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Vestiges of the historic Anglo-Hebrews in East Anglia. With appendices and an apropos essay online

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lished work was an original one, or an appropriation of the work
of our Eabbi Yechiel, will remain a problem. The latter sup-
position is not without instances in the history of Hebrew works.
An example of it was afforded in this country, when a certain Jew
published a Hebrew Commentary on one of the Prophets, under
his own name, which was the work of an author long since
dead and buried, and little known to Biblical students in
England no, not even to the well-read Mr. Zedner, late of
the British Museum, who was betrayed to father the work
upon the plagiarist.


and prosperous journey and attain his object, his son
Joseph made the offering of that vessel to the syna-
gogue of which his father was chief. But for what
use or purpose was that vessel intended 1 The last
line answers the question,

" And righteousness delivereth from death ;"

which, with the post-Biblical Jews, means " Alms-
giving delivereth from death." * Such is the inscrip-
tion on every alms' receptacle to be found in
the porticos of every well-ordered synagogue.
I have noticed last year, in the course of a con-
tinental tour, that inscription on the vessels
placed in the porticos of the synagogues, for the re-
ception of alms. This vessel, therefore, I conclude
was placed in the portico of the synagogue of Bury
St. Edmund's, for the reception of votive offerings
from the members of the congregation, for the safety
of their pilgrim rabbi ; which offerings were intended
to be forwarded for the benefit of the poor Jewish
saints at Jerusalem. When the banishment of the
then Anglo-Hebrews took place, the unhappy exiles
either buried or sunk in rivers and brooks many of
their valuables and sacred things, that the articles
might not fall into the hands of the rapacious Anglo-
Gentiles. Hence the finding of that vessel in a Suffolk
river. The lid which belonged to it has never been
heard of as yet. Time may yet bring both to light
I am, moreover, led to conjecture that the expulsion
*For Professor Gagnier's interpretation, as given by Tovey,
see Appendix L.


of the Jews from this country took place between that
rabbi's departure for Jerusalem and his return to
Europe. On reaching the latter, he had learnt the
calamity which had befallen his people in England,
and after spending some time in Paris, where he dis-
puted with a certain Hebrew Christian, Nicolaus by
name, whom I shall presently introduce, he took up
his abode at Prague, where his family had probably
taken refuge. He. and his posterity after him, whilst
preserving the name Yechiel, assumed the surname
" Yerushalmy,'' that is, De Jerusalem. On examining
some of the epitaphs in the ancient Jewish cemetery
of Prague, I found one which marks the burying-place
of a Rabbi Yechiel ben Joseph De Jerusalem, dated
1598. The late Chief Rabbi of Prague, Solomon Je-
hudah Rappoport, a man of vast antiquarian learning,
remarked in his Hebrew biographical essay, on some
of the celebrities whose remains rest in that cemetery,
that Rabbi Yechiel was descended from a very ancient
Jewish family, whose ancestor came from Jerusalem
a long time ago, and settled at Prague. Many of his
descendants are even now men of mark. One of
his scions was ennobled by the late Emperor of
Austria, and assumed the name of Baron Salemfels.

Let me just mention the vicissitudes of the Suffolk
vessel, as far as I could trace it. My young friend,
Mr. Arthur Pigot, put a query respecting its where-
abouts in the " Notes and Queries." The question
elicited the answer that " at the dispersion of the
antiquities belonging to Edward, Earl of Oxford, on
March 8, 1741 2, there was a bell metal Jewish


vessel upon three legs, purchased by Rawlinson for
1 5s." Another friend, Mr. Bernal Osborne, who
takes an interest in the discovery of the vessel, wrote
to me a short time ago, " I have seen Sir Christopher
Rawlinson, who is a descendant of the antiquary in
whose possession the bronze vessel was traced. It
appears some of the effects of this Dr. Rawlinson were
sold at his death, but he left his pictures, books, MSS.,
to St. John's College, Oxford. Whether the vessel
was sold or left to the college, I could not ascertain."
Probably one of the results of this meeting may prove
the discovery, if it still exists anywhere, of that most
interesting relic of the historic Anglo-Hebrews of
East Anglia.*

