Falmouth Synagogue

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Falmouth Synagogue
Basic information
Location Cornwall Falmouth, Cornwall, England, UK
Geographic coordinates 50°09′06″N 5°04′02″W / 50.1517°N 5.0671°W / 50.1517; -5.0671Coordinates: 50°09′06″N 5°04′02″W / 50.1517°N 5.0671°W / 50.1517; -5.0671
Affiliation Orthodox
Rite Ashkenazi
Country United Kingdom
Status Inactive
Architectural description
Architect(s) unknown
Completed 1806
Direction of façade East

Falmouth Synagogue was the primary synagogue of the Jewish community of Falmouth, Cornwall. The Synagogue building still stands in Gyllyng Street overlooking the harbour, commemorated by a plaque, whilst a Jewish cemetery (next to the Dissenters' cemetery) at Ponsharden[1] also remains.


By 1766 there were enough Jewish families in Falmouth to make possible the construction of a Synagogue, and a second Synagogue was completed in 1806 on Smithick Hill as the community grew. Its commanding location, with a fine view of Falmouth harbour, is said to have been so that Jewish merchants could observe their ships entering and leaving the harbour.[2] For so small a community, it is perhaps surprising that it was able to employ a Rabbi, and the earliest recorded minister of the community, known as Rabbi Saavil (died 1814), is buried at the town's Jewish cemetery. The last known Rabbi was Samuel Herman, recorded in 1851. Shochets are also recorded as present in the town until as late as 1872.[3]

The Synagogue, built in a German style, was closed in 1882 due to the dwindling numbers of the community and in 1892 the Chief Rabbi ordered its sale. The last representative of the community, Samuel Jacob, had left in 1881 and after his death, his widow deposited the Torah scrolls in the Royal Institution of Cornwall in Truro. One of the scrolls, previously held at the Royal Cornwall Museum, is now used by Kehillat Kernow (the Jewish Community of Cornwall).[4][5][6]

Other remnants from this community include two yadim and a set of rimmonim, now in the Jewish Museum London.[2]


  1. ^ WBCraig (15 August 2014). "Forgotten stories of Falmouth's dead from an abandoned graveyard". CornwallLive. Retrieved 21 November 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Fry, Helen (2000). "Synagogues and Cemeteries in the South-West". The Jews of Devon and Cornwall. Bristol: The Hidden Legacy Foundation. pp. 12–25. 
  3. ^ Gent, Frank (2000). "The Rabbis and Ministers". The Jews of Devon and Cornwall. Bristol: The Hidden Legacy Foundation. pp. 26–31. 
  4. ^ Lidiker, Pat (9 June 2014). "Scrolls returned after 132 years". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Kehillat Kernow's historic return" (Press release). Movement for Reform Judaism. 30 May 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Lipert, Pat (April 2014). "Torah Scroll comes home" (PDF). Kol Kehillat Kernow (37). 

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