Jews and Law in England 1190-1290


Location: London Global Gateway

Professor Paul Brand, FBA (Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, University of Oxford) discusses Jews and Law in England 1190-1290 at the London Global Gateway.  

View Jews and Law in England flyer (118k PDF)

Registration is required:

About the lecture
The first Jews to settle in England only arrived after the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The first normative texts governing the status and activities of members of the Jewish community in England seems to have been a charter or more likely two charters of privileges granted some time during his reign by King Henry II, king of England from 1154 to 1189. These do not survive but their main contents are known from the subsequent pairs of charters granted by his sons Richard (in 1190) and John (in 1201). Among other things, these charters granted the community substantial autonomy in intra­communal disputes and made special provision for disputes between Jews and Christians. Although these charters were being confirmed as late as 1271, the main normative texts controlling the Jewish community’s activities from 1194 were in the form of royal legislation. The main focus of this legislation was on controlling the money­lending activities of the community in the interests both of the Crown, which benefited both directly and indirectly from those activities, and of individual Christian debtors, but in 1275 the Crown prohibited by statute any future money­lending at interest by Jews. English thirteenth century legislation also echoed the ecclesiastical legislation of the period intended to controlling social contact between individual Jews and Christians and impose other social controls on the Jewish community. The end of the Jewish community in England came with the Expulsion of the community from England in 1290. There seems to have been no formal legislation authorising the Expulsion, simply a withdrawal of the king’s protection from the community and their ‘abjuration’ of England. Thereafter its only Jewish inhabitants prior to the sixteenth century seem to have been the converted Jews living in the House of Converts in Chancery Lane in London that had been founded by King Henry III or, more successfully, in the wider Christian world outside London.
Speaker Biography
Paul Brand was born in London on Christmas day 1946. He was educated at Hampton Grammar School in Middlesex and at the University of Oxford where he took a degree in History in 1967 and was awarded a doctorate in History in 1974. He was an Assistant Keeper at the Public Record Office in London between 1970 and 1976 and a Lecturer in Law at University College, Dublin between 1976 and 1983. In 1983 he became by choice a private researcher, working and writing on English legal history in London, and in 1993 was appointed a Research Fellow of the Institute of Historical Research in London. In 1997 he was elected a Fellow of All Souls College Oxford, became a Senior Research Fellow of the same college in 1999 and the college’s Senior Dean in 2011. In 2014 on retirement he was elected an Emeritus Fellow. In 2010 he became Professor of English Legal History in the University of Oxford. He was a Visiting Professor at Columbia University Law School in 1995 and 2003 and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Merriam Visiting Professor of Law at Arizona State University in 2000 and in 2013 became a William W. Cook Global Law Professor at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. He has been a member of the Council of the Selden Society since 1990 and a Vice­President since 2002; Honorary Treasurer of the Pipe Roll Society since 1992; a Fellow of the British Academy since 1998; a Vice President of the Jewish Historical Society of England since 2007; an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple since 2014. His main publications include: The Origins of the English Legal Profession, 1992; The Making of the Common Law, 1992; The Earliest English Law Reports, vols. I, II, 1996 and vols. III and IV, 2005 and 2007; Kings, Barons and Justices: The Making and Enforcement of Legislation in Thirteenth­ Century England, 2003. He was also editor, translator and compiler of the introductions and appendices to volumes I and II of The Parliament Rolls of Medieval England, 1275­-1504 which appeared in 2005 and editor and translator of Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews, vol. VI which also appeared in 2005.
This event will take place at Fischer Hall (1 Suffolk Street, London SW1Y 4HG)