Besides those vestiges of the scattered nation
amongst you in bygone days, in stone and brass, there
are vast numbers in flesh and blood. Strange as it
may sound, it is yet true, notwithstanding the twofold
persecution to which the " Israelite indeed " was
subjected, on his repenting of his former rejection of
the second part of Judaism, and accepting the dictum
of the Deliverer greater than Moses ; I say, notwith-
standing the double persecution which awaited those
Nathanaels the loss of all things to the king, and the
loss of personal safety amongst his brethren after the
flesh many members of the historic Anglo-Hebrews'
synagogues courageously braved, with Pauline forti-
tude, every danger, and boldly maintained that Christ
was the end of the law for righteousness to every one
* See Postscript.


that believeth. Considerable numbers, on the other
hand, joined the Church to save themselves from a dire
and dreary exile, when the edict of expulsion was
about to be put into effect. I trace the descendants
of those historic Anglo-Hebrews in the names and
physiognomies of the so-called " true-born English-
men." I see vestiges of them in every assembly I
have an opportunity of observing. Others may think
what they please ; but I consider that it is an in-
finitely higher honour I mean for people who seek
honour one from another, in consideration of pedi-
gree to be able to trace one's descent, be it ever so
remotely, to the sacred race, than to the equivocal
races of Saxon, Dane, Norman, Batavian, &c., &c.
De Foe's satire has the sting of stern truth when he
apostrophises the bragging Briton in the uncouth
lines :

" Thus from a mixture of all kinds began

That het'rogenous thing, an Englishman.
# # # * #

Fate jumbled them together, God knows how ;
Whate'er they were, they're true-born English now."

There is one name in particular amongst the historic
Anglo-Hebrew believers in both covenants which
deserves a passing notice. It is a name which once
rang through the halls of learning all over Europe,
during the transition of the Church from a deformed
to a reformed state; a name which furnished op-
portunity for more than one Latin pun. It is the
name of Nicolaus de Lyra. Both Roman Catholics and
the early Protestants gave to that erudite and learned


writer the credit of Luther's illumination. Pflug,
Bishop of Naumberg, had improvised the couplet :

" Si Lyra non lyrasset
Lutherus non saltasset."

A Protestant scholar played upon the name to the same
tune, but with a variation, and made the couplet

run thus :

"Nisi Lyra lyrasset
Totus mundus delirasset."

Wickliife has also profited much by De Lyra's writ-
ings, he used them frequently when translating the
Bible. Those writings were formerly very famous.
Pope, in giving the catalogue of Bay's Library, in his
" Dunciad," finds

" De Lyra there a dreadful front extend."

I believe that I am in a position to solve a bio-
graphical problem which has hitherto defied those
interested in such matters. I believe the celebrated
" Israelite indeed " was an East Anglian, a native of
Lynn. The writers of biographical dictionaries,
copying one another, thus begin their sketch of that
celebrity : " So called from the place of his birth,
Lyra in Normandy," &c., &c. I never could discover
whether there is, or ever was, such a place as Lyra in
Normandy; nor have the gazetteer makers and
guide-book compilers succeeded in making the dis-
covery. But what I did discover is this, that De Lyra
himself, in the title-page of one of his works, gives
England as his native country. There can be but
one opinion, that he must have been better informed


on this subject than his biographer L'Advocat who
lived about 500 years after De Lyra who, because
Nicolaus happened to have been at Paris for some
time, and was known by the surname of De Lyra,
made a Frenchman of the illustrious stranger.* Bishop
Bale, himself a native of East Anglia, who flourished
about a century after Nicolaus De Lyra positively
states that the great harbinger of the Reformation
was an Anglo-Hebrew Christian.-]-

Now, I find in an old history of Norfolk, that
about the same time that the great author I am speak-
ing of flourished i.e., the latter part of the thirteenth
and the first part of the fourteenth century there
flourished at Lynn a learned monk, who was a native
of that town, and was known as Nicolaus of Lynn.
That book tells me that that monk was a very learned
man, a great scholar, a great divine, a great mathe-
matician, an astronomer, and a great musician ; that
he was educated at Oxford, and that he belonged to
the Franciscan order. Exactly the same is affirmed of
Nicolaus de Lyra. If there were two such persons,
then Oxford must have been the Alma Mater of re-
markable twins, christened by the same name ! I do
not believe in the coincidence. There was only one

* The "Nouvelle Biographie Generale," published in 1860, is
indeed circumstantial on the subject, the notice of the celebrity
under review begins as follows : " Lyra (Nicolas de) exegete
theologien frangais, ne vers 1270, a Lyra, bourg situe pres
d'Evreux, mort a Paris, le 23 October, 1340." But who does
not know the facility with which a certain class of French
literati coin names. As an instance, see Appendix L.

f See Appendix M.


