10 February 2022
STATUE OF LICORICIA OF WINCHESTER UNVEILED
On behalf of HRH The Prince of Wales, who had tested positive for Covid 19, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Nigel Atkinson Esq today [Thursday 10 February] unveiled the statue of ‘Licoricia of Winchester’ in England’s historic royal capital. The project was then blessed by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis. The sculpture, crafted by leading UK figurative sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley, is installed outside The Arc in Winchester’s Jewry Street.
Licoricia was a leading personality in the Jewish community of Winchester in the 13th century. Despite being widowed twice, she successfully brought up her family, conducted her business and prospered in a hostile society. She was a major financier to Henry III and his Queen, Eleanor. Money raised from Licoricia and from the estate of her second husband David contributed to the building of Westminster Abbey and its rich shrine to Edward the Confessor.
The project to install a statue of Licoricia aims to inform people about England’s little-known but important medieval Jewish community; to be a fresh gateway to the study of Winchester’s royal medieval past; to promote tolerance and diversity in today’s society; to inspire women and show the importance of education in providing opportunity; and to be a lasting artistic enhancement to the city of Winchester.
Maggie Carver, Chairman of the Licorica appeal, said:
“The Licoricia of Winchester Appeal has greatly welcomed the interest and support that the project has received from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. We are naturally disappointed that a positive Covid test has frustrated The Prince of Wales’ intention to unveil the statue today, but we thank him for his message of support. We wish His Royal Highness a speedy and complete recovery and look forward to welcoming him to Winchester and to see the statue at a later date.
“The statue of Licoricia of Winchester marks the historic importance of the medieval Jewish community in Winchester’s royal and the continuing importance of strong inter-faith understanding. We welcomed the presence of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and so many other faith leaders. The Chief Rabbi’s blessing in the company of leading representatives of all the major faiths of England celebrated the challenging history of Jews in England across a thousand years, and embodied the continuing need to educate citizens of today about the relevance of their shared heritage in creating a better society.”
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Keith Mans, said: “Hampshire County Council is delighted to have supported the Licoricia Appeal with their inspiring project which seeks to promote tolerance and diversity by telling the fascinating life story of an extraordinary medieval Jewish woman. The statue of Licoricia is a wonderful gift to Winchester providing a new landmark for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Licoricia’s story will be brought to a general audience in a new book Licoricia of Winchester: Power and Prejudice in Medieval England. The rise and fall of a remarkable Jewish businesswoman by Rebecca Abrams, to be published later this year, which brings the story of this remarkable woman to a general audience. An inspiring chronicle of her personal resilience and determination to stand up to power, it also situates Licoricia and her Jewish community in the wider context of thirteenth century England, a time of profound social and political change. In so doing, it exposes the historic roots of English antisemitism and reveals how they continue to inform negative anti-Jewish myths and stereotypes still potent in the world today.
The atmosphere of the day enhanced by the playing of klezmer musicians from the Freylekh Klezmer Dance Band, featuring some of the best-known names on the UK and international klezmer scenes. The seven musicians, playing traditional klezmer music, included fiddle, sax, accordion, euphonium, guitar, double bass and poyk (traditional percussion). Led by Ilana Cravitz, they played at the unveiling ceremony at The Arc and then again in the civic reception the Great Hall.
Fuller details of the Licoricia project are set out in the attached project summary.
Photographs are attached. Further photographs are available from the Licoricia of Winchester Appeal Trust email@example.com.
Licoricia of Winchester Appeal:
- Tony Stoller firstname.lastname@example.org 07774 460422
- Danny Habel email@example.com 07710 331910
Office of the Chief Rabbi
- Director of Communications Mark Frazer firstname.lastname@example.org
The new book
- Rebecca Abrams email@example.com
Freylekh Klezmer Dance Band
- Ilana Cravitz firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on the Licoricia project: www.licoricia.org.uk