Lincoln Cathedral is famed for its great Christian heritage but its unique Jewish heritage and links to the famous medieval Jewish community in Lincoln, is still largely unknown.
This Jewish community of Lincoln was one of the most important in England in its time and the names of some of its leading personalities are still celebrated, including the famous scholar Rabbi Berechiah of Lincoln, and Aaron of Lincoln, who helped make the fortune of the Cistercian monasteries in the north and even loaned the money needed to build the Bishop's Palace.
This community made a vivid impression on the very fabric of Lincoln Cathedral, which is rich in Jewish associations and influences, shown in its art, architecture, artefacts and hidden symbolism of the Cathedral. Parts of the decorative design of the Cathedral may have direct Jewish influences, while the remains of the Shrine of Little Hugh are still one of the most controversial relics of medieval anti-Semitism in England.
This Trail was Featured in Simon Schama's, 'The Story of the Jews' documentary'
London has always been the center of Jewish life in this country and is the oldest place of Jewish settlement in England.
The Jews of England arrived first of all in London in the wake of William of Normandy's conquest of England. It is thought they arrived shortly afterwards, though the first documented reference to a Jewish quarter in London, only comes in c.1127, when they had arguably been there for some 50 years or more. Initially they were probably only a small group, only reinforced in numbers with Jews fleeing from the Rouen pogrom in 1096.
A visit to Canterbury is always well worth the effort and worth a special visit. The city is of exceptional interest, with its rich history, and buildings of national importance - its Cathedral and the ruins of St Augustine's Priory, the Castle and city walls, and a large number of surviving medieval and post medieval buildings in the city centre.
Added to this there is a rich Jewish history to be discovered in Canterbury both from the medieval and modern period. The sites of the medieval Jews are readily traceable and there are strong historical associations with more modern buildings such as the County Hotel