Migration – If England was the safest place in Europe for Jews to live in Henry II’s reign, why then did Edward I expel them just 100 years later?

By posing this enquiry question in a slightly paradoxical way, students are encouraged to go deeper in the explanation than simple anti-semitism. Having steered them through a simple narrative covering the Jews in England 1066-1290, looking all the time for long- medium- and short-term factors, students are then asked to explore a range of given factors for themselves in order to categorise the types of causes often cited by historians. The lesson concludes by showing the fruits of most recent scholarship. How close did students get with their own thinking?

Introduction

Pose the paradox that needs explaining: if the Jews were so important to the medieval economy why were they expelled. Add a further level of complication. In the reign of Henry II they were treated well. So what could possibly have gone so disastrously wrong for the Jews who were destined never to return for another 250 years!

Step 1

Remind students of the role that the Jews played in the medieval economy using slide 2 for prompts, before repeating the paradox on slide 3. This slide then explains the next step.

Step 2

Using slides 4-8 to help you, outline the way the treatment of the Jews fluctuated

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