Letter from King Edward I to the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer, dated 5th November 1290 C54/107, m. 1

Latin Transcription  

Edwardus, etc. Thesaurario et Baronibus de Scaccario salutem. Cum dudum in Parliamento nostro apud Westmonasterium in quindena S. Michaelis anno regni nostri tercio, ad honorem Dei et populi regni nostri utilitatem, ordinaverimus et statuerimus quod nullus Judeus ejusdem regni extunc aliquid sub usura Christiano alicui mutuaret super terris, redditibus seu rebus aliis, set per negotiationes et labores suos ducerent vitam suam; ao idem Judei, postmodum malicious inter se deliberantes, usure genus indeterius quod curialitatem nuncuparunt inmutantes, populum nostrum predictum sub colore hujusmodi circumquaque depresserint, errore ultimo priorem dupplicante; per quod Nos ob scelera sua et honorem Crucifixi Judeos illos tamquam perfidos exire fecimus regnum nostrum […]

Simplified Translation 

Edward, etc. To the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer, greeting. Whereas the king in his parliament at Westminster at the quinzaine of Michaelmas in the third year of his reign, ordained that no Jew of the realm should thenceforth lend anything in usury to any Christian upon lands, rents or other things, but should earn his living by trade and labour, and the Jews afterwards, maliciously* discussing amongst themselves, changed the kind of usury into a worse kind, which they called courtesy*, and oppressed the king’s people twice as bad as before; as a result the king, for this reason and for the honour of Christ, has caused the Jews to leave his realm as perfidious* men […] 


*Perfidious – Faithless and untrustworthy.  

*Maliciously – Wanting to cause harm.   

*Courtesy – Doing somebody a favour/something nice. 

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Read Source 4 and consider the accompanying questions: 

  •  What main reason does King Edward give for expelling Jews from England? 
  •  Why might the king describe the Jews as ‘perfidious’ men? 
  •  From this letter, was Edward’s decision more economic (about money) or religious (for Christianity and the Church)? Explain your answer.