© Marcus Roberts


Bookmark this page |  E-mail this page to a friend

Pages < 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   > 

Certain history starts in the 1750s, when a nucleus of Jews were probably trading and living in the town. A Henry Moses of Dover was known in c.1762. The weddings and circumcision register attributed to Rabbi Ash, records a Jewish marriage in 1768 and eleven circumcisions spanning from 1782-1812.

It is stated that the synagogue was set up by three Jewish holiday makers who were probably members of the same family, in c.1760. Wealthy Jews went on holidays in the 18th century and Dover was considered a healthful resort. This synagogue was a wooden building.

The community only had a small presence in the town in the 18th and early 19th centuries. They were not large enough to have their own cemetery and were dependant on the one at Canterbury. There are 15 burials of Dover Jews in Canterbury between 1819 and 1886, mostly from this earlier period of the community. The spread of birth dates from the Dover inscriptions is between 1737-1786 and the average date of birth 1768. These dates support the idea that the community became of consequence in the 1760s and 1770s - about the period the synagogue was set up in c. 1770. However this does not entirely exclude the possibility that the history of the community could go back to a smaller number of individuals, somewhere between 1730-60.

The Jews in the town worked at a variety of professions associated with town trade and business from the ports. There were the usual silversmiths, as well as chapmen and naval agents. The latter was a common occupation of Jews around the ports - some would go out to ships in small boats to sell goods to the sailors, many of whom from the Navy would be forbidden port leave since many had been forcibly 'pressed' into service. This job was not without its hazards, principally drowning!

By the 1820s and 1830s, the community had evidently grown and merited the appointment of a community schochet, or kosher slaughter man. This growth of the community was probably linked to the heightened defensive importance of Dover during the Napoleonic Wars - a war that made enabled the success, and even made the fortunes of many of the Kentish Jewish communities. The community displayed their patriotic fervour during this time as many Jews served in the volunteer corp in Dover.

Post a Comment
Submit to this trail