Oxford Castle - Safe Haven for Jews


The Oxford Jewish Heritage Committee is currently working on a project to erect an interpretation board in Oxford Castle. The board will give a brief overview of the history of Medieval Jewish Oxford and outline the important relationship between the Jewish community and the Castle as follows:


The Jews of Medieval Oxford
William the Conqueror brought the Jews to England from France to facilitate trade between his new kingdom and his continental territories. The Jews migrated up the Thames to Oxford sometime after 1075, and established a significant community in the town. The Jewish quarter was located around today's St. Aldate's, which became known as Great Jewry. Before long the community numbered between 200 and 400 members. As non-Christians, Jews were not subjects of the realm but were wards of the Crown and therefore under royal protection. The King could turn to the Jews as his own private source of income and would tax them heavily for specific projects e.g. the construction of Westminster Abbey, funding wars or crusades.