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ELYAS OF LONDON (also known as Elyas le Evesk):

Presbyter of the Jews of England 1237-1257; died in London 1284. He succeeded Aaron of York, represented London at the so-called "Jewish Parliament" at Worcester in 1240, and in 1249 was allowed to have Abraham fil Aaron as his assistant. Henry III. exacted from him no less a sum than £10,000, besides £100 a year for a period of four years.

Elyas headed the deputation which asked the king's permission to leave the country in 1253. In 1255 he was imprisoned as a surety for the tallage of the Jews, and two years later he was deposed from office, being succeeded by his brother Hagin (Ḥayyim). In 1259, according to Matthew Paris, he was said to have been converted, and confessed to having prepared poison for certain of the English nobles; but in 1266 he was again treated as a Jew, and compensation to the amount of £50 was granted him for losses he had incurred during the Barons' war. He still remained one of the most importantJews of London in 1277, being one of the few who were granted permission to trade as merchants though they were not members of the Gild Merchant. He appears to have been a physician of some note, for his aid was invoked by Jean d'Aresnes, Count of Hainault, in 1280, and he obtained permission to visit the count in that year ("R. E. J." xviii. 256 et seq.).

At Elyas' death an inquest made upon his estate declared him to be possessed of personal property to the value of 400 marks, and of houses of the yearly rental of 100 shillings. These his widow, Fluria, was permitted to retain on payment to the king of 400 marks. One of his houses appears to have been located on Sporier street, near the Tower, and at the expulsion in 1290 was granted to the prior of Chicksand.

Elyas was an expert in Jewish law, being summoned before the king to decide questions ("Select Pleas," etc., p. 86). A responsum of his is quoted in one of the manuscripts of the "Mordekai" (see A. Berliner, "Hebräische Poesien Meïrs aus Norwich," p. 3, London, 1887).

Bibliography:
  • Prynne, Short Demurrer, part ii., sub annis;
  • Jacobs, in Papers of the Anglo-Jew. Hist. Exh. pp. 22, 45, 49-51;
  • M. Paris, Chronica Majora, v. 398, 441, 730;
  • Select Pleas of the Jewish Exchequer, ed. Rigg, pp. xxxiii., 86, 88, 130, London, 1902;
  • Jacobs, in R. E. J. xviii. 259.
G. J.
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