Follow that scent ! Study "Rabbi" Selden ! Rule the waves ! Britons, strike home !

The Island of Barbados. 44½ x 91. Circa 1694 [?]. Attributed to Isaac Sailmaker. Yale.
What might Isaac's religion, if any, have been ? Not RC, that's for certain.


If this tree had Marrano roots, what was a Marrano?

The blurb for a book by Norman Roth, titled Conversos, Inquisition, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, first published in 1995 and updated in 2002, reads: "The Jewish community of medieval Spain was the largest and most important in the West for more than a thousand years, participating fully in cultural and political affairs with Muslim and Christian neighbours. This stable situation began to change in the 1390s, and through the next century hundreds of thousands of Jews converted to Christianity. Norman Roth argues here with detailed documentation that, contrary to popular myth, the Conversos were sincere converts who hated (and were hated by) the remaining Jewish community. Roth examines in depth the reasons for the Inquisition against the Conversos, and the eventual expulsion of all Jews from Spain." Roth seems to prefer "Converso" to "Marrano".

Roth is by no means uncritical of a massive study by Benzion Netanyahu, with its somewhat parallel title, which appeared in the same year; but Netanyahu's verdict on the nature of the Marranos is essentially the same: they were genuine converts to Christianity. Quote below.

Netanyahu weighs in with a very hefty 1384 pages, whereas Roth makes do with a modest 483. Still, I wouldn't like to choose between them in this bout, and nowise claim to referee. The thought that Marranos were genuine Christians, whether forced or not, and never secret Jews at all, nevertheless makes good sense in respect of the early C16th Monamy family. It was puzzling to find a family unit arriving, apparently suddenly, in the Channel Isles about 1510, possibly from or via France, which was evidently enterprising and of some wealth, baptizing its offspring Jacob, Judith, Eli, Moses and Aaron, inter alia, and erecting what was possibly a Talmudic sentiment over the entrance to one of its more substantial dwellings. This was not Anglo-Saxon, Viking or Franco-Norman behaviour. Otherwise, there was nothing to say that these people were not totally conformist, fully assimilated, regular Christians; and 100% Protestant --- though presumably not until after 1535; or the Papal Bull against Luther of 1521.

Two passages: one plucked from Norman Roth, the other from the ether.

1. Roth, p 199: "Even those conversos who had considerable Jewish learning, such as Pablo de Santa María ..... completely rejected that knowledge ..... In his poem on the history of the world, for example, he has a serpent, who is 'Lucifer' (!), tempt Eve in the Garden of Eden .... [then] .....has Eve tempt Adam to eat the 'apple' ..... The man is 'good' but Eve is evil. While 'sin', a non-Jewish concept, is mentioned, however, the Christian doctrine of 'original sin' is not." Roth's statement here was an eye-opening surprise. While "original sin" has always struck me as a baffling, nonsensical idea, the thought that sin, in general, was a "non-Jewish concept" had never occurred to me. Christ's injunction about casting the first stone would have meant nothing, therefore, to those whom he was berating.

2. Anthony Grafton's review, 11 October, 2013, of David Nirenberg's book Anti-Judaism, 2013: "..... the complementary versions of Jews and Judaism elaborated by the early Christians --- many of whom were born into Jewish communities, and some of whom continued to practice Jewish rituals throughout their lives. Nirenberg starts with Paul .... " Surprise, surprise ! Both Jesus and Paul were, actually, Jewish.

Netanyahu has a note: "Unless otherwise indicated, the terms Conversos, Marranos and New Christians are used in this work synonymously". Roth devotes 11 pages, in his first chapter, entitled Marranos and Conversos, to discussing these terms. He states that he has "absolutely no clear idea as to what the term 'Marrano' means in Spanish, or, indeed, if it is a Spanish word at all. Numerous guesses ..... it has become more or less popularly understood that this word means 'pig'. However, there is no evidence whatever to support this." He clarifies: "Whatever the origin of the word (Marrano), the essentially insulting and derogatory meaning was clearly understood ....." Dr. Ghislain Muller, quoting Cecil Roth, Histoire des Marranes, in Was Shakespeare a Jew ?, 2011, p 25, has no doubt at all: " The word 'Marrano' is derived from the Arabic word 'Moharannah' which was in use in Spain in the the early Middle Ages. In Old Spanish, it means pork or pig." Roth, 1941, expands his spin on the term.

