Susser Archives

Shull Logo




Thesis first published on JCR-UK: 2003
Complete reformatting by David Shulman: July 2014
Latest revision (some pages only): 22 November 2016

The Jews of South-West England

Thesis by Rabbi Bernard Susser

Please note that the text of Rabbi Susser's thesis is very long! Downloading it, plus the cost of printing out the pages, would probably exceed the cost of purchasing a copy of his book which he based on this thesis. It also has an index, maps, illustrations and many other additions. It is available from University of Exeter Press, Reed Hall, Streatham Drive, EXETER, Devon EX4 4QR. ISBN









1   Early Settlement

 Part 1: Ancient Traces

 Part 2: The Medieval Jewry

2   The Jewish Communities after 1656

 Part 1: Composition and Growth

 Part 2: Towns of Minor Jewish Settlement

 Part 3: Area of Town Occupied by Jews

 Part 4: Movement of Jews

a) within England

b) overseas

3   Demographic structure

 Part 1: The Immigrants

 Part 2: Births, Marriages and Deaths

4   Occupations

5   Cemeteries and Synagogues

6   Communal organization

 Part 1: Lay and Religious Leadership

 Part 2: Synagogal Finances

 Part 3: Internal Communal Discipline

7   Religious Lfe

8   Philanthropy

9   Inventors, Writers and Artists

10 Acculturation and Assimilation




Remember the days of old,

Consider the years of many generations;

Ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee,

Thine elders, and they will tell thee.

(Deuteronomy 32:7)


My hopes are with the Dead; anon

My place with them will be,

And I with them shall travel on

Through all Futurity;

Yet leaving here a name, I trust,

That will not perish in the dust.

(Robert Southey, His Books)



This thesis was submitted in June 1977 to the University of Exeter, England, for the degree of PhD in the faculty of Social Studies.

Many people have helped me in the course of my research in writing this book, and any merit in it is in large measure due to them. First and foremost, I gladly acknowledge my debt to Dr H. E. S. Fisher of the University of Exeter who taught me all I know of historical method and the art of marshalling evidence. Without his constant friendship, encouragement and advice over many years neither the original thesis nor this book would ever have been completed.

The late Dr Cecil Roth initiated me into Anglo-Jewish historical research and most generously encouraged me by allowing me access to his entire collection. The late Dr Vivian Lipman pointed me in the direction of the Decennial Census returns, and Mr A. Schischa taught me the Yiddish I needed to decipher the Plymouth Congregation's Yiddish records, as well as helping me with a number difficulties.

The late Sir Israel Brodie and Lord Jakobovits allowed me to use the archives of the Chief Rabbi's Office. The late Mr Wilfred Jessop, Chicago, generously loaned me his unpublished work, 'Coat of Many Colours'.

I am grateful to a host of correspondents whose help is acknowledged in the footnotes, but in particular to the late Mr L. Berlin, son of the Revd M. Berlin who was minister to the Plymouth Congregation 1896-1906, and Mr L. Norman, son of the secretary of the Plymouth Congregation in 1858(!), because they gave me much information as well as a large number of documents relating to the Congregation. Mr Percy Aloof searched the microfilms (an eye-straining job) and transcribed the 1871 and part of the 1881 Plymouth census returns for me until ill-health prevented him from continuing.

Nearly thirty years has elapsed since I began my research and many who gave me access to their offices and libraries and showed me how to use their treasures are now in the World of Truth. I thank them for the help they gave me; all my doubts, queries, suppositions and mistakes are known to them. I will be glad to hear from any reader who can throw any more light on any aspect of this book so that errors can be corrected.

My thanks are due to Channa and Jacob. When they were little they allowed me to do the necessary research, and when they grew up they read the many draft manuscripts, checked them and pointed out passages which I had not made clear.

Mr Simon Baker, of the University of Exeter Press, has seen this work through to publication. His meticulous attention to detail has saved it from many an error. I thank him and the Press for their help and cooperation.

The generosity of the family of the late Mr Arthur Goldberg has made the publication of this book possible: the reading public and I are greatly indebted to them.

According to the Jewish proverb, 'The last, Ah!, the last is the most precious'. In respect of my wife's contribution to this work I can only echo Rabbi Akiva's words to his disciples: My knowledge and what you learn from me is all due to her.

Top of page

Next Page (Glossary)

Susser Archive Table of Contents

Susser Archives home page


Explanation of Terms   |   About JCR-UK  |   JCR-UK home page

Contact JCR-UK Webmaster:

JGSGB  JewishGen

Terms and Conditions, Licenses and Restrictions for the use of this website:

This website is owned by JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. All material found herein is owned by or licensed to us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your own personal use. You may not post material from this site on another website without our consent. You may not transmit or distribute material from this website to others. You may not use this website or information found at this site for any commercial purpose.

Copyright © 2002 - 2024 JCR-UK. All Rights Reserved