the former

Gloucester Jewish Community

and Synagogue

Gloucester, Gloucestershire




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.

City of Gloucester

The city of Gloucester, with a population of approximately 110,000, is situated on the right bank of the river Severn in the West of England.  It is the county town and a local government district of the county of Gloucestershire, and was a county borough until 1974.

Gloucester Jewish Community

There was a medieval Jewish community in Gloucester.

In modern times, the first Jews appear to have begun to settle in the city before the end of the seventeenth century and a community was formed and the synagogue was established early in the eighteenth century. The community had its own cemetery by the early nineteenth century, with its own shochet in 1830, but had ceased to exist by the 1870s.

In recent years, a liberal Jewish community, now known as the Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community (see separately), was established, serving the counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The principal sources for information on the modern Gloucester community are The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth, 1950 (Gloucester section online) (referred to here as "Roth") and Chapter 2 of The Hebrew Community of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud by Brian Torode, 1989 (online) (referred to here as "Torode").

Congregation Data


Gloucester Synagogue


The synagogue was in Mercy Place, Gloucester, opposite the Infirmary,(iv) from at least 1892.(v)

Previously the synagogue was 'on the south side of Barton Street', nearly opposite the Presbyterian Meeting Hall. The building was demolished in the 1960s, to make way for the Co-op.(vi)


There are reports of a synagogue from 1792,(vii), although it is likely to have been established some time earlier.


Although the synagogue was reportedly closed in 1840 "due to lack of congregation", there were reports of services being held 1842 and possibly in 1852,(viii) although it is uncertain as to where these services were held. A report of 1842 refers to a room inn Southgate Street.(xi)

However, the congregation had become defunct by the 1870s. In 1871, the Chief Rabbi visited the city, but by then the independent existence of the community had come to an end, the remaining members being affiliated to the Cheltenham Synagogue.(xii)


Ashkenazi Orthodox


The congregation was an unaffiliated congregation under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.


The manuscript of the congregation's regulations, the Takkanot, written in Yiddish about the year 1800, is in the Mocatta Library, London.(xiii)

Spiritual Leaders:

Rev. Isaiah Abrahams - acted as minister in late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.(xvi)

Rev. A. Levy, shochet authorised to practise at Gloucester in 1830.(xvii)

Registration District:

Gloucestershire, since 1 April 2006(xviii) - Link to Register Office website


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Gloucester include:

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

    • Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Gloucester during the 1770s (1 record), 1780s (1 record), 1790s (3 records), 1800s (4 records); 1810s (14 records); 1820s (5 records), 1830s (6 records), 1840s (16 records), 1850s (16 records), 1860s (11 records), 1870s (5 records), 1880s (3 records) and 1890s (1 record).


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Gloucester Jewish Community


on Third Party websites

Notable Jewish Connections with Gloucester

(Prepared with the assistance of Steven Jaffe)

  • David Ricardo (1772-1823), who owned the Gatcombe Park Estate in Gloucestershire, was Sheriff of Gloucester in 1818.(xxv)

  • Members of Parliament for Gloucester (which was represented by a Jewish MP for a continuous period of 42 years (1945-1987):

    • Moss Turner-Samuels QC (1888-1957), Labour MP for Gloucester, 1945-1957, was a former city councillor in Newcastle upon Tyne, and served as High Sheriff of Gloucester, 1945-1946.

    • Rt. Hon. John Diamond (known Jack Diamond) (1910-2004), Labour MP for Gloucester, 1957-1970, served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, from 1964 to 1970. He was created a life peer as Baron Diamond of the City of Gloucester in 1970. He led the Social Democratic Party in the House of Lords from 1982 to 1988.

    • Sarah Oppenheimer (known as Sally Oppenheimer) (born 1928), Conservative MP for Gloucester 1970-1987, served as Minister of State for Consumer Affairs from 1979 to 1982. She was created a life peer as Baroness Oppenheimer-Barnes of Gloucester in 1989. She retired from the House of Lords in 2019.


Gloucester Jewish Cemetery Information

Jewish burial grounds in Gloucester:(xxvi)

  • The old Gloucester Jewish Burial Ground, Organ's Passage, or Gardner's Lane, off Barton Street (adjoining St Michael's Parish burial grounds), was the original Jewish cemetery in Gloucester, also serving the Jewish residents of Ross, Hereford and Stroud.  The first interment was that of the child Uri or Pheis (called Phillip) Levi, who died in the autumn of 1784. About 27 gravestones survived, the oldest being from 1807 and the latest from 1886. In 1938, the graves were exhumed (to make way for a children's playground) and re-interred in the Coney Hill Cemetery, with the approval of the trustees and the Board of Deputies. The epitaphs on these gravestones are listed in the Gloucester section in The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth, 1950, part of the Susser Archive.

  • Coney Hill Cemetery, Coney Hill Road, Gloucester, GL4 4PA has a small hedged Jewish Section that contains the 1938 re-interred remains and re-erected gravestones from the old Organ's Passage burial ground.

Article on JCR-UK:

  • "Jewish Tombstone Inscriptions in S. W. England - Studies in Anglo-Jewish History No. 3", by Rabbi Dr. Bernard Susser, includes an Introduction that makes reference to Gloucester. Part of the Susser Archive.

(For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Gloucester)


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) to (iii) Reserved.

  • (iv) Roth, paragraph 1.

  • (v) Torode, p. 16.

  • (vi) Torode, p. 16

  • (vii) Torode, p. 16.

  • (viii) Torode, pp. 16/17.

  • (ix) and (x) Reserved.

  • (xi) Jewish Chronicle report of 18 March 1842.

  • (xii) Roth, paragraph 3.

  • (xiii) Roth, paragraph 1.

  • (xiv) and (xv) Reserved.

  • (xvi) Roth, paragraph 1 and Torode, p. 15. To view a short profile ofRev. Abrahams, hold the cursor over his name

  • (xvii) Roth, paragraph 2.

  • (xviii) Previous Registration Districts: Gloucester - from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1937; Gloucester City - from 1 April 1937 to 1 April 1974; and Gloucester - from 1 April 1974 to 1 April 2006. All registers would now be held by the current office.

  • (xix) to (xxiv) Reserved.

  • (xxv) Torode, p. 16.

  • (xxvi) Roth, paragraph 1; Torode, p. 16; and Jewish Heritage of Britain and Ireland by Sharman Kadesh, p.123.

Jewish Congregations in Gloucestershire

Jewish Communities of England homepage

Page created: 22 August 2005
Page significantly enhanced and notes added: 10 November 2023
Page most recently amended: 29 December 2023

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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