World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Statute of the Jewry

Article Id: WHEBN0002741837
Reproduction Date:

Title: Statute of the Jewry  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of the Jews in England, Edict of Expulsion, Edward I of England, History of the Jews in England (1066–1290), Emancipation of the Jews in the United Kingdom
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Statute of the Jewry

The Statute of the Jewry was a statute issued by Edward I of England in 1275. It placed a number of restrictions on Jews of England, most notably outlawing the practice of usury.[1]


  • Context 1
  • Provisions 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Since the time of the Norman conquest, Jews had been filling a small but vital role in the English economy. Usury by Christians was banned by the church at the time, but Jews were permitted to act as moneylenders and bankers. That position enabled some Jews to amass tremendous wealth, but also earned them the enmity of the English populace,[2] which added to the increasing antisemitic sentiments of the time, due to widespread indebtedness and financial ruin among the gentile population.

When Edward returned from the Crusades in 1274, two years after his accession as King of England, he found that land had become a commodity, and that many of his subjects had become dispossessed and were in danger of destitution. Jews traded land for money, and land was often mortgaged to Jewish moneylenders.

As special direct subjects of the monarch, Jews could be taxed indiscriminately by the King. Some have described the situation as indirect usury: the monarch permitting and encouraging Jews to practise usury and then taxing the profit. In the years leading up to the Statute, Edward taxed them heavily to help finance his forthcoming military campaigns in Wales, which commenced in 1277. One theory holds that he had exhausted the financial resources of the Jewish community when the Statute was passed in 1275.[1]


  • Usury was outlawed in every form.
  • Debtors of Jews were no longer liable for certain debts.
  • Jews were not allowed to live outside certain cities and towns.
  • Any Jew above the age of seven had to wear a yellow badge of felt on his or her outer clothing, six inches by three inches.
  • All Jews from the age of 12 on had to pay a special tax of three pence annually.
  • Christians were forbidden to live among Jews.
  • Jews were licensed to buy farmland to make their living for the next 15 years.
  • Jews could thenceforth make a living in England only as merchants, farmers, craftsmen or soldiers.

The licence to buy land was included so that farming, along with trading, could give Jews an opportunity to earn a living with the abolition of usury. Unfortunately, other provisions along with widespread prejudice made this difficult for many.[3]

After fifteen years had passed, it was discovered that Jews widely but secretly continued to practice usury, leading Edward I to issue the Edict of Expulsion in 1290.[4]


  1. ^ a b Prestwich, Michael. Edward I p 345 (1997) Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07157-4.
  2. ^ Rubenstein, W.D. A History of the Jews p 36 (1996) Macmillan Press. ISBN 0-333-55833-2.
  3. ^ Glassman, David. Anti-Semitic Stereotypes p 17 (1975) Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1545-3.
  4. ^ Parkes, James. The Jew in the Medieval Community p 394 (1976) Hermon Press. ISBN 0-87203-059-8.

External links

  • BBC article on the statute
  • The Statute of Jewry, an online version of the Statute.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.