World-famous as a royal fortress and prison, the Tower of London is also one of the most substantial standing remains of medieval England’s Jewish history. From the mid-twelfth century to the expulsion of the Anglo-Jewry in 1290, the Tower was both a place of imprisonment and of refuge for hundreds of Jews.
The Constable of the Tower had sole authority to arrest and imprison the London Jewry and even Jews arrested elsewhere in the country were normally transferred to the Tower. Yet, the Constable was also charged with protecting the city’s Jews during pogroms and the Jewish community even helped defend the castle from a siege by rebel barons in 1267. This two-year project explores the Tower’s central place in this complex story of coercion and coexistence.
The findings of the project and the biographies of prisoners can be found https://www.hrp.org.uk/about-us/research/the-jewish-history-of-the-medieval-tower-of-london/