Canterbury and District Jewish Community

Canterbury, Kent




Page created: 4 November 2003
Latest revision or update: 13 December 2015

The City of Canterbury

The historic cathedral city of Canterbury is in the local government district of the City of Canterbury in the county of Kent in southeast England.  The district was formed in 1974 by the merger of the city of Canterbury (then a county borough) with adjoining areas.  Canterbury city has a population of about 47,000, whereas the district, covering a much wider area, has a population of some 140,000.

The Jewish Community

There was an important medieval Jewish Community in Canterbury. The modern Jewish community is probably the second oldest community in Britain (after London), Jews having settled there in larger numbers following resettlement in England in the seventeenth century.

Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Canterbury include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Canterbury during the 1760s (2 records); 1770s (2 records), 1780s (5 records), 1790s (12 records), 1800s (10 records), 1810s (10 records); 1820s (20 records), 1830s (55 records), 1840s (101 records), 1850s (76 records), 1860s (32 records), 1870s (14 records), 1880s (4 records), 1890s (3 records) and 1900s (2 records).

Congregation Data

Since the resettlement, there was only ever one congregation at any one time in Canterbury, now known as the Canterbury & District Jewish Community (previously known as Canterbury Synagogue).  The present community also includes members from the Hythe and Whitstable area.


Canterbury and District Jewish Community

Former Name:

Canterbury Synagogue

Synagogue Address:

Old Synagogue, King Street, Canterbury, from 1847, when first stone laid by Sir Moses Montefiore. Although the synagogue was sold in until 1947, it is still used from time to time by the community.

Previous Synagogue:

St. Dunstan's, Canterbury, from about 1762 until 1846, when demolished to make way for a railway track.

Date Founded:

About 1762

Current Status:

Active, but the synagogue closed.


Ashkenazi Orthodox

Marriage Certification:

Registration District: Canterbury

Membership Data:

1842 - 14 full members (The Rise of Provincial Jewry, Cecil Roth)

1846 - 14 members

1896 -  4 seatholders (Jewish Year Book 1896/97)

Articles on the Canterbury Community

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

Canterbury  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.

Reference to the Canterbury Jewish Community in the Press

Jewish Population Data


Possibly earliest Jewish settlement


30 families

(Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain, C. Roth)



(The Jewish Year Book 1897)


3 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1906)



(The Jewish Year Book 2005)

Other Communal Information

Jewish Congregations in Kent

Jewish Communities of England home page

Explanations of Terms Used



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