Tag Archives: Edward 1

Blood Libel

The City’s first Jews arrived in 1066 and England’s Jewish community was to endure what was called Blood Libel.

This was an accusation made against Jews concerning matzahs which is the unleavened bread used in the Passover ceremony which takes place every March or April.

This was an allegation that Christian children were sacrificed and their blood used as an ingredient in the matzahs.

This showed ignorance to begin with as Jewish diet forbids the consumption of blood.

Going a long way from the City the most infamous case took place in a town called Trent in Italy in 1475 when a two year old boy named Simon disappeared. It was rumoured that he’d been taken for a ritual sacrifice. The whole local Jewish community was massacred as a result.

The infant Simon was made into a saint and this led to the cult of Simon of Trent which had followers all across Europe and ascribed hundreds of miracles to him.

It took until 1965 for Simon to be unsainted.

First recorded UK case was in 1144 when an English boy, William of Norwich, was found brutally murdered with strange wounds to his head, arms, and torso. His uncle, a priest, blamed local Jews, and a rumour spread that Jews crucified a Christian child every year at Passover.

More persecution resulted.

The Jews were expelled by Edward 1 in 1290 and remained exiled for almost 400 years until the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, invited them back in the mid 1600s.

Great Conduit

Laid in 1245 this supplied water from springs near Tyburn to the west of the City (where Marble Arch now stands)

The main consumers were brewers, fishmongers and chefs but some private houses also purchased a supply. Households could fill up a bucket for free.

In 1270 when Edward 1 brought his wife, Eleanor of Castille, to London for the first time the Conduit ran, not with water, but wine for all to drink (red and white, reportedly).

The conduit was almost 3 miles long. It comprised pipes which were ten to twenty feet in length. These were made from tree trunks hollowed out with a 6” auger and then shaped at the end to dovetail into each other.

The conduit was lost to the Great Fire of 1666.