If those Jews who converted to Christianity were hated by the "remaining Jewish community", perhaps the word was especially preferrred by that community for application to the tornadizo, a milder term meaning "renegade", and especially if it meant "pig". Max I.Dimont, in The Indestructible Jews, revised paperback edition, 1973, wrote, page 290, that "Jewish Conversos were called Marranos --- swine --- by unconverted Jews". Pick what appeals. Sadly, Dimont's account, p 239, of how a mysterious and "venturesome Mediterranean people" arrived in Britain, where "the natives lived like animals", some time after 5,000 BC; erected Stonehenge "as a benchmark of their journey", and then left, is so utterly ridiculous that it undermines almost everything else he has to say.

Back to the island of Guernsey. According to Haim Chertok: "Unlike its sister island of Jersey, at no time in its history has Guernsey ever accommodated more than a smattering of Jews, never a Jewish community." One of these smatterings was the "extraordinary" Sir Edward Brampton, or Brandon, 1440-1508, sometime Governor of the island, in an appointment dating from 1482, a "chameleon", and a sort of cross between Robert Maxwell and Errol Flynn, but ten times more successful than either. Starting life in Portugal as Duarte Brandão, by the time of his death in 1508 the message may have circulated by bush telegraph that the Channel Isles could be a viable place for a Marrano to establish new roots. In any case the first Monamy must have arrived there within a very few years.

Monamy is, of course, a French name, doubtless long pre-dating the Monamys of the Channel Islands. Google turns up a William Monamy, or Munamy, a fishmonger in Old Fish Street, Castle Baynard ward, central London, in 1305. "Old Fish Street formerly ran from the Thames towards St. Paul’s Cathedral and was the location of a fish market since medieval times." "F mon ami, perhaps a habitual expression" notes Ekwall. The enigmatic Monamy Stone, surviving in Guernsey, linking the names of an André Monamy and a Rebecca Guille, and dated 1315, defies credible explanation. The date is seriously doubted.

Guernsey was famous for its knitted goods, produced mainly by men.. "Mary, Queen of Scots is said to have worn a pair of white Guernsey stockings for her execution". Knitting apart, it has been said that the mercantile prosperity of the islanders derived, "in peace, from smuggling; in war, from privateering". Branches of the Monamy tree are recorded as more active in these more strenuous occupations than in knitting. Andro Monamy was arrested for smuggling in 1569; Pierre Monamy, father of Peter, was clearly heavily involved in the practice, and briefly imprisoned, in 1676. His brother Andrew is recorded as a busy privateer, bosun and lieutenant, on Guernsey-owned ships, in 1710. These are merely the known facts and incidents on record.

click for more

The threads laboriously knitted together on this, and previous linked pages, are these: That the Channel Isle Monamys were of Marrano origin; That a Marrano was a genuine New Christian, neither a Crypto-Jew nor a Judaizer; That a Converso was a Roman Catholic, and frequently aligned with inquisitorial Old Christians; That a Marrano was a dedicated anti-Roman Catholic and consequently also, in England, a dedicated anti-Stuart; That the Guernsey Monamys were dedicated anti-Catholics for a minimum of seven generations; That the corollary to anti-Catholicism was Britannia's sovereignty of the seas; That this entailed rejection of Customs and Excise legislation, especially when drafted by a crypto-royalist Walpole;

That this inevitably implied enthusiastic smuggling, and privateering against the enemies of England: ie France and Spain, but not so much against Portugal; That Carvajal, the first endenizened English Jew, assembled his friends, including Samuel Swynock, a Painter-Stainer, in 1648, and smashed open a warehouse to retrieve his merchandise, impounded by Customs Officers; That procuring membership of the Painter-Stainer's Company was a useful route for a Jew to become a Freeman of the City of London; That, possibly via the mediation of Samuel Swynock, Rowland Gideon took this route in 1697. Could he have known of the decision of Andrew Monamy, in 1696, to register his nephew Peter as an apprentice with its sometime Master, William Clark, who may have been a member of a privateering family?

