VILLAFRANCA DEL PANADÉS, town near Barcelona, in Catalonia, N.E. Spain. Jews apparently first settled there at the beginning of the 12th century; the community belonged to the collecta (tax administrative unit) of Barcelona. The earliest extant record of its existence, dated 1207 and signed by the bailiff of Barcelona, concerns the selling of its revenues. Solomon b. Abraham Adret refers to the relationship between the Villafranca community and that of Barcelona in one of his responsa (vol. 3, no. 401).
More information on the Villafranca community is available from the mid-14th century. R. Ḥasdai Crescas, grandfather of the illustrious Ḥasdai Crescas, negotiated with the community around 1345 concerning its contribution to a loan destined for Pedro IV's campaign in Majorca. After 1346, Salomo de la Cavalleria, Vidal de Tolosa, Vidal de Beders, and Isaac b. Moses Ḥen are known as community trustees (ne'emanei hakahal). The names of two of them, Vidal de Tolosa and Vidal de Beders, show they were of French origin. When riots broke out following the Black *Death in 1348, Pedro IV ordered that measures be taken to protect the community; he repeated these instructions in 1353. During the 1391 persecutions the fate of the community of Villafranca was similar to that of *Barcelona. John I ordered that the Jews be protected, but after the rioting subsided he asked for a list of Jewish property left intestate by the victims, so that it could be handed over to the crown. Nothing further is known about the community.
Baer, Spain, index; Baer, Urkunden, 1 (1929), index; A. Cardoner Planas, in: Sefarad, 1 (1941), 332ff.; A. Lopez Meneses, ibid., 19 (1959), 127.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.