Will you come for a walk with me along Exeter High Street? There is a house there belonging to a man called Godeknight, which he rents to Amiot – a Jew. Amiot has received a demand to pay £2 towards the 65,000 pounds of silver that is being demanded by the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI, to ransom the King of England, whom he has captured.
The King in question is Richard I, Richard the Lionheart, and the year is 1193 – a mere 820 years ago.
Jews held a unique position in Medieval society. They were the only non-Christian religion that was tolerated in the Western Christian world. But tolerated because they were the property of the king – named as The Kings’ Jews. This, of course, gave the Jews special protection – anyone harming them was, in effect, harming the king.