Chatham Memorial Synagogue

& Jewish Community of Medway

Medway, Kent




Page created: 25 July 2003
Latest revision or update: 5 May 2017

Chatham Memorial Synagogue
Chatham Memorial Synagogue

Chatham and the Borough of Medway

The Kentish towns of Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and one or two other small towns near the Thames estuary in southeast England, form a single conurbation, and are known as the Medway Towns, named after the river Medway on, or close to which, the towns are situated.  In 1974, the local government district, known as the Borough of Medway, was formed, within the county of Kent, by the merger of the municipal boroughs of Rochester (which then had City status) and Chatham, together with adjoining areas. In 1979, it was renamed the Borough of Rochester-upon-Medway, and in 1982, the City of Rochester-upon-Medway. In 1998, it was enlarged by the incorporation of the adjacent district of Gillingham, was renamed the Borough of Medway and become a unitary authority.

Medway Jewish Community

The has been a Jewish community in the Chatham and Rochester for nearly 300 years, and prior thereto, there had been a medieval Jewish community in Rochester. The community's synagogue, although called the Chatham Memorial Synagogue, is actually situated in Rochester. 

Congregation Data


Chatham Memorial Synagogue

Predecessor Synagogue:

Cottage Jews' Tabernacle Synagogue


366 High Street, Rochester (rebuilt 1869/70, in memory of Captain Lazarus Simon Magnus, on site of previous synagogue)

Date Founded:


Current Status:



Ashkenazi Orthodox

Marriage Certification:

Group for Certification: Board of Deputies
Appears in 1998 General Registrar Official List
Worship Number: 30747
Registration District: Chatham

Membership Numbers:

1845 - 16 Ba'alai batim and 40 seatholders (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)

1852 - 30 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1860 - 31 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1870 - 34 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1880 - 30 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1890 - 15 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1900 - 10 seatholders (Jewish Year Book 1896/7)

1905 - 10 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1906)

1999 - 38 members (Board of Deputies return)




Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with the Chatham and Rochester include:


Chatham Magnus Memorial Synagogue Cemetery, 1786-1982 (190 records) see also introductory article

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in:
Chatham during the 1770s (2 records), 1780s (6 records), 1790s (3 records), 1800s (9 records), 1810s (22 records); 1820s (58 records), 1830s (85 records), 1840s (108 records), 1850s (110 records), 1860s (58 records), 1870s (19 records), 1880s (6 records), 1890s (4 records) and 1900s (1 record); and
Rochester during the 1780s (1 record), 1790s (4 records), 1800s (8 records), 1810s (10 records); 1820s (12 records), 1830s (11 records), 1840s (22 records), 1850s (24 records), 1860s (4 records), 1870s (4 records) and 1880s (2 records).


On-line Articles and Other Material relating to the
Medway (Chatham & Rochester) Jewish Community



Other Chatham Jewish Institutions & Organisations
(that had been formed by 1900*)

  • Branch of Anglo-Jewish Association (founded 1887)

  • Philanthropic Society (founded by 1896) for the relief of Local Poor.

* As listed in the Jewish Year Books 1896 & 1900.


Chatham & Rochester Jewish Cemetery Information

Jewish Cemeteries in Chatham and Rochester

  • Chatham Old Jewish Burial Ground (actually situated in Rochester). It is behind the synagogue at 366 High Street, Rochester and is the only cemetery in the UK attached to a synagogue. It was in use from the 1780s.

    Articles and other material on JCR-UK:

    • Chatham Cemetery, by Martyn Webster, includes an introductory article to the Chatham Cemetery database (above).

  • Chatham Municipal Cemetery, Jewish Section (Note: this should not be confused with the Jewish Cemetery in  Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada.)

(See also IAJGS Cemetery Project - Chatham & Rochester)


Jewish Population Data
(excluding student population)



(The Jewish Year Book 1901)



(The Jewish Year Book 1906)



(The Jewish Year Book 1916)



(The Jewish Year Book 1935)



(The Jewish Year Book 1946)



(The Jewish Year Book 2056)



(The Jewish Year Book 1966)



(The Jewish Year Book 2005)



Synagogue Records:

Jewish Congregations in Kent

Jewish Communities of England home page



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