TIMELINE

Important moments in 

British 

St Albans 

and 

Jewish history 

William the Conqueror invites Jews to England from Rouen in France. 

1066 NORMAN INVASION

1066 NORMAN INVASION

1190

YORK MASSACRE

York’s Jewish community is trapped by an angry mob inside the Clifford Tower of York Castle. Many choose to commit suicide rather than be murdered or forcibly baptised.

1190 YORK MASSACRE

1186

AARON OF LINCOLN &

ST ALBANS ABBEY

Death of Aaron of Lincoln, an English Jewish financier, dies in 1186.  He had lent money for the building of St Albans Abbey.  Jews were only allowed to work in certain occupations at that time, including as moneylenders. 

1186

AARON OF LINCOLN &

ST ALBANS ABBEY

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St-Albans-Cathedral-2005.jpg

1290

EXPULSION FROM ENGLAND

Edward I expels the entire Jewish population of England – around

3,000 people.

1290 

EXPULSION FROM ENGLAND

1656

JEWS WELCOME UNDER CROMWELL

Jewish residents of London begin living openly as Jews, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell.

1656

JEWS WELCOME UNDER CROMWELL

St Albans community member, Judy Davis, can trace her family back eight generations to Sarah Lyon (1703-1807), who died aged 104. She was one of the earliest Jewish settlers to England during this period.  This engraving is based on a painting by Constable.

ROOTS GO BACK TO THE 18th CENTURY

 ROOTS GO BACK TO THE 18th CENTURY

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1701

BEVIS MARKS SYNAGOGUE OPENS

Bevis Marks Synagogue 

opens in London.

Today it is the oldest continually used

synagogue in Britain.

1701

BEVIS MARKS SYNAGOGUE

OPENS

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LOCAL CONNECTION TO 

BEVIS MARKS

SYNAGOGUE

St Albans community member, Darren Marks, is descended from Abraham Vas Martinez, a Sephardi Jew, and one of the first wardens at the synagogue. Many of the Jews settling back in England were Sephardi, originating from Spain and Portugal.  Darren restored some of the furniture in the Synagogue.

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LOCAL CONNECTION TO 

BEVIS MARKS

SYNAGOGUE

1900s

FIRST JEWISH FAMILIES ARRIVE IN ST ALBANS

Census records from 1901 and 1911 show the first Jewish families in St Albans. Many worked as tailors or machinists at Nicholson’s raincoat factory in Sutton Road, Fleetville (pictured here c1911), and lived in the nearby streets.

1900s  

FIRST JEWISH FAMILIES ARRIVE IN ST ALBANS

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The Aliens Act is passed – the first legal framework regulating migration, based on the notion of ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’ immigrants.

The Act is the result of rising nationalism based on disproportionate fear about newly arrived refugees, including Jews.

1905

ALIENS ACT

1905

ALIENS ACT 

1914-18

FIRST WORLD WAR

50,000 Jews serve in the British Armed Forces during the First World War. Around 10,000 are killed on the battlefield.

1914-18

FIRST WORLD WAR

THE FIRST PRAYER MEETINGS

The few Jewish families in St Albans meet for synagogue services in family homes in and around Royston Road and Hedley Road.

THE FIRST PRAYER MEETINGS

1930s

RISE OF FASCISM

1936 - Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists attempt to march in East London. The Jewish community and its allies block them at the Battle of Cable Street in 1936. 

1930s

RISE OF FASCISM

Following the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany, 90,000 Ashkenazi Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe emigrate to England fleeing Nazi persecution, including 10,000 unaccompanied children on the Kindertransport.

Community member

Ruth Goldsmith’s

grandmother Cissy Miller,

on the right, at the

Battle of Cable Street.

CONNECTION WITH THE BATTLE OF

CABLE STREET.

EAST LONDON 

1936

BATTLE OF CABLE STREET, EAST LONDON 1936

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cable st.jpg

1990

ST ALBANS MASORTI SYNAGOGUE

St Albans Masorti Synagogue (SAMS) is founded by three families. 

After meeting in various venues, the community grows and SAMS acquires its own building in 2012.

1990 ST ALBANS MASORTI SYNAGOGUE

1960s

MORE JEWISH FAMILIES MOVE FROM LONDON

More Jewish families move out to St Albans from London and the provinces in the 1960s.

Beds/Herts Liberal Synagogue opens in St Albans in 1966, and later moves to Luton.

1960s MORE JEWISH FAMILIES

MOVE FROM LONDON

1951

INAUGURATION

OF THE PRESENT

UNITED SYNAGOGUE BUILDING

The first and only purpose-built synagogue still in use in Hertfordshire is inaugurated in Oswald Road, St Albans in 1951.  Its building is consecrated with beautiful stained glass windows by artist and scholar, David Hillman. 

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Sketch of St Albans United Synagogue by Rebbetzin Alli Sturgess, 2015

1951 INAUGURATION OF THE PRESENT UNITED SYNAGOGUE BUILDING

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Sketch of St Albans United Synagogue by Rebbetzin Alli Sturgess, 2015

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1940s

ST ALBANS

UNITED SYNAGOGUE ESTABLISHED

The St Albans Hebrew Congregation establishes a synagogue in St Albans, inaugurating

54 Clarence Road which was purchased in 1942. 

In 1948, the community becomes affiliated to the United (Orthodox) Synagogue.

1940s 

ST ALBANS UNITED SYNAGOGUE ESTABLISHED

1930s

FIRST JEWISH FAMILIES MOVE FROM LONDON

A small number of Jewish families move to St Albans from London.

1930s  

FIRST JEWISH FAMILIES

MOVE FROM LONDON

THE HOLOCAUST

AND 

THE SECOND WORLD WAR (1939-45)

Six million Jews are murdered in the Holocaust. 

THE HOLOCAUST

AND

THE SECOND WORLD WAR (1939-45)

TODAY-

A THRIVING, WELCOMING COMMUNITY

St Albans has a thriving and welcoming Jewish community which is embedded in the life of the city.

The shofar, or ram’s horn, is blown to mark

Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year from the bell tower of St Albans Abbey in September 2020. Socially distanced groups are able to hear the traditional sound, while unable to gather for festival services due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

TODAY - A THRIVING,

WELCOMING COMMUNITY

Blowing the shofar to mark Rosh Hashanah, St Albans Abbey, 2020

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1880s

RUSSIAN POGROMS

Jews flee to England following persecution (‘pogroms’) in Russia and Eastern Europe.

1880s

RUSSIAN POGROMS

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