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Re: Onward Christian Soliders
16 March 1190 The feast of Shabbat ha-Gadol, Jewish communities existed in
England during the middle ages, but their survival was often threatened.
King Henry II protected England's Jews, from whom he received financial
credit as well as a great deal of wealth through special taxation. After
Henry II died in July 1189, his oldest son, Richard I ("The Lion-Hearted")
was crowned at Westminster Abbey. When a Jewish deputation appeared at
Westminster with extravagant gifts on behalf of all of England's Jewish
communities, they were deny admission. Jews no longer enjoyed royal
protection they were open game.
The Crusades were at a fevered pitch, and an army of English Crusaders Was
preparing to join King Richard I in an attack on Moslems in the `Holy Land'.
As in other parts of Europe, the religious leaders of the Crusades
encouraged mobs to attack local Jewish communities before the armies set out
to fight the Moslems. In York, where local barons and burgesses who sought
the death of their financial creditors joined the Christian religious
leaders in baiting the local Cosa Nostra to attack. What the Lord God must
do when he sees what we do in his name.
The Jews took refuge in York’s walled castle. The armed mob besieged the
castle for six days. Submit to Christ be baptised or be perish. When on 16
March 1190 there was no more food a few of the besieged suicided. On 17
March the remaining approximately 500 Jews opened the castle gates in order
to accept Jesus and baptism they were to the man massacred.
The site of Clifford's Tower, the keep of York's medieval castle, bears
silent witness today to one the most horrifying events in English
anti-Semitic history It was all over money! What else..
This contemptible event was become the most notorious example of
anti-Semitism in medieval England. It was by no means an isolated incident,
It was the culmination of a wave of berserk actions that swept England in
.It was not to the interest of the Crown that barons and burgesses should
rid themselves of payments of moneys owing to the Jews by such forcible
measures. On his return to England, Richard, toward whose ransom the Jews of
England were made to contribute three times as much as the whole city of
London, introduced a system of registering in duplicate all debts held by
Jews. Thus, the taxes due to the king were safeguarded, the profit accruing
to the Crown as a silent partner in all usurious transactions. Under
Richard's successors, the Jews continued to be subjected to all kinds of
taxes, in the form of "tallages" on goods, chattels, and debts, of gifts,
offerings, ransoms, compositions, licenses, and fines. Payment was exacted
through imprisonment, confiscation of property, the seizing of women and
children, and even gouging out the eyes and other cruel methods. John
Lackland ( Richard's brother who signed the Magna Carta) extorted from the
Jews sixty-six thousand marks (1210). Abraham of Bristol refused to pay his
quota of ten thousand marks, by the order of the king, seven of this teeth
extracted, one a day, till he paid the levied sum.
Ref Dobson, R.B. Clifford's Tower and the Jews of Medieval York. (London:
English Heritage, 1995.)
Margolis, Max. L. and Marx, Alexander. A History of the Jewish People.
(Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1927.)
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