Monday, 14 November 2016

(Jewish) OTD: 14 November


One of the things that I love about doing this (Jewish) OTD feature is sharing my research. I’m not going to sit here pretending that I have an in-depth knowledge of every document I present. I don’t. Most of the time I know a little bit about the context of a document, or the narrative which it formed part of. Thereafter, I must quickly scramble through books and articles in the hopes of finding something interesting to say. In the case of today’s entry, however, that is not necessary. Having worked quite a lot over the last few months on the moneylending activities of Hagin son of Master (magister) Moses, to whom this document relates, I can tell you about it from memory. Hagin was an important Jew in thirteenth century London, and between 1258 and his death in 1281 he occupied the position of presbyter iudeorum. We have already encountered this office in relation to Aaron of York, so I shan’t repeat myself but I would like to pause for a moment on Hagin’s patronym. His father, Moses, is labelled as a magister. This is somewhat difficult to explain what this Latin term means. The simplest definition, however, is a communal leader – not necessarily a rabbi – thus, Elias was an expert in Jewish Law. The records of Hagin’s moneylending activities are extensive (including a number acknowledgements of debt which you’ll find out about in due course). This grant in the Close Rolls from 1265, however, details that the Crown would not interfere with any loans to a number of names individuals “or other his debtors are bound to him in the realm”, for a period of five years. In essence the Crown was acknowledging that it would not seize, pardon, or otherwise interfere with Hagin’s transactions, as was relatively common during this period.

Calendar of the Patent Rolls Preserved in the Public Record Office: Henry III, 1258-1266, ed. and trans. H. C. Maxwell Lyte (London, 1910), 505.

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