STATUE OF LICORICIA OF WINCHESTER UNVEILED

INFORMATION RELEASE

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.

Notes

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 mail@licoricia.org.

Contacts:

Licoricia of Winchester Appeal:

Office of the Chief Rabbi

  • Director of Communications Mark Frazer mark@chiefrabbi.org

The new book

  • Rebecca Abrams rebecca.abrams@gmail.com

Freylekh Klezmer Dance Band

  • Ilana Cravitz ilanacravitz@gmail.com

Further information on the Licoricia project: www.licoricia.org.uk

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HRH Prince of Wales – statement by The Licoricia of Winchester Appeal

Statement by the Licoricia of Winchester appeal trustees

10 February 2022 at 14.30

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 Covid 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.

Tony Stoller

Licoricia appeal trustee

07774 460422

Statue of Licoricia of Winchester to be unveiled by HRH Prince Charles on 10 February.

INFORMATION RELEASE 27 January 2022

THE PRINCE OF WALES TO UNVEIL LICORICIA STATUE ON 10 FEBRUARY

HRH The Prince of Wales will be unveiling the statue of Licoricia of Winchester on Thursday 10 February. The sculpture by Ian Rank-Broadley FRSS, which will be located outside The Winchester Arc (formerly known as Winchester Discovery Centre) in Winchester’s Jewry Street, will then be blessed by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, Ephraim Mirvis.

During his visit to the City, The Prince will meet a range of local people and children, as well as representatives from the different faith communities who have supported the Licoricia project and leading figures from Winchester and Hampshire.

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 trustees are deeply honoured that His Royal Highness has agreed to unveil the statue of Licoricia of Winchester. In doing so, The Prince marks the historic importance of the medieval Jewish community in Winchester’s royal past, and the continuing importance of strong inter-faith understanding.

“We also greatly welcome the presence of Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and other faith leaders. His blessing of the statue will celebrate the challenging history of Jews in England across a thousand years, and embody the continuing need to educate citizens of today about the relevance of their shared heritage in creating a better society.”

Contacts:

Licoricia of Winchester Appeal:

Office of the Chief Rabbi

  • Director of Communications Mark Frazer mark@chiefrabbi.org

Further information on the Licoricia project: www.licoricia.org.uk

Licoricia of Winchester Project Summary

The project is to erect a life-sized bronze statue at the Discovery Centre, Winchester (soon to be re-named the ARC), of one of the most important Jewish women in medieval England, Licoricia of Winchester. Using a top-class sculpture, a book, lessons for schools and inspirational activities, the aim is to educate the public about England and Winchester’s medieval Jewish community; to be a gateway to the study of Winchester’s Royal medieval past, and royal heritage in its wider context to promote tolerance and the value of diversity; inspire women and young people; and enhance the city.

  1. Aims
  • To educate people about Winchester’s important but little-known medieval Jewish Community in its wider context.
  • To inform them about Winchester’s significant Royal medieval past.
  • To promote tolerance and the value of diversity in the community.
  • To inspire young people and women, illustrating the role of education in providing opportunities.
  • To be of national interest and a lasting enhancement to the City of Winchester.

2. Messages from history

  • Jews were part of the English community from 1067 until 1290, having arrived after the Norman Conquest in 1066 nearly a thousand years ago. They contributed to the building of iconic places of worship such as Westminster Abbey and Lincoln Cathedral, and also other institutions, as well as to trade and culture.
  • Licoricia was a leader in her community and one of a handful of Jews, including women, prominently involved in finance. The Jews were restricted in the jobs they could do. Other occupations included doctors, teachers, scribes, poets, vintners, metalworkers and tradesmen.
  • A role model for women today: Licoricia was highly educated, like many Jewish women of her time, enabling them to be successful in their own right. Licoricia was twice widowed, ran her business and brought up her family as a single parent in a hostile society until she was murdered in 1277.
  • A sideways view of Medieval England from the perspective of the Jews, a community that was part of society yet was excluded from it. Jews arrived in England in 1067 with William the Conqueror. They made a huge contribution to English society and contributed to the building of iconic places of worship including Westminster Abbey, Lincoln Cathedral and Hyde Abbey in Winchester.
  • Jews were the property of the King, frequently persecuted by the Church, and taxed at will until they were too poor to be of any utility. As a result, those who would not convert to Christianity were forced out of the country by the Edict of Expulsion issued by King Edward I in 1290.

