Posts Tagged ‘Hampshire’

A request for help with an entry on the Jews of Winchester

Friday, February 25th, 2011

The project team wonders if anyone can help with the meaning of an entry in the fine roll for 1251-1252.  Entry number 173 from near the start of membrane 20, with the marginal annotation ‘concerning taking an inquisition’, is an order to the sheriff of Hampshire to inquire by oath of twelve of the more law-worthy Jews of Winchester by their roll, whether a Jew, Cressus of Stamford, had violently seized and taken away from the synagogue  of the Jews in the same city ‘the apple of eve’ to the shame and opprobrium of the Jewish community. If convicted, Cressus was to give one mark of gold to the king for the trespass.  The writ was authorised by the king and ‘witnessed as above’ which indicates it was witnessed by the king at Geddington on 19 January 1252.

What, then, is all this about?   Was ‘the apple of Eve’ some kind of object within the synagogue, perhaps of ritualistic significance, hence the shame involved in its theft.   Any ideas gratefully received.