London’s Kristallnacht

The ease with which Northampton fell generated rumors that traitors were at work, and in London, as in any city in any age, the Jews made convenient scapegoats. On the night of 9-10 April, they were savagely set upon by a horde that massacred as many as 500 of their community in the vicinity of Guildhall. The Dunstable annalist claims they were planning to betray the city with keys they had secretly made to the gates, and failing that, set it on fire, and because of that, Simon ordered their destruction. This has led historians like Marc Morris to make the baseless charge that Montfort encouraged his supporters to kill the Jews. Baseless because the monk of Dunstable, writing from afar, had no evidence against the Jews, unlike the treachery of the Christian oligarchs, whereas local chronicler Arnold Fitz-Thedmar, who was generally unfriendly to the Montfortians, says it was Hugh Despenser and Mayor Fitz-Thomas, stalwart allies of Simon, who saved the survivors by giving them shelter in the Tower. While Montfort’s exact whereabouts at this time cannot be determined, it’s ludicrous to think he would have unleashed a fearful massacre within his lone bastion of support at that time, or have risked alienating the bishops with such an atrocity. However much this singular tragedy of the civil war owed to sadistic depravity, robbery or anti-Semitism, Henry’s idiotic taxation of the Jews was one of the causes of the unrest throughout the land, and they, as usual, paid the price.

Showing little of the terror here 751 years ago
                                                        Showing little of the terror here 751 years ago

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