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Jews in Bristol since their Readmission to England

After the expulsion of 1290, Jews were not allowed in England and Wales, though there were some ‘secret Jews’ illegally resident in the city by the early modern period. It is thought that Jews were formally admitted back to the country by Cromwell, though there is some debate over this. There were certainly Jews in Bristol from the early 18th century and an established community with a rabbi by the mid-1750s in the Temple area of the city.

In 1753 an Act allowing foreign-born Jews to be naturalized was passed and occasioned a frenzy of anti-Jewish opposition which resulted in the Act being repealed the following year. Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal and other local sources were outlets for such anti-Semitic sentiment which soon subsided to a level which allowed the city’s Jewish residents, most of them petty traders, to get on with their lives. Bristol blue glass was first put on the market by the Jacobs family and some Jews rose to prosperity by the end of the century though they continued to be were barred as Jews from public office well after Catholics and Dissenting Protestants were.

Content generated during research for the paperback book 'Bristol: Ethnic Monorities and the City 1000-2001' (ISBN 13 : 978-1-86077-477-5 ) for the England's Past for Everyone series

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