Licoricia of Winchester

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Licoricia of Winchester
Winchester, England
  • Abraham of Kent
  • David of Oxford
    m. 1242; d. 1244
  • Benedict
  • Cockerel
  • Lumbard
  • Asser

Licoricia of Winchester (died 1277) was one of the most prominent English Jews of the thirteenth century. She was an English moneylender, wife and mother.

Licoricia first appears in records in 1234, as a young widow with three sons. Her financing activities are documented from the early 1230s, when she lent money in association with other Jews, as well as by herself with an attorney.[1] From 1239 onward, she was known as the richest Jew in Winchester, where she was active with a successful business.

In 1242, she married her second husband David of Oxford (d. 1244), who was known as the richest Jew in England,[2] and inherited another fortune from him. However, Licoricia was detained by the King at the Tower of London for surety for the King's portion of David's estate upon her husband's death in 1244. This portion totalled 5,000 marks[1] From this, 4,000 marks were used to fund the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey and the shrine to Edward the Confessor.[3] Upon her release, in September 1244, Licoricia returned to live with her family in Winchester, where she continued David's business and began further enterprises of her own.

Over the next 30 years, Licoricia became a highly influential business woman, financing people across Southern England. Her clients included King Henry III of England and Queen Eleanor of Provence amongst other notable nobles, including Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester prior to his rebellion in the Second Barons' War (1264–67).[4]

In early 1277, Licoricia was found murdered inside her house on Jewry Street with her Christian servant, Alice of Bickton.[3] Three men were indicted for the murders, but none were convicted, and the murder was never solved.[4]

Planning permission for a statue commemorating Licoricia of Winchester, by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley to be sited on Jewry Street in Winchester was granted in August 2018, and funds are now being raised.[5].


  1. ^ a b Cheryl Tallan and Suzanne Bartlet. Licoricia of Winchester. Jewish Women's Archive. Accessed 8 March 2018.
  2. ^ Emily Taitz, Sondra Henry & Cheryl Tallan, The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E. to 1900 C.E., 2003.
  3. ^ a b Reva Berman Brown & Sean McCartney, David of Oxford and Licoricia of Winchester: glimpses into a Jewish family in 13th Century England. Jewish Historical Studies, v. 39, 2004.
  4. ^ a b Hillary Waterman, Licoricia of Winchester, Jewish Widow and Medieval Financier, JStore Daily, 28 October 2015.
  5. ^ Micheal Seymour, ”Statue plans approved for the medieval Jewish icon Licoricia who juggled being a businesswoman with being a mum“. Hampshire Chronicle, 9 September 2018.

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