3. Lessons for today

  • Jews of the Middle Ages are an early example of a religious minority in the UK, and their story highlights the danger of the majority limiting the freedom of the minority.
  • As a minority, the Jews made an outsized contribution to England’s society and economy. Diversity of community creates cultural and commercial benefits.
  • Prejudice and antisemitic practices developed in the Middle Ages, much of them still in evidence today. Examples are false accusations of deicide, ritual need of the blood of children for Jewish procedures, connecting Jews with money. Action against the Jews included forced wearing of identity badges, forced conversion, legal restrictions and physical attacks. Education is the key to the elimination of prejudice
  • Progress on religious and racial tolerance has been made in society – today the UK is a vibrant multi-faith, multi-ethnic and multi-racial society – but there is further work to be done.
  • The education of women has provided them with opportunity. As a result, progress has been made by women in business and other areas of public life, but 800 years after Licoricia lived, women are still striving for equality.

4. Details of the project

  • The project includes
  • the production of the statue and its unveiling,
  • an exhibition to accompany the unveiling at the library,
  • leaflets,
  • the publication of a book
  • the writing and dissemination of Key Stage 3 lessons for schools by Hampshire County Council.

The sculpture

There are no known illustrations of Licoricia and in any case, pictures created at the time showed rank and occupation rather than being accurate portraits, so the sculptor has used as his inspiration his daughter and grandson, both of whom are Jewish. Licoricia is wearing the clothes worn by a wealthy woman of her time. Careful research has gone into her clothes and headdress, with input from, inter alia, the V&A, the British Museum, and the Jewish Museum in London. Although at that time, Jews were required to wear a tabula (a badge shaped like the two tablets of the Ten Commandments, in a different cloth to the clothes to make them stand out) she is not wearing them as many Jews paid fines for the privilege not to. In Licoricia’s hand is a demand from the authorities for the community to pay a special tax (or tallage).

The Jews were frequently and arbitrarily taxed as they and everything they owned belonged to the King. Licoricia’s son Asher (which means ‘happy’ or ‘fortunate’ –Genesis 30:13) is also depicted in mid-13th century clothes. In his hand is a spinning top, Carved with Hebrew letters. This is a dreidel, still used today by Jewish children, who ‘play dreidel’ during December at Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. The Hebrew letters signify “a great miracle happened there”.

Licoricia is seen purposefully walking ahead – a women with much to do and complex issues on her mind – whilst holding on to Asher’s hand, showing her commitment at the same time to her family.

On one side of the plinth are the words “Licoricia of Winchester and her son Asher circa 1250” and on another side are the words “Love thy neighbour as thyself” from Leviticus, in English and Hebrew. The choice of biblical quote is significant for many reasons. First, it is the embodiment of our message of tolerance and respect for diversity. Second, it binds together the three Abrahamic faiths. Third, the English translation used will be that of the King James Bible, much of which was translated in Winchester, bringing further link to the Christian community and the Cathedral.

The font used for the wording on the plinth was chosen after careful research. The English lettering will be in Albertus font which was devised by Berthold Wolpe, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. Albertus was a German philosopher and priest, living at the time of Licoricia, who studied Hebrew, Arabic and Greek texts and was especially renowned as a mediator. The Hebrew font used was inspired by a 12th century Anglo-Jewish text.

The sculptor

Following a competition involving sculptors both local and national, the commission was won by Ian Rank-Broadley FRSS. Ian is one of the UK’s leading figurative sculptors. His important commissions include the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum (Alrewas, Staffordshire), the effigy of the Queen used on UK and Commonwealth coinage between 1995 and 2018, and a statue of Diana, Princess of Wales for Prince William & Prince Harry at Kensington Palace.

