June 23, 2011

Remains of Medieval Jews (?) from Norwich

It would be interesting to see what DNA tests were done on the remains and what were the results.

Jewish bodies found in medieval well in Norwich
The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence has suggested.

The most likely explanation is that those down the well were Jewish and were probably murdered or forced to commit suicide, according to scientists who used a combination of DNA analysis, carbon dating and bone chemical studies in their investigation.


History Cold Case: The Bodies in a Wellwill be on BBC Two at 2100 BST on Thursday 23 June 2011 and afterwards in the UK onBBC iPlayer.


Gnarlodious said...

Central Norwich? No mob is going to throw corpses down a well where the mob is living. Therefore we should assume the well was in an isolated Jewish village. And that the location was abandoned (or even thought to be haunted) for some time. So Norwich must have been established some time after the corpses rotted and the water was clean. And that it was established on the site of a Jewish village.

Unless people drank the water and died and blamed it on the omnipotent God of Abraham.

apostateimpressions said...

Unless people drank the water and died and blamed it on the omnipotent God of Abraham.

That doesnt seem very likely. The Jews were always seen as deicidal outcasts, who had been expelled from Jerusalem, in return for their murder of Christ, when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Jews were not considered to have any special protection from God, quite the opposite. They were seen as "signs" of God's wrath upon apostates and indeed that is why their presence within Christian nations was tolerated. Augustine and other early fathers of the Church developed the Christian understanding of the Jews and it was universally accepted in the Middle Ages.

Possibly this event happened in response to claims that the Jews had poisoned drinking wells and spread disease, which they were often accused of. Chucking the Jews all down their own well may have been seen as particularly just punishment.

Jim said...

"So Norwich must have been established some time after the corpses rotted and the water was clean. "

That doesn't follow and in any case Noriwch dates from the Saxon settlement. It might just mean that the well was outside the limits of Norwich when the bodies were thrwon in.

Onur Dincer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lysias said...

The Jews of Norwich were falsely accused of murdering a Jewish boy (William of Norwich) in 1144. Notwithstanding this blood libel they managed to hold on under the protection of Henry II until Henry died on July 6, 1189. Henry's protection died with him. On February 6, 1190, all Jews who hadn't managed to flee into the town's castle were slaughtered in their homes as Richard I Lion-Hearted turned a blind eye. (V.D. Lipman, "Jews of Medieval Norwich"). It would be typical of the butchers to deliberately poison the well serving the "Jewery," or Jewish area of town. This date fits well with the proposed date for the well massacre.

Onur Dincer said...

I doubt Jews accept the Holocast as the result of god using the Germans as tools to punish his people.

I doubt some hardcore Jews don't accept the Holocaust as the result of God using Germans as tools to punish his people. As you said, it would be more in line with the philosophy of the Old Testament.

Darayvus said...

This post isn't complete without a link to Borat.

Anonymous said...

Norwich has a long history but it has never been very large. Wells were very valuable. Whoever did this had no plans to take the property and use it. It starts to look like a robbery rather than an official action. The most obvious reason for throwing the family down the well is to hide them for a while. Or to get them out of the way while the home was rifled.

Anonymous said...

On checking Norwich was bigger than I though. 25,000 folk in the medievel era is nothing to be sneezed at. But I would have expected the Jewish community to sit at the heart of the city, as they do in other cities. Poisoning the well would probably have been considered a greater sin than killing 100 Christian folk.


Anyone seen the actual show yet?

Anonymous said...

And this link confirms that the community lay in the centre of the city.