Canterbury and District Jewish Community

Canterbury, Kent




Page created: 4 November 2005
Latest revision or update: 5 May 2017

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.

Since the resettlement, there was only ever one congregation at any one time in Canterbury.  The present community also includes members from the Hythe and Whitstable area.

Congregation Data


Canterbury and District Jewish Community

Former Name:

Canterbury Synagogue

Synagogue Address:

Old Synagogue, King Street, Canterbury, built 1846/8, when first stone laid by Sir Moses Montefiore. The synagogue was sold in in 1937.

Following sale, the building became St Alphege Church Hall and is now the music and rehearsal rooms of King's School  - a Grade II Listed Building, listed on 7 September 1973 (number 1240866). See Historic England Listing & Description

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)

1845 - 8 ba'alai batim and 4 seatholders (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)

1846 - 14 members

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


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Canterbury include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Canterbury during the 1760s (2 records); 1770s (2 records), 1780s (6 records), 1790s (14 records), 1800s (10 records), 1810s (10 records); 1820s (22 records), 1830s (56 records), 1840s (105 records), 1850s (82 records), 1860s (37 records), 1870s (22 records), 1880s (7 records), 1890s (3 records) and 1900s (2 records).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Canterbury Jewish Community



Canterbury Jewish Cemetery Information

Canterbury had the following Jewish Cemeteries:

  • Canterbury Old Jews Burial Ground, Whitstable Road, Canterbury CT2. This old disused Jewish cemetery, opened 1760, is now maintained by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

  • There was a old Jewish Cemetery in Canterbury in use by Canterbury's Medieval Jewish community from some time after 1177 until 1290.

(For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project Canterbury)


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)

Jewish Congregations in Kent

Jewish Communities of England home page



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