62. THE WICKEDNESS OF THE JEWS
Illustration -- Jews burnt at the stake
About [this] time the wicked Jews at Lincoln had cruelly crucified, whipped, and tormented a certain child named Hugo, of nine years of age, A.D. 1255, in the month of August. At length the child being sought and found by the mother, being cast in a pit, two and thirty of those abominable Jews were put to execution. Whereof Matthew Paris reciteth a long story. The same or like fact was also intended by the like Jews at Norwich twenty years before upon a certain child, whom they had first circumcised, and detained a whole year in custody, intending to crucify him, for which the Jews were sent up to the Tower of London, of whom eighteen were hanged, and the rest remained long in prison. Of this wicked Jewish people I find also in the book Flores Historiarum that about this year of our Lord, 1255, they began first to be expelled out of France, by the commandment of the French king, being then in Palestine, warring against the Turks; by the occasion that it was objected then by the Turk against him and other Christian princes, for the retaining the Jews amongst them, which did crucify our Saviour, and warring against them which did not crucify him. Of these Jews moreover King Henry the same year, 1255, exacted to be given unto him eight thousand marks, in pain of hanging. Who, being much grieved therewith, and complaining that the king went about their destruction, desired leave to be given them of the king, that they might depart the realm, never to return again. But the king committed the doing of that matter unto Earl Richard, his brother, to enforce them to pay the money, whether they would or no. Moreover of the same Jews mention is made in the story entitled Eulogium. Of the Jews in Northampton, who had among themselves prepared wild-fire, to burn the city of London, for the which divers of them were taken, and burned in the time of Lent, in the said city of Northampton, which was two years before, about the year of our Lord 1253. And forasmuch as mention here is made of the Jews, I cannot omit what some English stories write of a certain Jew, who not long after this time, about the year of our Lord 1257, fell into a privy at Tewkesbury upon a sabbath day; which, for the great reverence he had to his holy sabbath, would not suffer himself to be plucked out. And so Lord Richard, earl of Gloucester, hearing thereof, would not suffer him to be drawn out on Sunday for reverence of the holy day. And thus the wretched superstitious Jew, remaining there till Monday, was found dead in the dung.