By: Joseph Jacobs
County town of Leicestershire, England. A Josce of Leicester is recorded in the Nottingham "Donum" of 1194 as living in Nottingham; and Benedict of Leicester is mentioned in 1205 (Jacobs, "Jews of Angevin England," p. 238). Part of the old Roman wall at Leicester is still called the "Jewry Wall"; it is figured in Throsby's "Leicester," plates 1 and 2, and a full description of it is given in the "Journal of the Archæological Association," iv. 393-402. It is difficult to suggest for what reason the wall received its name. Leicester being an appanage of the earls of Leicester, Simon de Montfort took the opportunity to prevent any interference with his seigniorial rights on the part of the king by expelling the Jews from Leicester in 1231 (C. Bemont, "Simon de Montfort," p. 62, Paris, 1884).
In modern times there has been a small Jewish congregation, which in 1898 had increased sufficiently to build a synagogue in Highfield street. This had been preceded by a charity organization in 1886, and by a Biḳḳur Ḥolim, society in 1896. Sir Israel Hart has been four times mayor of Leicester (1884-86, 1893).
- Throsby, Leicester, p. 232, Leicester, 1791.