The home of Benedict

Benedict was a money-lender and worked closely with Aaron of Lincoln, the most wealthy and prominent English Jew at this time. His business partner and fellow community leader, Josce, lived nearby on Fossgate.

This first community was known for religious scholarship. Benedict had large collections of books and invited continental Rabbis such as Yom Tov of Joigny to visit and teach in their communities. Rabbi Yom Tov is remembered today for his piyyut (liturgical poem) entitled 'Amnam Ken', which is still recited during Yom Kippur services by many Jews around the world today. This piyyut may well have been written during his time here in York.

Benedict did not lose his life during the tragic events of 1190 at Cliffords Tower. He and Josce travelled to London to pay their respects at the coronation of Richard I in 1189. However outside the coronation banquet an anti-Jewish riot broke out, and Benedict was severely injured in the chaos.

A York monk convinced him to receive Christian baptism which Benedict almost immediately renounced. Sadly, Benedict ended up dying from his wounds in Northampton. He could find neither Jewish or Christian burial due to having been coerced to receive baptism in London.

His home was also the location of the beginning of the 1190 York massacre. An angry mob descended on his home and murdered his widow and children, looted his home and set it ablaze.