© Marcus Roberts with original research and contributions by Ian Holt. Trail and Project Kindly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

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Gloucester has an unexpected and fascinating Jewish history linked to the military and port history of the city. There have been two distinctive organised Jewish communities in Gloucester - one established in the 12th century and ended by the time of the general Expulsion of the Jews in 1290, and a second community, established perhaps even as early as 1685. This, if correct, makes it one of the first provincial Jewish settlements out-side of London, after the resettlement of the Jews in England in 1655. There is also a modern Jewish population in modern-day Gloucester, but no organised community life, or synagogue, as most Jews, with a religious affiliation, are members of the nearby Cheltenham Synagogue.

The community has always been a small one and to some extent on the margins of Jewish life, particularly in the Middle Ages, but which has owed its existence to opportunities offered by the trade and movement through the once important river port of Gloucester and its access to South Wales. The community while small, was noticeable, and played a significant part in local life. The medieval community was involved in the politics and commerce represented by the military adventures that were launched into Wales and Ireland, through the city and port, by the king and others. The modern community provided the services and trades typical of provincial Jews and were also linked to the national and international trade and commerce through the port, with one of their number being the 'consul' (trade ambassador) for what is now Morocco and another even becoming Mayor of Gloucester in the later 19th century.Read More

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