Nicolaus at Oxford, my " Israelite indeed," but he
was one and the same with the Nicolaus of Lynn,
and by reason of his musical proclivities, his friends
and admirers turned De Lynn into De Lyra. I have
no doubt in my own mind that the eminent Anglo-
Hebrews I have just spoken of, namely Rabbi
Yechiel and Father Nicolaus the former an anti-
Christian Jew, and the latter a Christian Jew met
at Paris towards the latter end of the thirteenth cen-
tury, when a fierce theological dispute took place
between them, the result of which was a small Hebrew
volume by the unbelieving Jew, couched in the most
intemperate and blasphemous language.*

De Lyra was not the only Jew of high attainments
about that time, who found out that the law without
the gospel was but Judaism unveiled. In the same
century there flourished in Spain a Rabbi Solomon
Halaywee, a native of Burgos, and founder of the
cathedral in that place. He is known in ecclesiasti-
cal history by his baptismal name, as Pablo de Santa
Maria, Bishop of Carthagena. A contemporary
Spanish poet said of him " that he possessed all
human learning, all the secrets of high philosophy ;
he was a masterly theologian, a sweet orator, an
admirable historian, a clear and veracious narrator,
one of whom every person spoke well. He continued

" 'Twas my delight to sit with, him
Beneath the solemn ivy tree

* It is preserved by "VVagenseil in his Tela lynea Satana. It
shows of what spirit anti-Christian Jews are made, and how-
unchangeable is the hostility of the unbeliever towards the



To hide me from the sunny beam
Beneath the laurel's shade, and see

The little silver streamlet flowing :
While from his lips a richer stream

Fell, with the light of wisdom glowing
How sweet to slake my thirst with him !"

I cannot close this paper without remarking on the
great change of feeling towards the sacred race in
civilized Christendom. It was truly said by an
eminent living Anglo-Hebrew, " In exact proportion
as we have been favoured by nature, we have been
persecuted by man. After a thousand struggles ;
after acts of heroic courage that Rome has never
equalled ; deeds of divine patriotism that Athens, and
Sparta, and Carthage have never excelled ; we have
endured fifteen hundred years of supernatural slavery,
during which every device that can degrade or des-
troy man has been the destiny that we have sustained
and baffled."

Yes ! baffled ! the very sees, whose Archbishops
and Bishops had once fulminated anathemas against
the Anglo-Hebrews, are at this present moment filled
by prelates nominated by an Anglo-Hebrew. The
present Primate of all England, the Bishops of Lon-
don, Lincoln, and Peterborough bear rule by the ap-
pointment of the ex-Prime Minister of England ; and
the present Prime Minister is beholden for his seat, in
the House of Commons, to the superior influence of his
colleague, a modern Anglo-Hebrew, David Salomons ;
and he who has had the honour to address you, and to
whom you have listened with such patient indulgence,
has the privilege to belong to the same race.


AFTER the Paper had been read, approved of, and
commended, a short discussion ensued, the principal
burden of which was the disputing on the part of the
Rev. J. J. Raven, Head Master of Yarmouth Gram-
mar School the purpose of the bronze vessel (pp.
46 53.) as I described it. He resolutely maintained
that he saw one like it, of about the same date, at the
York Museum, with a Latin inscription, which pur-
ported that the vessel was intended as a mortar
for compounding drugs, and he therefore conceived
such to have been the use of the vessel which I de-
scribed. In vain did I appeal to the purport of
the Hebrew inscription of the vessel which I brought
under notice, Mr. Raven clung to his conception with
exemplary parental tenacity. However, our differ-
ence of opinion only tended to produce a cordial
friendship between us. The following extracts from
letters on the subject, which he has subsequently ad-
dressed to me, may be perused with interest, on
account of the hints which they suggest.

Yarmouth, 29th July, 1869.

I am very desirous of tracing the history of the bronze vessel
found in a Suffolk river, of which you produced a drawing at the
meeting of the Royal Archaeological Institute, at Bury, last week.
Whether it be a receptacle for alms, according to your view, or

