|Notice that Jews were expelled from England for 365 years, from 1290 to 1655. Why all the expulsions? Because Jews were not Christians, that's why. People had been taught to hate Jews.|
There isn't much history of Jews living in England until the Norman conquest in 1066 after which a handful of financiers had followed William the Conqueror from the Continent of Europe where Jews had lived in France and Germany. "William the Conqueror's victory at the battle of Hastings in October 1066 was followed by six years of campaigning, which irrevocably established the new king's grip on England. In the succeeding decades, the Norman kings and their followers expanded their power into Wales and Lowland Scotland. Rashi, the Jewish biblical commentator, lived in Troyes, France and Worms, Germany. (1040 to 1105 during this memorable period)."
In the next generation, communities were established in London, York, Bristol, Canterbury and others. They traded, lent money to the baronage, and above all, advanced funds for current needs on the security of the revenue to the Crown, which protected them.
By 1144 a Ritual Murder accusation was brought against Jews in Norwich, but what did Englishmen know about Jews? Nothing, since Jews abhor the idea of anyone eating blood of any animal let alone a human's blood. It is so against the Laws of Kashrut (Jewish laws about food) that only certain portions of an accepted animal such as a cow can be eaten, and then by a lot of soaking in salt water to wash away any trace of blood plus cooking it to being over-cooked. You'd think they'd stop to try to find out something more about Jews other than they had money to lend.
|Jewish home in Lincoln, England|
|1182 expulsion of French JewsIn the year 1290, the last of the 16,000 Jews expelled by King Edward I left England. King Edward had banned usury and forced Jews over the age of seven to wear a badge identifying them as Jews.|
|Jews expelled from England in 1290|
During this Middle Period from 1290 to 1655, a duration amounting to 365 years, no Jews lived officially in England. By the 16th century, there was a Marrano colony in existence which was discovered and broken up in 1609. (Marranos were former Jews who had converted to Christianity through force, and most still practiced Judaism as best they could, like not eating pork, not working on Saturdays, etc.)
Finally, in 1655, Manasseh ben Israel went to negotiate with Oliver Cromwell for the readmission of the Jews. He had only a partial success, but from then on, the presence of the new Marrano group was connived at and received official recognition in 1664.
|Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658, "General and Lord Protector."Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. I daresay he was not welcome in Catholic Ireland.|
The original Sephardi community was now populated by Ashkenazi immigrants from Germany and Central Europe who established their first synagogue in London in 1690 and then spread to the rest of the country.
They found there were no more important restrictions on the Jews, and no ghetto system was enforced as in Europe. After 365 years, violence against them was a thing of the past, even the JEW Bill controversy of 1753 lead to no serious molestation. "During the Jacobite rising of 1745, the Jews had shown particular loyalty to the government. Their chief financier, Sampson Gideon, had strengthened the stock market, and several of the younger members had volunteered in the corps raised to defend London.
Possibly as a reward, Henry Pelham in 1753 brought in the Jew Bill of 1753, which allowed Jews to become naturalized by application to Parliament. It passed the Lords without much opposition, but on being brought down to the House of Commons, the Tories made protested against what they deemed an "abandonment of Christianity." The Whigs, however, persisted in carrying out at least one part of their general policy of religious toleration, and the bill was passed and received royal assent." After being allowed to enter England in 1690, they were not allowed to become citizens for 63 years!
|"Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, 1st Baronet, FRS (Leghorn, Italy, 24 October 1784 – 28 July 1885) was a British financier and banker, activist, philanthropist and Sheriff of London. Born to an Italian Jewish family, he donated large sums of money to promote industry, business, economic development, education and health amongst the Jewish community in the Levant (modern day Israel)."|
By the 19th century, Sir Moses Montefiore was active as a knighted Jew. He took a leading part in Jewish philanthropy.
|Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild was a British banker and politician. He became the first practising Jew to sit as a Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom.|
From 1829 onward, reasons to hold back the Jews were erased, partly from his good works and Lionel de Rothschild was admitted to parliament in 1858. From 1881, the older community was strongly reinforced by an immigration of refugees from Russian pogroms. They soon adapted themselves to the English Jewish way of life under the Chief Rabbi, Board of Deputies of British Jews, and in London, the United Synagogue. Coming from Russia's Pale of Settlement, they would have been observing the Orthodox way, only to find that England had gone either conservative or reformed in most cases.
New communities of importance existed in Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester and other places.
More Jews arrived from Germany in 1933 to 1939 which helped to stimulated a weak and short-lived organized anti-Semitic movement. England was the only important European country to escape the Nazi persecutions of the Holocaust, but the air bombardment of the principal cities and scattering of the Jewish population changed and weakened the traditional Jewish life in many cases.
My grandfather (1870-1912) Nathan Goldfus moved to England from Lithuania before 1900 and anglicized his name to Goldfoot. He then moved to Dublin, Ireland where he found some Lithuanian relatives, and after a few months hopped a boat to Canada and finally reached Council, Idaho of all places.
The Jewish population of Great Britain with Northern Ireland included is estimated to have been 330,000 in 1990. It dropped by 2011 to 263, 346. I had met several English Jews in Israel from 1980-1985 who had made aliyah when I had, too. Evidently they were allowed to have dual citizenship like us Americans, but I remember one friend from England who was under the assumption that if he accepted Israeli citizenship he would lose his English citizenship, and that he didn't want to do. I guess he had misunderstood the rules. An American couple I knew did give up their American citizenship.
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia; England