By: Joseph Jacobs
County-seat of Devon, England. The first Jew mentioned as living in Exeter, about 1181, paid a fine of 10 marks for the king to take charge of his bonds. A number of Jews are mentioned as paying 10 per cent of the debts recovered through the law courts at the beginning of the reign of King John; one of these, named "Deulecresse le Eveske," appears to have lent money to the Priory of St. Nicholas in Exeter. During the latter part of the thirteenth century Exeter was one of the cities in which an archa was kept, with two Christian chirographers and two Jews. In 1275 the Jewish chirographers were accused of having forged a charter, but were acquitted. At the expulsion the king seized all the debts still owing to the Jews of Exeter, who numbered about thirty-nine families, and who were creditors to the amount of £1,058 4s. 2d., and 542 quarters of corn worth £180 13s. 4d. A small community arose toward the end of the eighteenth century. It still exists, and worships in the synagogue in St. Mary Arches, which was founded in 1763.
- Jacobs, Jews of Angevin England, pp. 73, 240, 376;
- Select Pleas of the Jewish Exchequer, ed. Rigg, pp. 83-84;
- B. L. Abrahams, in Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, ii. 91;
- M. Margoliouth, Jews of Great Britain, iii. 439-440.