E 2


a mortar for compounding drugs, according to mine, it is clearly
amongst the earliest specimens of bronze- casting in England.
I understood you to say that it was in the collection of the
second Harley, Earl of Oxford, and that it may possibly be in
the hands of the Pesident and Fellows of St. John's College,
Oxford. When you elicit the truth as to this conjecture, I
shall be greatly obliged if you will let me know. In the mean-
while I have a request to make, which I can only justify on the
ground of my long and obscure labours in the history of bell-
casting, &c.* It is, that you would let me have a copy, or
tracing, of the smaller sketch of this vessel, which you exhibited,
and of the inscription upon it. I think of having a photograph
taken of the mortar in the York Museum, of which I spoke in
the discussion after your paper, and I much wish to compare the
outline, position of inscription, and general -bearing of the two
vessels. I fear that the vessel itself has perished. That at
York was accidentally saved from the furnace in 1811, at Bir-
mingham, by Rudder the bell-founder, and presented to Mr.
Blunt, a surgeon in the town, whose collection was sold in 1835,
when a Mr. Kenrick, of West Bromwich, bought it for a large
sum, and presented it to the York Museum. The inscription on
it is :


And on the lower rim ;


It weighs about 76 Ibs., and stands, I should say, some 18 in.
high. The history of the Harleian vessel may serve to connect
the Anglo-Hebrews with the early history of founding in
England. The only name of a founder discovered by me which
has any hint of Jewish origin is Symon de Hatfelde, who appears

* Mr. Raven read a most interesting Essay on " The Church Bells of Cam-
bridgeshire," on the same day that I read my Paper. This has just been
published, in a handsome volume, at Lowestoft, by Samuel Tymms.


to have flourished about the beginning of the fourteenth century,
and I fear we cannot put much faith in the Symon, as the
" Norman thieves" were rather fond of the name.

Yarmouth, 2nd August, 1869.

I am greatly obliged to you for sending me full particulars of
the history of the vessel fished up in a Suffolk stream in past
days, and to Lady Pigot for the sketch of it. On further
examination, I begin to grow dissatisfied with my own theory.
The neck is narrowed, and the lower part of the bowl too much
expanded for the mortars with which I am familiar. At the
same time, the fact of its being made of bronze, with solid handles
and feet of stoutness, would seem to indicate that it was intended
for some purpose requiring unusual strength and durability; and
as my York specimen is dated 1308, and Eabbi Sancto lived
before that time, it may be the form of an older style of mortar.
I will write to York for a photograph, and send you a copy, but
the effect of it will not be to strengthen my case at all. I really
do not know, however, why anything but English obstinacy
should prevent my acknowledging that your theory is as likely
to be correct as any other. I am beginning to quake upon
another point whether the vessel was cast at all, whether it was
not rather the work of the smith than the founder. If the
inscription were in high relief, it would make my mind comfort-
able again ; but there is no way, I suppose, of eliciting this point.
The reason for my doubting as to the vessel coming from a mould
is the claw-like ending of the handles they look so like rivet-
ing. I noticed the other day, at Hardwick, a bronze Etruscan jug
with the lower end of the handle of something the same form,
and loose, which would hardly be the case with a handle cast to
the vessel ; but at the upper end I could detect no trace of a
joint. I managed to put a quiet question to Professor Churchill
Babington about it ; but he would not enter into the technology
of the vessel. In the sketch which you kindly sent me, there is
a distinct joint between the handles and the band which passes
round the vessel connecting them. I dare not go further than
express my suspicions as to the vessel ever having come from the


Yarmouth, 6ih October, 1869.

I put myself into communication with Mr. Fairless Barber a
short time ago, on the subject of Yorkshire metallurgy ; and the
result has been a photograph of a vessel found at Wharncliffe,
of the history of which he could tell me nothing. I enclose it
for your acceptance, worthless as I fear it is. I must hunt up
a certain Minor Canon of York, who was at Cambridge with me,
and get a photograph of the York mortar for you; I am convinced
that I am in the wrong about your vessel, and when I lecture on
Bells, at Bury, at Christmas, all well, I will openly recant that
my wicked error in canonical form.



A. See page 13.

An eminent Cornish scholar of last century, who devoted a
great deal of his time to prove the affinity between the Hebrew
and the ancient Welsh languages, observed, "It would be
difficult to adduce a single article or form of construction in the
Hebrew grammar, but the same is to be found in Welsh, and
that there were many whole sentences in both languages exactly
the same in the very words." From two columns of quotations
which that writer adduced I give the following as examples, and
shall translate them according to their signification in the ancient
Cornish :

J D^N "^ Ps. xxix. 1 .

Beni Elyv.
Beared ones of power.


Mychweii MetJiion.
Thou dost quicken those that have failed.

s ns ^TK sba Lam. ii. i.

By-llwng adon-ydh holl neuodh lago.
The Lord has swallowed up all the tabernacles of Jacob.

: T$ !T nrrs -pn Prov. vii. 8.

