Sheerness & Blue Town
Marcus Roberts


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These were rough times and the Jewish community had a number of more dramatic incidents during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1802 one John Levy, alias John Cook, was flogged round the fleet for desertion and later discharged after nursing his wounds aboard the hospital ship HMS Spanker [sic.]. During his court martial he called Isaac Joseph, a slopseller of Blue Town as a character witness. He had as it turned out known him since childhood, and his family were worth a considerable sum of money from their business. Levy had apparently set his face against the family money and joined the navy under a false name. The implication of the case is that Levy was most likely to be the black-sheep one of the numerous Levy family in Sheerness, pursuing an unconventional career.
During 1805 a serious disturbance took place in the synagogue. A riot had occurred in the synagogue, " consequence of some misunderstandings respecting seats." A Jewish constable of Sheerness, unwisely it turns out, tries to intervene in the melee. A newspaper reported, "In the midst of the affray, he entered this holy place of worship, and endeavored to secure good order, which so incensed the fighting Israelites, that they became unanimous in their resentment, and poor Jacob was instantly assailed with sconces, railings of the altar [sic.] & c. by whom he was so maltreated that the Court fined each of the offenders £5 and ordered then to goal for the space of one calendar month."Next
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