View Full Version : Medieval Jewish Haplogroups in England

A Norfolk L-M20
03-06-2018, 09:49 PM
I'm currently reading "The Jews of Medieval Norwich" V Lipman. 1967. A lovely old book still in good condition. I'm reading it purely out of interest in local history and archaeology. After the Norman Conquest, a Jewish quarter developed in the City of Norwich, as it did in many English settlements. It was not the only Jewish quarter in East Anglia, with others at Thetford, Bungay, Bury St Edmunds, and Ipswich. Lipman indicates that some Jews also set up shop in the countryside, but most clustered in these quarters, close to Royal protection (castles, sheriff) and to market places where they rented their shops.

They remained in England for around 150 years, until the Edict of Expulsion in 1290 AD. Lipman suggests that at its peak, the Jewish population in Norwich numbered 100 - 200 individuals, within a total City population of 5,000 to 10,000 persons. He also suggests that there was a wide band of wealth across different families, with some building large impressive stone houses, like Jurnet's House (1170 AD), and others with very little money to lend. I visited Jurnet's House today, now called the Music House. The 12th Century original parts of it makes it the oldest standing dwelling house in Norwich:


They were deep in Medieval Christendom. They were often in danger, and Lipman suggests that they had to avoid moving around the City out of the reach of protection. I find this an incredible chapter of local history. Several years ago, during the construction of Chapelfield Shopping Centre in Norwich, a medieval well was excavated, with 17 human skeletal remains found in it. mtDNA suggested that they were all of the same family. The archaeologists also claimed that the DNA suggested an origin that was SE Europe to Central Asia, and from that, suggested that they were probably Jewish. I'd be interested to know if that was Y-DNA, or mtDNA, if anyone knows where this can be found online? I do find some doubt online on this interpretation. A Dr Joachim Burger of Mainz University in Germany, was in the process of further analysing the DNA - then the story fades away:



What history does teach us is about the local Cult of Saint William of Norwich. The body of 12 year old William was found on the edge of Norwich in woods. He was an apprentice tanner that had contact with some Jewish households in the City. To cut a long story short, the locals blamed the Jews. The first recorded accusations of a ritual murder were used to provoke hostility against the small community. The Sheriff protected the Jews (who had to pay heavy taxes), but a religious cult grew. His remains became relics. Miracles were associated with these relics, proving in the eyes of the locals, that the Jews were guilty. Norwich was a rapidly growing city, and it has been pointed out, that it needed a local saint.

The Edict of Expulsion of the Jews from the English Kingdom was made in 1290 AD. However, I haven't finished this book. But skipping ahead as I can't help sometimes, I see Lipman suggesting that some English Jews converted to Christianity to escape expulsion.

My question is ...

Have any haplogroups that could be associated with a Medieval Jewish community, been found in any testers of English ancestry?

03-07-2018, 12:05 AM
There's an episode on youtube, History Cold Case the Bodies in the Well. It's a few years old but interesting none the less.

03-16-2018, 12:42 AM
Take a look at FTDNA's R-FGC20747 group and at ytree.net

Although the formation of this clade predates judaism, there are some groupings of jewish testers under some branches. Rachel Unkefer et al wrote an article in Avotaynu titled "Y-DNA Evidence for an Ashkenazi Lineage's Iberian Origin".

In ytree you'll see there is a cluster under FGC20747>Z1899>A14368>BY36541 with several english testers. I'm not implying anything concerning their religious affinities, just pointing an interesting study.