Source three: Satirical illustration

Satirical illustration of the Norwich Jewish community, Catalogue Ref: E 401/1565.

  1. Isaac fil Jurnet was one of the richest Jews in England and certainly the richest Jew in Norwich. He was a successful moneylender (he lent money to Christians and made a profit on the interest) and many people in Norwich, including abbots and bishops, owned him money. He was strongly disliked because of his wealth and status. Isaac became the target of opposition from Pandulf, the Bishop of Norwich, who believed Jews should be removed from the country ‘beyond the seas’. Isaac has been included in the image. Can you see his name? He is pictured with a triple beard to associate him with the devil and a crown to suggest he is as wealthy as a king.
  2. Several demons are included in the image. A devil named Colbif is shown pointing to Abigail and Mosse as if to liken them to himself. Can you see his name? It has been written either side of his picture. Colbif is presented with horns to liken him to an animal to suggest he is less than human – and certainly not a good Christian! Because Mosse and Abigail have been drawn next to him, the artist is associating Jews with the devil – in his eyes they are sinful and will go to hell.
  3. The financial success of some Jewish families was resented by many Christians. In the image the artist has included a pair of scales – what do you think this man might be weighing? Who is behind this figure? What might the artist be suggesting by linking these two together?
  4. Another demon presented in the image is named Dagon. Can you see his name? The artist was very clear when creating the image as to give his character labels. Why do you think the artist felt so strongly about linking the Jewish individuals with the demons? How do you think the artist felt about Jewish moneylending?
  5. Mosse Mokke worked for Isaac fil Jurnet. He was responsible for collecting the money that Christians owed him. Mosse has been included in this image. Can you see his name? In the image, one of the demons is pointing to Mosse as if to liken him to himself. Because Mosse is associated with moneylending, and is supporting Isaac’s business, the artist is suggesting he belongs in hell.
  6. Another well-known figure in medieval Norwich was Abigail, or Avegay, who some said was the wife of Mosse Mokke. She was also known for her involvement with moneylending and collecting high interest on her loans. Abigail has been included in this image. Can you see her name? Just like Mossse, one of the demons is pointing to her as if to liken him to himself. It is believed by the artist that she also belongs in hell.







« Return to Jews in England 1216-72
  1. Look carefully at source three
    1. List five things you can identify in the image.
    2. Can you see any names or words? What might they be referring to?
    3. On first impression, how do you think this image links to the Jewish community?
    4. Who do you think created the image? Why was it added to a royal financial record?
  1. Let’s examine source three in detail.
    1. Read through each description and match it to the correct section of the image
    2. Using this additional information, write a paragraph explaining how this image reveals attitudes towards Jews in Norwich in the early 1230s. Make sure you select ‘evidence’ from the image to support your argument.