Dyrac buth hi ai-i-sengyd.
The avenue of her dwelling he would go to tread.

: rnn *-nn bs m-m> nn-2 bistt? *yn Prov. vii. 27.

Dyracei sal buth-hi ea-warededh ill cadeirian meth.

That leads to vileness is her abode, going the descent to the

seat of failing.


n -jba Tnbs mrp nns ina *

Barwch wytti id el-eini tnaelog y-hwylma.

Seat of increase art Thou, Supreme, our intellectual Power,
Possessor of the space of revolution.

y Tan Ps. vii. 11.

Meigen-i Jiwyl elyv.
My protection is from the intelligences.

-fba sin msas mrp -nasn -yba m sin >n Ps. xxiv. 10.

:nbo -na^n
Py yw-0 sy maeloc y-cavad T-A-YW-VO savwyod yw-o ma-elo c

y-cavad. Sela.

Who is He that is possessor of attainments? I THAT AM
HIM of hosts, He is the possessor of attainments. BEHOLD.

Now, if the aboriginal Britons knew not the Jews, where
could they have got hold of such whole Hebrew, purely
Hebrew, sentences?

B. See page 14.

b:n mn DwaiiMN msn TD II P Ditaoias nbtp -o

ntz?s is tz^s in i^s Dipa ^ ns ts^i oias'-pis
sbn n^sn nnbtz7b ns is nn3


C. See page 15.

n>n ^

smsi n-rsi

ib tt?nD Taan sbn D'Hirm m ain
snins : ^'a ^n^sitt? n^aripn b^n nta tan ^nsso sb >
nnis n-^n^ ana va "12 ps^Dva aa nn^nianat neo br
nnn ana nbiz? ntn -iD^pn^ ana T"a 'nsa na : bs-it
nin n>b laua ir mtab inbi&oo nisns bra
m^bsaas nria s^rr) ns^asti^a v" 1 ^ ">S5O n^

: (lasbaa^? s"ba snpan

* The first sentence of almost all Jewish thanksgivings to this very day.


D. See page 22.
Hollingshed relates the following episode :

"The king being at Bhoan on a time, there came to him
divers Jews, who inhabited that city, complaining that divers of
that nation had renounced their Jewish religion, and were become
Christians ; wherefore they besought him that for a certain sum
of money, which they offered to give, it might please him to
constrain them to abjure Christianity, and to turn to the Jewish
law again. He was content to satisfy their desires. And so
receiving their money, called them before him, and what with
threats, and putting them otherwise in fear, he compelled divers
of them to forsake Christ, and to turn to their old errors. Here-
upon the father of one Stephen, a Jew converted to the Christian
faith, being sore troubled for that his son was turned a Christian,
(and hearing what the king had done in like matters,) presented
unto him sixty marks of silver, conditionally that he should
enforce his son to return to his Jewish religion ; whereupon the
young man was brought before the king, unto whom the king
said, ' Sirrah, thy father here complain eth that without his
licence thou art become a Christian : if this be true, I command
thee to return again to the religion of thy nation without any
more ado.' To whom the young man answered, ' Your Grace,
(as I guess,) doth but jest.' Wherewith the king being moved,
said, 'What! thou dunghill knave, should I jest with thee ? Get
thee hence quickly and fulfil my commandment, or by St. Luke's
face, I shall cause thine eyes to be plucked out of thine head.'
The young man, nothing abashed thereat, with a constant voice
answered, 'Truly I will not do it; but know for certain, that if
you were a good Christian you would never have uttered any
such words, for it is the part of a Christian to reduce them again
to Christ which are departed from Him, and not to separate them
irom Him which are joined to Him by faith.'

" The king, herewith confounded, commanded the Jew to get
him out of his sight. But the father perceiving that the king could
not persuade his son to forsake the Christian faith, required to
have his money again. To whom the king said, he had done so
much as he promised to do, that was, to persuade him as far as


he might. At length, when he would have had the king deal
further in the matter, the king, to stop his mouth, tendered back
to him half the money, and kept the other himself. All which
increased the suspicion men had of his infidelity."

E. See page 33.

Dr. Jost, in his " Geschichte der Israeliten," vol. vii., p. 119, in
common with all anti-Christian Jews, (see Apropos Essay,) betrays
all the venomous partiality which characterises the enemies of
" truth and justice, religion and piety." That Jewish historian
takes upon himself, without any reason whatever, to assert that
" den Anlass dazu gab ein getaufter Jude, oJine Zweifel durch seine

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