York 1190: Jews and Others in the Wake of Massacre

The mass suicide and murder of the men, women and children of the Jewish community in York on 16 March 1190 is one of the most scarring events in the history of Anglo-Judaism, and an aspect of York’s past which is widely remembered around the world.

The York massacre was in fact but one of a series of attacks on local communities of Jews across England in 1189-90. These were violent expressions of wider new constructs of the nature of Christian and Jewish communities and they were also the targeted outcries of local townspeople, whose emerging urban polities were enmeshed within swiftly developing structures of royal government.

This conference will therefore use the events of 1189-90 as a lens through which to reassess the rapid changes which were reconstructing communities and their relationship to royal and ecclesiastical government both locally and in national and European contexts. It will take advantage of the substantial amount of new work which has been done on twelfth-century England, notably on government and local power, ethnic identity, relationships with Europe, the development of distinct regional identities and new intellectual and religious models of community and pastoral care.

The conference will bring together senior and junior scholars from a range of different disciplines and sub-fields to reinterpret the events of 1190 in the light of that new work. Our aim is to consider the massacre as central to the narrative of English history around 1200 as well as that of Jewish history


The organisers of the conference would like to thank the following organisations and individuals who have supported the conference financially and with practical help:

  • The British Academy
  • Jewish Historical Society of England
  • Centre for Medieval Studies and the Department of History, University of York
  • Mr Henry Bainton, CMS
  • Mr Nigel Grizzard, Leeds Branch, JHSE