Medieval Jewish Settlements in Oxford

Giaconda's Blog

The Crypt at Oxford Castle – built on Anglo-Saxon foundations

The first Jewish settlers arrived in Oxford not long after the Norman Conquest, around 1075AD residing in the commercial heart of the city at St Aldates which became known as Great Jewry Street, close to the original C8th oxen ford from which the settlement got its name and inside the line of the Norman city walls shown on the map below. They engaged in the usual commercial activities allowed during the medieval period – trading, medicine, pawn-broking and money lending. It is estimated there were around 90 Jewish families in Oxford in this phase. They were the only Jewish community mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086.

The Jewry was located on St Aldates within the city walls

Why did the Jews settle in Oxford at this time? It is thought that William the Conqueror encouraged Jewish re-settlement from Rouen…

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