Description of a mid-18th century privateer: Commander: William Roberts. Ship: Prince of Wales. Burden: 26 tons. Crew: 99. Owners: Richard Bismon, John Bristow, John Clevland and Samson Gideon of London, merchants. Lieutenant: Jonathan Court. Gunner: Archibald Boyd. Boatswain: James Cheshunt. Carpenter: Edward Meadows. Surgeon: John Brown. Cook: John Tomson. Armament: 6 carriage guns. Date: 1757 November 2 Folio: 109 Held by: The National Archives, Kew. Legal status: Public Record. Reference: HCA 26/8/108. This Samson, or Sampson, son of Rowland, becoming a colossus, aimed for total assimilation into the British class hierarchy. Jewishness was jettisoned, if not for himself, then for his progeny, portrayed below.

Sir Sampson Gideon, age 22, and his tutor, Signor Basti, 1767, by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, 1708-87, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. "The sumptuously dressed figure on the left, whose confident pose suggests high rank, cannot be a tutor". There also exists a study for this painting. Graphite, chalk on paper (?). Copy obtainable from the Courtauld Institute, London.

Sir Sampson Gideon by Benjamin West, 1728-1830
Auctioned New York, Friday, September 30, 2005. Lot 60
50½ x 40. Christie's. Unsold

Sir Sampson Gideon, also Lord Eardley, 1744-1824
Provincial Grand Master, 1796 - 1824

Sampson's grandfather was a Portuguese Jew who settled in London as a merchant of the West India trade and became very successful, changing his Portuguese name of 'Abudiente' to the more readily acceptable 'Gideon'. This man's son, Lord Eardley's father, also named Sampson, also spelled Samson, was born in London and in 1719, at the age of twenty, went into business for himself with a capital of £1,500 which, astoundingly, he increased over fivefold in two years. He became England's financial colossus. Is that him, at left, in red ? Could it be a posthumous depiction, suiting a colossus?

Walpole, the 'first Prime Minister', sought his help in raising a loan for the War of Jenkin's Ear with Spain. Gideon may be seen as a father of the Stock Exchange. His knowledge of the markets served him well in 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie advanced with his highland army on Derby. There was considerable panic in London, but Gideon kept his head and bought everything he could lay his hands on.

When the Young Pretender turned back and began the disastrous retreat that led to Culloden, the market recovered and Gideon was a multi-multi-millionaire. In time he became the principal source and organiser for major Government loans, at one time providing Pitt's Government with £1.7 million, as security for which he had pledged his own considerable fortune and estates. He was, by now, the highly respectable and respected Sampson Gideon Esq., Gentleman, of Spalding in the County of Lincolnshire, said to have an income of 'a guinea a minute'. What he really wanted to be was a Baronet!

From the Jewish Encylopedia: "Samson Gideon: English financier; born in London 1699; died 1762. He was a son of Rowland Gideon (died 1720), a West-Indian merchant, who changed his name from the Portuguese 'Abudiente' on settling in England, and became a freeman of the city of London and a member of the Paper-Stainers' Company Feb. 17, 1697. Samson Gideon began business in 1720 with a capital of £1,500, which increased so rapidly that in 1729 he was admitted a sworn broker with a capital of £25,000, invested chiefly in landed estates. His fortune continued to increase so that in 1740 he had become 'the great oracle and leader of Jonathan's Coffee House in Exchange Alley.' So prudently were his speculations conducted that he seldom suffered losses." [When the Encyclopedia writes Paper-Stainers, it means Painter-Stainers.]

Sampson Eardley had been a gilded youth. In 1759, still at Eton and but eleven years old, he had received a Baronetcy from the grateful government of the Elder Pitt. Mind you, the lad was not then an Eardley, but simply Sampson Gideon, favoured son of a very rich father.

