Penzance Jewish Congregation

& Jewish Community

Penzance, Cornwall




Page created: 21 May 2004
Latest revision or update: 6 December 2015

Town of Penzance

Penzance, a port near the western end of Cornwall’s south coast in southeast England, has a population of about 20,000.

It was a municipal borough until 1974, when it was merged with neighbouring localities to form the local government (non-metropolitan) district of Penwith within the county of Cornwall. In April 2009, the district of Penwith and all other local government districts in Cornwall were abolished, and Cornwall became a unitary authority.

Penzance Jewish Community

Although no longer extant, the Penzance Jewish community was founded by the middle of the eighteenth century.

Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Penzance include:


1851 Penzance (35 records).

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Penzance or Hayle (7 miles to the northeast) during the 1780s (1 record), 1790s (2 records), 1810s (13 records); 1820s (27 records), 1830s (31 records), 1840s (47 records), 1850s (41 records), 1860s (10 records), 1870s (10 records), 1880s (10 records), 1190s (1 record) and 1910s (1 record).

Congregation Data

 The following is the only Jewish congregation known to have existed in Penzance:


Penzance Jewish Congregation


New Street, Penzance.

First purpose built synagogue constructed here in 1768, synagogue rebuilt in 1807-8.

Current Status:

Synagogue sold in 1906. Community dissolved by early 1900's

Date Founded:

Congregation founded about 1750.


Askenazi Orthodox

Membership Data:

1845 - 11 ba'ale batim (C. Roth, The Rise of Provincial Jewry)

1845 - 30 appropriated seats, 51 individual members (ibid.)

1852 - 6 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1860 - 5 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1870 - 4 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1880 - 4 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1892 - 6 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

On-Line Articles and Lists relating to the Penzance Jewish Community

Penzance Synagogue - A Brief History - A paper prepared by Susan Soyinka, including a history and current status of the synagogue building, photographs and plans, to support an application to English Heritage to revise the listing of the building that includes the former synagogue.

The Rise of Provincial Jewry - Penzance by Cecil Roth, 1950. Available on-line by JCR-UK as part of the Susser Archive.

Penzance from "Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain"  - Papers for a conference at University College, London, convened by the Jewish Historical Society of England, prepared by Aubrey Newman - 6th July 1975.  Reproduced here with his kind consent.

The Jews of South-East England. Rabbi Bernard Susser's 1977 University of Exeter thesis for his PhD degree. Available on-line by JCR-UK as part of the Susser Archive.

Tombstone Inscriptions at Penzance Jewish Cemetery, transcribed by Rabbi Dr. Bernard Susser, with a number of photographs (a section of Rabbi Susser's "Jewish Tombstone Inscriptions in S. W. England - Studies in Anglo-Jewish History No. 3", which includes an Introduction that also makes reference to Penzance). Available on-line by JCR-UK as part of the Susser Archive.

Jewish Encyclopaedia article on Cornwall by Joseph Jacobs, c 1906.

Other Penzance Jewish Information

Bibliography and other sources 

Penzance Cemetery Information - IAJGS Cemetery Project

Jewish Congregations in Cornwall

Jewish Communities of England home page

Explanation of Terms Used


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