Lincoln is exceptional because of its Jewish heritage: you will find no other place in the UK with as many surviving Medieval Jewish houses.
The three extant Jewish stone houses in Lincoln all have associations with leading Jewish financial and scholarly figures, such as Aaron of Lincoln and Rabbi Berechaiah of Nicole.
The earliest mention of a Jewish community in Lincoln was in 1159, originally brought to England by William the Conqueror as his ‘mobile bank’. The community here was second in importance only to London, remaining in the city until the Expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290.
There is a remarkable link between the city’s Christian and Jewish history - Bishop Hugh of Avalon was a hero to the community having saved it from the returning Crusaders in 1190 and been a benefactor of it all his life.
A Jewish community still exists today, the third on record after the Medieval community and a brief settlement in the 18th century, which meets in the historic Jew’s Court believed by some to be the original Medieval synagogue.
The legacy of the population, wealth, and scholarship of the Jews in Lincoln throughout history can still be seen today.
Thanks to JTrails for the information and content in this trail which is from the JTrails Lincoln Jewish Heritage Trail. JTrails is an initiative of Anglo-Jewish historian Marcus Roberts and is supported by English Heritage, the HLF and Lincolnshire Jewish Community. There is also a national Jewish Heritage Trail available on the JTrails website and JTrails also organises guided tours of Jewish Lincoln.
1159: The earliest mention of Jews in Lincoln, who had been brought to England by William the Conqueror as his financers.
1125-1186: Aaron the Jew, who lives in Lincoln, is the greatest of all the medieval Jewish bankers, ranking administratively with a Knight.
1186: Hugh of Avalon is appointed as Bishop of Lincoln. He is a great benefactor and protector of the Jewish community.
1190: The Lincoln Jews are attacked by returning Crusaders, but saved by Bishop Hugh, who also saved Jews in Northampton.
1200: Bishop Hugh dies on November 16th, and is deeply mourned by Lincoln Jews.
1255: A young Christian boy, known as Little Hugh, dies in an accident. The Jews of Lincoln are accused of murder five weeks afterwards, without evidence by Bishop Lexington. Eighteen Lincoln Jews are executed at the Tower of London in consequence.
1255-1280: Lincoln Cathedral’s Angel Choir is constructed with gifts from pilgrims to the shrine of Little Hugh.
1290: All the Jews of Lincoln are expelled in the general expulsion of the Jews from England. Financial assets of 62 Jews are listed, most with houses on Grantham Street or St Martin’s Parish. Jews would not be readmitted to the country until 1655 by Oliver Cromwell.
1655-1867: A number of prominent Jews live in Lincoln during this time until the arrival of the railway brings more competition and the decline of the Jewish community.
1992: A third Jewish community is established in Lincoln, holding their services at Jew’s Court.
Discover a world of rich history at Lincoln Castle, dating back to 1068 and home to one of only four surviving copies of Magna Carta.
One of Europe’s finest Gothic buildings, once the tallest in the world, with stunning views from the roof and tower and intricate design inside.
The ruins of the medieval home to the Bishop of Lincoln, dating to the 12th century, found in the shadow of Lincoln Cathedral.
This stone building, on Steep Hill, dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest surviving, domestic buildings in the UK.
Lincoln Jew Jonas Lazarus occupied 12 Steep Hill in 1849 as his place of business and home.
A replica of a Medieval, anti-Semitic roof tile can be seen on the roof of the shop at 55 Steep Hill.
A Grade I listed, 13th century building on Steep Hill, traditionally thought to be on the site of a Medieval Synagogue and now a historical book shop.
One of the oldest and most important domestic dwellings in England, located on Steep Hill and below the Jew's Court.
Award-winning archaeology museum located in the heart of historic Lincoln, with interactive exhibitions, events and talks, and guided tours.
Now known as Grantham Street, this area was a prosperous residential neighbourhood, largely developed in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The gateway between Lincoln's busy High Street and the famous Steep Hill - rich in history and lined by unique restaurants and shops.
Historic pub on Lincoln High Street, dating back to the 16th century, serving a range of beer, wine, and spirits along with a delicious, artisan menu.
The site of a second Medieval synagogue was located in Lincoln by C Jonson in the late 1970s.
Solomon Cohen, a Jew living in Lincoln during the 19th century, was working as a silversmith at 2 Silver Street.