© Marcus Roberts


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Therefore it is not surprising that a congregation was established by 1823 by Elias Meyer a silver smith and pawnbroker, Lewis Isaac, a jeweller and pawnbroker, and Isaiah Alex, a dentist. Jews were living in town in sufficient number in 1823 to make their presence felt. In that year William Cobbett complained that the town seemed full of Jews and seemed to be sinking fast!

While it is often assumed that Jews generally maintained notable communal solidarity until quite recent times this is not entirely accurate. In Cheltenham, as indeed elsewhere, there were a notable number of unaffiliated Jews and converts living in the town - at least 20 in 1841. These were a mixture of both Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Some of the Sephardim included the broker Abraham Mocatta and the honoured army doctor, Sir Jacob Adolphus. Of the Ashkenazim, was a tailor Samuel Bloom and family among others.

Some of the Sephardim in Cheltenham originated from distinguished Jewish families in Jamaica and formed a distinct sub-group in Cheltenham being of a superior social class compared even to the leading members of the congregation.

Solomon Mendes da Silva (b. 1781-1861) had estates in Jamaica but lived in Cheltenham from 1837-1843 at Rioho Lodge, Park Place one of the most distinguished residences of the town. Da Silva belonged to the local congregation and is buried in the cemetery where his tombstone is horizontal in the Sephardi style. There were also the Mr. I.B. Lousada and daughters, who lived at 1, Lansdowne Terrace, a member of the synagogue from 1834. One of the famous Quixano Henriques clan lived at Cheltenham as well - the Henriques' had been very important in the Jamaican judiciary and ultimately trace their descent from Jewish aristocrats thrown out of Portugal in 1492. Moses Quixano Henriques was a gentleman publisher and bookseller at the Royal Library, 384, High Street and resided at 4 Oriel Place. Henriques was not affiliated to the congregation, but a grave in the cemetery was purchased for him by his brother on his death.

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