The education project

Hampshire Inspection and Advisory Service (HIAS), the Schools Improvement Service for Hampshire schools and beyond, has written five lessons built on Licoricia’s story – a three lesson enquiry in which students discover what the extraordinary life of Licoricia of Winchester reveals about medieval society generally and how it treated its Jewish community, and a two lesson enquiry, exploring the medieval history of Winchester and what it reveals about the experience of the Jewish minority who lived there. They also explore how the experience of medieval Jews and Licoricia’s perceived significance has changed over time and why. They provide a meaningful local study in which to learn about the attitudes, power structures, relationships and events that affected the lives of the Jews of the time. These groundbreaking lessons will be available from Hampshire’s History Curriculum Centre for £50 (01962 874802, E-mail: history.centre@hants.gov.uk).

The book

Rebecca Abrams has written a book aimed at a wide audience, which the Licoricia of Winchester Appeal hopes to publish in the first half of 2022. This book gives a lively account of Licoricia’s life, the city of Winchester at that time and the Jewish community within it, and the story of England’s thirteenth century Jews. It will be beautifully illustrated.

Funding

Over 90% of the funding for the project has come from private sources, the remainder being welcome support from Arts Council England. Major donors, grant-making bodies and local faith communities have joined more than 100 local individuals to make this project a reality. There is still the need to raise some further funding, and donations are invited at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Licoricia.

Licoricia statue visited at the foundry

Last Friday the trustees visited the foundry where Licoricia has been cast, and were bowled over by the statue. It is in bronze and is having final touches made to it. It looks fantastic and will be a huge aesthetic contribution to Winchester. The final steps are now to patinate it, and this will occur in January. We plan our VIP unveiling to take place in February.

November 2021 newsletter

November 2021 Newsletter

Dear Supporter

Since our last newsletter in June, we have made exciting progress, both in our financial goals and in practically implementing the project.

Fundraising

We have now raised our £150,000 initial target to pay for the statue, Key Stage 3 lessons and book, and are now moving on to fundraise for an interpretation board to accompany the statue, a video on the project and its aims, to be accessed via QR code, and the unveiling.  We also wish to build up a contingency against possible cost increases when budgeted costs for the plinth and groundworks, for example, are put out to tender. 

Statue

Figure 1  Licoricia being assembled at the foundry after casting into bronze.

The life-sized statue has now been cast into bronze and is being assembled.  The assembly does not so far include Asher apart from his feet.

We expect to unveil the statue in spring 2022 and will be in touch with details.

Illustration for the book

Figure 2 Licoricia in the Great Hall by Lucille Dwek

Lucille Dwek has painted an illustration for the book, which we hope eventually to display in Winchester, of Licoricia with Henry III in the Winchester’s Great Hall.   There is nothing like a picture to bring the past to life, and Lucille has created a very atmospheric rendition of the Great Hall as it might have looked in the thirteenth century.

Book

Rebecca Abrams has completed her manuscript of 40,000 words.  We are very pleased with the book which is engaging, informative and accessible.  We are currently investigating publishing opportunities.

Exhibition

Plans are advanced for a pop-up exhibition to accompany the unveiling at the Discovery Centre with the support of Hampshire Cultural Trust.  The exhibition will take the form of four or five panels with interesting information and background, and a link to our film.

Lessons

Hampshire County Council (HCC) has finished the lessons having put an enormous amount of effort into them.  There are now four detailed lessons (20 to 30 pages each) and a glossary.  They will shortly be making them available to Hampshire schools for free and to schools elsewhere in the country for £50.  These lessons are ground-breaking and provide a new approach to the period, as well as teaching our important lessons for today. 

We were really pleased to be contacted by the Bitterne School in Southampton, which has created its own lessons on Licoricia, and to learn that the Hasmonean School in London has visited Winchester to learn about her.  The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) is helping us find an educator who will be able to put together further lessons for us, to be available free from our website.  William will address the CCJ AGM in late November.

Collaborations

We are very excited that Winchester Cathedral will hold a series of talks about Licoricia after the unveiling, some online and some at the Cathedral or other Winchester venues. 

Thank you

We continue to receive so much goodwill around the project and are spurred on with your enthusiasm.  Thank you for your continued support.  If you or your friends and contacts are able to help move us forward, do donate either directly or through Just Giving  (https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/Licoricia) which can be accessed via our website http://www.Licoricia.org.

We look forward to keeping in touch.

With best wishes from

The Licoricia of Winchester Team