1663

Samuel Pepys visits the Synagogue on Simchat Torah


Bylaws (Ascamot) of new community agreed

22 August, 1664

Jews granted Royal protection

January, 1667

Jews allowed to swear in Court on the Old Testament

February, 1674

Jews indicted for holding a service, but the King stopped the proceedings against them


Start of practice of presenting each Lord Mayor with a gift


Court venue changed to avoid a Jew having to give evidence on a Saturday


Establishment of first Ashkenazi Synagogue

2 February, 1697

Site acquired for first Ashkenazi cemetery


Jews admitted as brokers on the Royal Exchange

20 September, 1701

Bevis Marks Synagogue inaugurated


Great Synagogue founded

24 June, 1702

Act to oblige Jews to maintain and provide for their Protestant children

20 March, 1705

Hambro Synagogue founded

Late 1714

Publication of John Toland’s Reasons for Naturalising the Jews in Great Britain and Ireland, on the same foot with All Other Nations


Talmud Torah attached to the Great established, which became the Jews’ Free School  (JFS) in 1817

18 October, 1747

Establishment of the Sephardi Jews’ Hospital (Beth Holim)


Enactment and repeal of the ‘Jew Bill’

14 December, 1760

Foundation of Board of Deputies

May 1761

The New Synagogue founded


Beginnings of Western Synagogue

17 December, 1776

Official fast to wish success against the rebels in America

17 April, 1782

Death of the Baal Shem of London

Late 1787

Conversion of Lord George Gordon

19 October, 1803

Official fast for success in the war against France

16 April, 1804

Establishment of The London Board for Shechita

14 April, 1809

Three Royal Dukes visit the Great Synagogue


Establishment of Jews’ Free School (JFS)


Jewish Blind Society founded


University College London founded, the first university in England to admit students regardless of race, class or religion


Marriage Registration Act recognising Board of Deputies as a competent authority


Successful mission by Moses Montefiore to secure release of Jews in Damascus accused of a blood libel

15 April, 1840

Religious split in London Community

Late 1841

Voice of Jacob and Jewish Chronicle founded

17 January, 1842

West London Synagogue of British Jews opened

31 July, 1845

Act for the relief of Persons of the Jewish Religion elected to Municipal Offices

18 August, 1846

Religious Disabilities Act. The Jewish religion was no longer connived at, but was placed under the protection of the law

July, 1847

Lionel Rothschild elected an MP, but unable to take seat because oath included the words “on the true faith of a Christian”


Jews College founded

23 July, 1858

Oaths and Jewish Relief Acts

26 July, 1858

First Jew (Lionel Rothschild) takes seat in House of Commons


Unsuccessful mission by Moses Montefiore to Rome to secure release of Edgardo Mortara


Foundation of the Board of Guardians (subsequently Jewish Care)

28 June, 1868

Disraeli appointed Prime Minister

14 July, 1870

Establishment of United Synagogue


Formation of Anglo-Jewish Association


Start of mass immigration


Establishment of the ‘Jewish Ladies’ Society for Preventative and Rescue Work’

28 July, 1885

Death of Sir Moses Montefiore

April, 1887

The Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition

6 November, 1887

Formation of Federation of Synagogues

September, 1889

Jewish Tailors Strike

10 December, 1890

Public meeting protesting against condition of Russian Jews


Shechitah dispute and formation of the Machzike Hadath

November, 1891

Foundation of ‘The Maccabeans’


Schism at Hampstead Synagogue


Foundation of Jewish Historical Society of England


Foundation of the Jewish Lads’ Brigade

17 January, 1896

First version of Herzl’s The Jewish State published in Jewish Chronicle


Foundation of Brady Street Boys’ Club


English Zionist Federation founded


Anti-Jewish disturbances in South Wales

18 October, 1902

Inaugural service of the Jewish Religious Union which led to the formation of the Liberal Jewish Movement

23 April, 1903

The Uganda Project

August, 1903

Report of the Royal Commission on Aliens leading to the 1905 Aliens Act

12 January, 1904

The Limerick ‘Pogrom’

19 August, 1911

Anti-Jewish riots in Tredegar


The Marconi Scandal


The Indian Silver Affair


Foundation of Oxford and St George’s Girls’ Club

March, 1915

Formation of the Zion Mule Corps.

24 May, 1917

Anti-Zionist manifesto by the Conjoint published in the Times

July, 1917

Formation of a Jewish Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers

2 November, 1917

The Balfour Declaration

8 December, 1917

Allenby captures Jerusalem


Jewish Memorial Council founded

13 July, 1919

London Jewish Hospital opens for out-patients

January, 1920

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion first published in Britain

25 April, 1920

Palestine Mandate assigned to Britain

October, 1930

The ‘Passfield’ White Paper

April, 1933

Community Undertaking regarding Jewish Refugees from Germany

July, 1935

Formation of Defence Committee by Board of Deputies

4 October, 1936

Formation of Jewish People’s Council and ‘The Battle of Cable Street’

7 July, 1937

‘Peel Report’ published

May, 1939

White Paper on Palestine

11 May, 1941

The Great Synagogue, Dukes Place, destroyed in an air raid

17 December, 1942

Confirmation of extermination of Jews by Nazis announced to House of Commons

March, 1945

Last German V2 rocket on London kills 130 persons, nearly all Jewish

March, 1946

Formation of the ’43 Group’

22 July, 1946

Bombing of King David Hotel, Jerusalem

8 May, 1948

Establishment of the State of Israel


Establishment of Jewish Book Week

October, 1956

The Suez Affair


The ‘Jacobs’ Affair

10 May, 1991

War Crimes Act


Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain founded


Bloom’s in Whitechapel Road closes

6 May, 2002

Solidarity Rally in Trafalgar Square in support of peace in Israel

Source: Jewish Historical Society of England