Benedict of York

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Benedict of York (died 1189) was a moneylender and a leading member of the 12th century Jewish community in York, England.[1] Benedict was considered the second greatest moneylender in York after Josce of York.[2] Benedict acquired several lands as a result of his activities and debts to him were still being honoured a decade after his death.[2]

Benedict attended the coronation of King Richard I along with Josce of York, and was forcibly baptised as "William" during the subsequent attacks on the Jewry of London at Richard's coronation.[1] Benedict was severely wounded in the attack and accepted a Christian baptism from a monk from York, Prior William of St. Mary's Abbey.[1][2] Benedict recanted his Christian faith the next day when summoned before King Richard. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Baldwin of Forde, said of Benedict's recantation that "...if he will not be a Christian, let him be the devil's man".[2] Benedict later appealed to King Richard to allow him to return to his Jewish faith, though this was against canon laws.[1]

He died in Northampton soon after his forced baptism.[1] The chronicler Roger of Hoveden said that Benedict was buried in neither the Jewish or Christian cemetery in Northampton following his death as a result of his recantation.[2] Benedict's house at Spen Lane was described by William of Newbury as like "unto a royal palace in size and strength". Benedict's children and his widow were burnt alive in his house during the Easter York riot in 1190.[1][3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Benedict of York". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Richard Barrie Dobson (2010). The Jewish Communities of Medieval England: The Collected Essays of R.B. Dobson. Borthwick Publications. pp. 8–. ISBN 978-1-904497-48-6. 
  3. ^ Robin R. Mundill (9 August 2010). The King's Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England. Continuum. pp. 79–. ISBN 978-1-84725-186-2. 
  4. ^ "BBC - Religions - Judaism: York pogrom, 1190". Retrieved 2016-03-04.