Sampson Gideon was not satisfied just to be an Anglo-Jewish aristocrat, but others were. From Wikipedia: Mocatta (also de Mattos Mocatta, Lumbroso de Mattos Mocatta and Lumbrozo de Mattos Mocatta) is the name of a prominent Anglo-Jewish family, originally from Spain, known for philanthropy, leadership and sponsorship of arts and letters, particularly in the United Kingdom. Long involved in finance, commerce, and the law, they are considered to be one of the principal families in the "cousinhood" of senior sephardic Anglo-Jewish families, the de facto Anglo-Jewish aristocracy: these influential families of the "cousinhood" include the d'Avigdor family, Sassoon family, Goldsmid family, Henriques family, Kadoorie family, Lousada family, Mazza family, Montefiore, and Samuel family.

Wikipedia also has this: "Toward the middle of the 17th century a considerable number of Marrano merchants settled in London and formed there a secret congregation, at the head of which was Antonio Fernandez Carvajal. They conducted a large business with the Levant, East and West Indies, Canary Islands, and Brazil, and above all with the Netherlands, Spain, and Portugal. They formed an important link in the network of trade spread especially throughout the Spanish and Portuguese world by the Marranos or secret Jews (see Commerce). Their position enabled them to give Cromwell and his secretary, Thurloe, important information as to the plans both of Charles Stuart in Holland and of the Spaniards in the New World (see L. Wolf, "Cromwell's Secret Intelligencers"). Outwardly they passed as Spaniards and Catholics; but they held prayer-meetings at Creechurch Lane, and became known to the government as Jews by faith."

The following fairly similar passage is quoted on a highly informative website about Fernandez de Carvajal, but its remoter origin seems to have disappeared: "Between the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290, and their formal return in 1655, there are no official traces of Jews on English soil, except in connection with the Domus Conversorum, which kept a considerable number of Jews (who had converted to Christianity) within its precincts, until 1551. An attempt was made to revoke the edict of expulsion as early as 1310, but in vain. However, Jews did return, for complaints were made to the King in 1376, that some of those trading as Lombards in London, were actually Jews.

After the expulsion from Spain, a number of Jews arrived in London. From the mid 1600's a large number of Marranos settled in London, practising as merchants. They appear to have formed a secret congregation, headed by Antonio Fernandez Carvajal. They did business with the East and West Indies, and above all, with Holland, Spain and Portugal. Their position enabled them to be of use to Cromwell regarding the plans of the exiled King, Charles Stuart, and also of the Spaniards in the New World. Relations between England and Spain were hostile at this time. These Jews outwardly passed as Catholics but they held services at Cree Church Lane (Just around the corner from the present synagogue), and they were known to the Government as being Jews by faith."

The two books named below I might buy some day. I'd better wait until my ship comes in:

History of the Ancient synagogue of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews: the cathedral synagogue of the Jews in England, situate in Bevis Marks : on the anniversary of its inauguration, 1701-1901 , by Moses Gaster, is a replication. It has been restored by human beings, page by page, so that you may enjoy it in a form as close to the original as possible. This item is printed on demand. Price: £31.61. Shipping: £5.64. From USA to UK.

Seafaring and the Jews edited by Nadav Kashtan. 9 ISBN: 0714651400 / 0-7146-5140-0. Bookseller in United Kingdom. Price: £158.27 Shipping: free (!) within United Kingdom. Taylor and Francis (Routledge), 2001. Hardback. 120 pages. This item is printed on demand. This collection studies Jewish involvement in seafaring from Biblical, through Greco-Roman, Medieval and Early Modern periods to the present. This broad historical perspective allows a closer look at various attitudes of Jews to maritime activities, especially as shipowners and traders in the Mediterranean regions. Collectively, these volumes constitute an interesting and informative introduction to the phenomenon of Jewish maritime activity in War and Peace. Israel Affairs

The ship came in. This publication, Seafaring and the Jews, appears to be virtually identical with the Mediterranean Historical Review, Volume 15, June 2000, Number 1, A Frank Cass Journal, bought the other day for one-tenth of the £158 quoted. Paperback, mind you.

