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29 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

A Day in the Life of 13th-Century England
In 1272 Henry III died and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Edward I became King though he would not be crowned until 1274.

Edward was on a Crusade at the time of his accession and was absent for two years. On his return he made Robert Burnell, Bishop of Bath and Wells, his Chancellor and set about an inquiry into local administration to find out the rights and possessions of the King, what encroachments had been made upon them, which officials were negligent or corrupt, which sheriffs concealed felonies, neglected their duties, were harsh or bribed.

Land became a commodity. The Jews began to trade land for money with the penniless peers of 13th-century England. Land was often mortgaged to the Jewish moneylenders. As they grew richer and more powerful, they became more and more hated.

In 1275 the Statute of the Jewry was issued. It laid down the rules by which a Jew must lead his life. Jews could buy land but could not own it for more than a few years.

Edward I
Edward I
EDWARD I (1239-1307)

  • King of England from 1272 to 1307
  • Reorganised the judicial system, and fought campaigns against Wales and Scotland hoping for a united Britain
  • Won Wales but lost Scotland
  • Also lost Aquitaine
  • In 1290 he expelled the Jews
  • Married Eleanor of Castile and afterwards Margaret of France
  • Died deeply in debt in 1307

did you know?
William the Conqueror brought Jewish moneylenders to England. They became objects of hate and in 1189 there were widespread massacres of Jews.

No Jew shall lend anything at usury, either on land or rent or anything else.

Usuries shall not continue beyond the feast of St Edward last.

No distress for a debt owing to a Jew is to be made upon the heir of the debtor named in the Jew's deed or other person holding the land.

All Jews shall dwell in the King's own cities and boroughs, where the chirograph chests of the Jews (the boxes in which the moneylenders kept promissory notes) are wont to be.

Each Jew, after he is seven years old, shall wear a distinguishing mark on his outer garment, that is to say, in the form of two Tables joined, of yellow felt of the length of six inches and of the breadth of three inches.

Each Jew, after he is 12 years old, shall yearly at Easter pay to the King, whose serf he is, a tax of three pence, and this be understood to hold as well for a woman as for a man.

They may live by lawful trade and by their labour and they may have intercourse with Christians in order to carry on lawful trade. But no Christian for this cause or any other shall dwell among them.

Select historical period

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Chronology
1264Second Barons' War
1265De Montfort dies at Battle of Evesham
1271Marco Polo goes to China
1272Henry III dies
Edward I becomes King
1274Edward returns from his Crusade and is crowned King
1277Edward begins his campaign in Wales
1290Edward expels Jews from England
1291Edward arbitrates over Scottish succession
1292John Balliol, King of Scots
1296Edward begins his campaign in Scotland
1306Robert I, the Bruce, King of Scotland
1307Edward I dies
Edward II becomes King

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