Expulsion, England’s Jewish Solution by Richard Huscroft

Expulsion, England’s Jewish Solution by Richard Huscroft is a book I picked for an assignment, but I think this is written in such a lovely way that it can be enjoyed by everybody with an interest in history. I read a few books on medieval history but not much was said about what happened to the English Jews, although they do play quite a significant role in both politics and economy, and by that I mean that they were pawns to use by the king to his advantage.

Expulsion, England’s Jewish Solution by Richard Huscroft

The author uses a lot of primary sources, dotted with histography and analysis, making the book a delight to read and very interesting. I don’t think it’s a widely known fact that Jews arrived in England with William the Conqueror and lived for 200 years before being expelled on the orders of Edward I. What happened in those 200 years was not linear at all, their situation had ups and downs. The whole period is covered in the book and at a bit over 150 pages, this is a good and short introduction into the subject.

I like how the situation is presented, a balanced look at different aspects, including religious, but also political, economic, and social. The amount of primary sources quoted throughout the book is great, offering such a fascinating look into history. At times it is an uncomfortable read, when Jews were massacred for their money for example, but it is part of history, worth knowing, worth understanding.

Expulsion, England’s Jewish Solution by Richard Huscroft

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My rating: 5/5 Stars
Would I recommend it: yes
Published by: The History Press
Year it was published: 2006
Format: Paperback
Genre(s): Medieval history
Pages: 192

About the author: Richard Huscroft is a History Master at Westminster School, London. He graduated from Oxford University with a First in History and was awarded his PhD from King’s College London. His other books include Ruling England 1042-1217. He lives in London.
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6 thoughts on “Expulsion, England’s Jewish Solution by Richard Huscroft”

  • This sounds interesting. I know almost nothing about the history of Jews in Britain and wonder if maybe we airbrushed out our own mistreatment of them in history-writing in the decades following WW2, the period in which I was mostly learning history, as perhaps we began to pretend we’d always been more welcoming to them than we really were?

    • I am not sure if Jewish communities were established in Scotland or Wales. In England they were mostly in the south, with the exception of York, where it was one of the worst pogroms. I don’t think it was airbrushed, just not looked into it too much, as it is more a social history than a standard history as it was done before, with a focus only on monarchs and their circle and only on men.
      They had a grim situation in the rest of Europe too. Amazingly, in Medieval times, it was much better to be a Jew or Christian in the Islamic lands than the other way around.

  • What an interesting and little known topic for a book. I had no idea that Jews had lived in this country for so long, let alone been expelled by monarchy. I would definitely be following up on some of those primary sources too. Meantime I am going to start digging around online for myself, just to get a feel for what’s going on in the book. You really do unearth some great gems 🙂
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    • Yes, there were quite a few Jewish communities in England and the blood libel started from here, in 1144. Jews came from France after they were expelled from there and moved back when they were expelled from here. If you fancy a read, this is a very good book and it might be available at the library.

  • I know very little about the history of Jews in Great Britain, so I think this would be quite interesting. I’ve always felt the Jewish people have been the most persecuted race throughout history, so I’m not surprised things weren’t any better for them in Britain than elsewhere.
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    • I am doing a module on Medieval Europe, with a focus on religious minorities, and it is incredible how violent people were and how religion was not as central as I believed before starting the module. It is a fascinating topic. Before the module I didn’t know much about Jews in England, even though I read a few books on Medieval history.

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