The "Wallonne" church at Southampton.

What's in a tree, my friend ?
à bout de souffle 28
à bout de souffle 26: naval supremacy & jews in barbados
à bout de souffle 23: unfounded assertions

monamy, the seafarer, shakespeare & the jews

monamy website index

The bitterness of academic life was memorably noted by Max Weber: "Academic careers are then sorely beset by chance. When a young scientist or scholar comes to seek advice ..... [he] must be asked with the utmost seriousness: "Do you think that, year after year, you will be able to stand to see one mediocrity after another promoted over you, and still not become embittered and dejected?" Of course, the answer is always: "Naturally, I live only for my calling." But only in a very few cases have I found them able to undergo it without suffering spiritual damage. These things have to be said about the external conditions of the academic career."

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
In a world of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Truth is treason in an empire of lies.
George Orwell, 1903 - 1950

"There is no history, only fictions of varying degrees of plausibility."
Voltaire, 1694-1778

'What', Churchill inquired, 'is the worth of all this?
Isaac Newton laughed, for the first and only time in his life

Paris vaut bien une messe; Henry of Navarre, 25 July 1593.

A Handy Reading List: repeated here, with a few more titles and notes.
Picciotto, James
Mocatta, F.D.
Wolf, Lucien
Singer, Isidore (ed)
Wolf, Lucien
Wolf, Lucien
Henriques, H.S.Q.
Hyamson, Albert M.
Friedman, Lee M.
Samuel, Wilfred S.
Browne, Lewis
Roth, Cecil
Wolf, Lucien (ed Cecil Roth)
Adler, Michael [ed]
Roth, Cecil
Roth, Cecil
Netanyahu, Benzion
Endelman, Todd M.
Newman, Aubrey [ed]
Samuel, Edgar
Roth, Norman
Netanyahu, Benzion
Felsenstein, Frank
Gitlitz, David M
Zimler, Richard
Coulton, Barbara
Kashtan, Nadav (ed)
Cesarani, David (ed)
Endelman, Todd M.
Samuel, Edgar
Hessayon, Ariel
Rosenblatt, Jason
Azevedo, Manuel
Kritzler, Edward
Yovel, Yirmiyahu
Muller, Ghislain
Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History
The Jews and the Inquisition
The First English Jew, Antonio Carvajal
The Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jewry of the Restoration: 1660-1664
Cromwell's Jewish Intelligencers
The Return of the Jews to England
History of the Jews in England
Early Jewish Residents in Massachusetts
A Review of the Jewish Colonists in Barbados in the Year 1680
Stranger than Fiction
A History of the Marranos
Essays in Jewish History
Jewish Historical Society Transactions Vol XIII
History of the Jews in England
Sir Edward Brampton: An Anglo-Jewish Adventurer
The Marranos of Spain: late C14 - early C16
The Jews of Georgian England, 1714-1830
Jewish Historical Studies Vol XXIX
The Portuguese Jewish Community in London 1656-1830
Conversos, Inquisition and the Expulsion of the Jews
The Origins of the Inquisition in C15 Spain
Anti-Semitic Stereotypes
Secrecy And Deceit: The Religion of the Crypto-Jews
The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon
Cromwell and the 'readmission' of the Jews to England, 1656
Seafaring and the Jews
Port Jews: 1550-1950
The Jews of Britain, 1650-2000
At the End of the Earth: Jews in England & Portugal
From Expulsion (1290) to Readmission (1656): Jews in England
Renaissance England's Chief Rabbi: John Selden
How the Portuguese Marranos (Secret Jews} Saved England
Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean
The Other Within: The Marranos
Was Shakespeare a Jew ?
Revised, edited by Israel Finestein 1955
Facsimile 2005
Simplistic. Angled.
Some essays listed here separately
Updated and Expanded 1999
Afterword 2002: addresses Netanyahu
Maritime anthropology
Essay collection
The Jewish Magazine, May, 2007
Highly readable. Tries to be non-partisan.
OK. You've convinced me.


Who needs Eden, or Everlasting Life ?


© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2013
all rights reserved