KS4 – Migration; Expulsion of the Jews 800 years ago : now a topical issue – May 2022

Those of you teaching about medieval England or the new thematic study on migration may for GCSE might like to share this topic with your students to show that even an 800 year old  action is still the subject of apology today.The Church of England is to apologise for its “shameful actions” in passing anti-Jewish laws 800 years ago that paved the way for the expulsion of Jews from England.

A special service at Christ Church cathedral in Oxford on Sunday, marking the 800th anniversary of the Synod of Oxford, will be attended  the chief rabbi, with representatives of the archbishop of Canterbury and a Roman Catholic bishop.

The synod passed laws forbidding social interactions between Jews and Christians, forcing Jews to wear identifying badges, imposing church tithes on them and banning them from certain professions. They were also forbidden from building new synagogues.

By the late 13th century, further measures forbade Jews from owning land and passing on inheritance to their children. Hundreds were arrested, hanged or imprisoned. Eventually, all the Jews in England – 3,000 or so – were expelled under an edict in 1290 by King Edward I. They were not permitted to return for more than 360 years, until Oliver Cromwell passed the necessary legislation.

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