Mocatta

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Mocatta (also de Mattos Mocatta, Lumbroso de Mattos Mocatta and Lumbrozo de Mattos Mocatta) is the name of a prominent Anglo-Jewish family originally from Spain known for philanthropy, leadership and sponsorship of arts and letters, particularly in the United Kingdom. Long involved in finance, commerce, and the law, they are considered to be one of the principal families in the "cousinhood" of senior sephardic Anglo-Jewish families, the de facto Anglo-Jewish aristocracy: these influential families of the "cousinhood" include the d'Avigdor family, Sassoon family, Goldsmid family, Henriques family, Kadoorie family, Lousada family, Mazza Family, Montefiore, Samuel family and De Leon family .[citation needed]

History[edit]

The origin of the name Mocatta is unknown. Potential origins include: (i) Mukattil, Arabic for champion, or (ii) a river called Wadi Mokatta, or (iii) mukata, Arabic for fortress. The family left Spain in 1492, settling in France, the Netherlands and Italy, after the Alhambra Decree expelled Jews and Muslims from Spain, not long after the beginning of the Spanish Inquisition.

Some moved to England following Oliver Cromwell's readmission of Jews to England. In the mid 17th century, Antonio de Marchena, from a branch of the Mocatta family that had stayed in Spain and ostensibly become Catholic, left for the Netherlands, and was welcomed back into the Amsterdam Spanish & Portuguese community, adopting the name Moses Mocatta. By 1670 he had taken his family to London. In 1671, Moses Mocatta founded a bullion brokerage firm in Camomile Street in the City of London, known as Mocatta & Goldsmid, after Asher Goldsmid joined in 1783. The world's oldest bullion house, it exists today largely as ScotiaMocatta. In 1790, one branch of the family obtained a royal licence from King George III to cease the use of "Lumbrozo de Mattos". During the 19th century members of the Mocatta family helped found of British Reform Judaism.[citation needed]

Prominent members[edit]

Prominent members of the Mocatta family have included Frederick David Mocatta, a prominent philanthropist, bibliophile, patron of the arts, and bullion broker. Also among them are David Mocatta, a well-known architect, as well as more recently Sir Alan Abraham Mocatta, a British Judge. The brother-in-law of F.D. Mocatta, Sir Julian Goldsmid, was a Member of the British Parliament, but the family has tended to be involved in finance, commerce, and the law rather than politics. Bernard Mocatta is a partner at McGuireWoods London LLP, a US law firm with an office in the city of London.[citation needed]