All posts by Dean A. Irwin

About Dean A. Irwin

I completed my PhD (2017-20) at Canterbury Christ Church University where I studied the records generated by Jewish moneylending activities in England between 1194 and 1276. I am now an independent scholar, interested in the records (especially charters and financial documents) produced by, and in relation to, medieval Anglo-Jewry. I am also developing a project on the Jews and the baronial reform movement (1258-65) in England.

New Podcast: ‘What can one woman reveal about Jewish life in medieval England?’, BBC History Extra

In February 2022, a statue of Licoricia of Winchester was unveiled. To mark the event, Professor Miri Rubin, Dr Toni Griffiths and Dr Dean Irwin recorded an episode of the BBC History Extra podcast earlier in summer. This provided an opportunity to discuss Licoricia and to situate her in her historical context. After providing an overview of Licoricia’s life, the speakers go on to consider how typical (or not) her experience was for that of Anglo-Jewry more generally. Inherently, this discussion touches on the good, the bad, and the ugly of Anglo-Jewish life, emphasising the importance of context. Dr Griffiths, who has done really important work on remembering the Jews of medieval England, brought a different dimension to the discussion by highlighting the importance of memory.

The podcast is available from the History Extra website, as well as the Apple Store and Spotify.

New Article: Jews of medieval Norwich

Published today in Current Biology, and summarised in The Independent, this article concludes that seventeen skeletons which were discovered in a well in Norwich in 2004 are the remains of medieval Jewish inhabitants. Drawing on DNA techniques which were not available to the original investigators (for the original investigation see the BBC documentary below), the authors claim to be able to demonstrate that these are, indeed, the remains of the Jewish inhabitants of the town who they suggest were murdered in February 1190 during the anti-Jewish attacks which swept England after Richard I’s coronation on 3 September 1189.

Worcester Plaque

On Friday 22 July, a plaque was unveiled in the city of Worcester to commemorate the medieval Jewish community which had existed there until it’s expulsion in 1275. Professor Miri Rubin, President of the Jewish Historical Society of England, attended and produced a summary of the event.

Online Resource: Professor Miri Rubin introduces the Synod of Oxford (1222)

As part of the octocentenary of the Synod of Oxford (1222), which includes a number of provisions relating to the Jews (including the wearing of a badge, limiting the construction of new synagogues and prohibiting Jews from having Christian servants, etc) Professor Miri Rubin (QMUL) has produced a short video introducing the topic. There will be an event at Oxford Cathedral (broadcast online) on Sunday 8th May to mark the 800th anniversary.