The Borough of Colchester
The historic town of Colchester, which styles itself as the oldest town in England, is situated in southeast England about 55 miles to the northeast of London and has a population of about 160,000. The present boundaries date back to1974, when the municipal borough of Colchester was merged with surrounding areas to form the local government district (later Borough) of Colchester within the county of Essex.
The Jewish Community
There was a medieval Jewish community in Colchester, until their expulsion in 1290.
In the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century, there was small number of Jews in Colchester and a synagogue appears to have been established. A June 1791 articled in the Ipswich Journal described very fully the marriage of Samuel Levi, late of Bury, to Kitty, daughter of Isaac Abrahams of Colchester in the Synagogue - yard, in Angel Lane the site of their earlier occupation. "The bridegroom led by the bride's father, preceded by the Rabbi and friends with a band of music, were followed by the bride clad in white and veiled with her mother and grandmother. Under a canopy supported by four men, the form of solemnisation in Hebrew was read and at the conclusion after the bride and groom had each drunk part of a glass of wine he threw it to the ground to denote that as the glass could never be made again, so difficult would it be for them to be separated in this life. A public feast followed and the day concluded with the highest festivity and decorum ....... the strictest propriety prevailed throughout the whole of the ceremony."
The current community really dates from World War II, when several Jewish families were evacuated to the town, who, together with local families and Jewish service personnel (from the UK, US and the Commonwealth), commenced holding Jewish religious services.
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