The Journey of Memory

: Forgetting and Remembering England’s Medieval Jews

  • Toni Griffiths

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis critically examines the public representation of medieval Anglo-Jewish history today through a cross-section of medieval Anglo-Jewish communities which act as case studies; Winchester, York, Norwich, Bristol, and Northampton respectively. These case studies frame the investigation of issues associated with the limited and often contested archaeological evidence relating to England’s medieval Jews, as well as the frequent tendency of contemporary public facing history to focus on the negative aspects of medieval Jewish life, notably by highlighting persecution and victimisation. It also analyses the development of the most recent public facing interpretations of medieval Anglo-Jewish history in each location, which have been deliberately chosen to provide a range of towns and cities which contain evidence of alleged medieval Jewish human remains.

The assessment of key stakeholders in the public representation of medieval Anglo-Jews was central to this study, and as such this thesis carefully considered the roles of various stakeholders in the preservation and representation of medieval Anglo-Jewish history and memory. Within this thesis, each stakeholder had a valid voice in the assessment of how the history and memory of England’s medieval Jews had been treated and represented. Decolonialist research methodologies were herein utilised in order to fully address the complexities of the various voices of stakeholders; from the perspectives of individuals, communities, and organisations, through a sensitive approach towards respectful interviewing and data collection. This thesis, therefore, provides a uniquely rounded interpretation of stakeholder involvement and investment in how medieval Anglo-Jewish communities are remembered today.

The history and memory of medieval Anglo-Jews has been subject to periods of omission and marginalisation, with the study of medieval Jewish history often hindered by a lack of sources on everyday life. This thesis contributes to the increasingly multi- and inter-disciplinary study of England’s medieval Jews through the application of Death Studies, offers new hypotheses based on traditional Jewish approaches to death ritual and burial practice, and provides fresh insights into aspects of medieval Jewish life with a focus on the dead. 
Date of Award10 Dec 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorChristina Welch (Supervisor), Katherine Weikert (Supervisor) & Robert Houghton (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • heritage
  • Medieval
  • Judasim
  • England
  • memory
  • death

Cite this

The Journey of Memory: Forgetting and Remembering England’s Medieval Jews
Griffiths, T. (Author). 10 Dec 2018

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis