Medieval Cemetery Commemorative Stone Laid


On Wednesday 4th July after five years of planning, the unveiling and commemoration of a memorial stone was unveiled
by the Presidents of Magdalen College, Prof. David Clary, and Oxford Jewish Community, Mr Simon Ryde.

Under a somewhat leaden sky a small service of dedication and remembrance was  held in the Rose Garden in front of
the entrance to the Botanic Garden.  The programme was as follows:

Screen_shot_2012-07-06_at_08.04.12

The stone bears the following inscription:

Screen_shot_2012-07-06_at_08.04.54
Following the service the 53 officiants and guests attended a small reception in the Large Glasshouse within the Botanic Garden.  

Reports of the event appeared on the BBC Radio Oxford and Jewish Chronicle websites, and the Oxford Mail.

Dr_Evie_Kemp_Chair_OJH     Simon_Ryde_President_OJC    Pam_Manix_Medievalist
President_of_OJC_and_President_of_Magdalen_College      Placing_Stones_as_a_sign_of_Rememberance       Lynton_AppelInvited_Guests

JC5thJuly2012How the event was reported in the Jewish Chronicle, 6th July 2012

BBC Oxford carried a piece on their website, as did the Times of Israel
 
Medieval Jewish Cemetery

rosegarden

The Jewish Cemetery was set up on areas of land the medieval Oxford Jews purchased shortly after 1177, which were in fact water meadows by the Cherwell river. The land is now owned by Magdalen College and the Botanic Gardens.

Much of this land North of the High was appropriated from the Jews in 1231 by the Hospital of St John leaving only a small area of the meadows, located near the Rose Garden which remained as the Jewish Burial Ground until 1290, when all Jews in England were expelled.

A plaque is fixed to the Gates of the Botanic Garden, unveiled by the City Council in 1931, to commemorate the site as the ancient Jewish Cemetery, see contemporary reports carried in the Oxford Mail and Times. The plaque is difficult to see.

botanic_gdn_plq

"THIS STONE MARKS THE SITE OF THE JEWISH CEMETERY UNTIL 1290"

The footpath from these Gardens to Christ Church Meadows linked the Cemetery to the Medieval Jewry along what is now St Aldates, and has long been known as 'Deadman's Walk' a name still used today.

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden was established at the beginning of the 17th century as a 'physic garden' on the site of the original Jewish cemetery which lay just outside the East Gate of the Ancient City Walls

The Oxford Jewish Heritage Committee erected a new, more prominent, memorial to the Medieval Jewish Community on 4th July 2012.  The story was carried by the Oxford Mail.   A special article also appears on this website giving details of the new memorial and the dedication ceremony