The Jews Patch

  • 26 Oct 2020
  • Church Curiosities
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There was undoubtedly a considerable number of Jews living in Worcester in the Middle Ages and, as at other places, they did not have an easy time here. In 1218, Henry lll issued a writ to the Sheriff ordering him to require all Jews wherever they walked or rode abroad within or without the city, to fix on the head of their outer garments two white patches of cloth, parchment or other substance. In 1261, the King issued a writ directed to the Sheriff to inquire concerning the property of the Jews in Worcester. In 1282, the Jews signed the inquisition in Hebrew characters that their property was owned jointly, not in severalty, with the result that they formed a colony of their own. Owing to the property being held jointly, the Exchequer did not get any duty on the death of the Jewish owner.

In 1263, at the storming of Worcester, the rebel barons plundered the Jews so completely that Matthew of Paris said that Judaism in Worcester was destroyed - yet in spite of this, nine years later they had again acquired considerable property in Worcester. We do not know in which part of Worcester they lived, and the only locality that kept the name of Jews was the 'Jew's Patch', a plot of ground on Pitchcroft where now Severn Terrace stands and the car park behind it.