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English Jews


    Jews arrived in England from Normandy with William the Conqueror and the Normans after 1066. It is unclear whether these Jews, most of who were involved in finance, had received any charters or invitations or whether they arrived in England as aliens without any rights from the start. The fortune of the Jews of England deteriorated very rapidly. Although because at first they were needed, they received protection, but soon hostility developed, their assets were expropriated and they were expelled within two centuries.

    During the twelfth century the Jews of England enjoyed the right to inherit property and benefited from more rights than Christians whose lives were very limited by the feudal system. By the end of the century, however, the king shifted from borrowing money from the Jews to taxing them heavily. As a result, in 1187, during the reign of Henry II (1154-1189), tillage of one quarter of their possessions was imposed on the Jews of London.


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