Hittecote sister of Belaset


  • Convert to Christianity

Brief biography

Hittecote (also called Hictecote and Hyghtecote) was the sister of Belaset of Oxford. As far as can be determined from available records, she resided in Oxford and never married. Her sister was married to Solomon son of Jacob of Alcester (Warwickshire) and resided in Alcester at least during her marriage. When Belasetʼs husband was executed in the coin-clipping crisis of the late 1270s, however, she returned to Oxford, where she and Hittecote, along with another woman called Floria Tapay (possibly another relation and also a recent widow, likely for the same reason that Belaset was), converted to Christianity. The women first appear in two records that order a mixed jury of Christian and Jews to assess the pre-conversion value of their chattels (the first appointed jury were deemed unfit and the Oxford sheriff then had to find wealthier and more distinguished options). The valuation must have been complete by spring 1281. By then, Belaset and Hittecote were living in the London Domus Conversorum (House of Converts), an institution for Jewish converts to Christianity established by Henry III in 1232 on what is now Chancery Lane. The warden of the house complained that the sisters urgently needed their property, or at least the assessed value of it, for their maintenance, and asked that it be released immediately. This was granted (the warden produced a writ from the king making it so), and the Justices of the Jews delivered to the Domus nine Latin books belonging to the sisters, all concerning natural philosophy, grammar, and civil law, together worth nearly £3, along with 10s. as the value of their clothing. These facts tell us much about their pre-conversion life: first, Hittecote was involved in the book trade—she and her sister likely held books in pledge for loans—and the number and kind of books suggest an active business with Oxford scholars; second, a group of women converting together is notable. It suggests that women might embrace such a change together, particularly if widowhood and collective loss left few other options.
Further reading
  • Fogle, Lauren, The King’s Converts: Conversion in Medieval London. Lexington Books. 2019.
  • Hillaby, J. and C. Hillaby, The Palgrave Dictionary of Medieval Anglo-Jewish History. London: Palgrave. 2015, s.v. Coinage and Coin-Clipping Crises, 1238–47 and 1276–79, pp. 104–09.
  • Rokéah, Zefira Entin, Money and the Hangman in Late-13th-Century England: Jews, Christians and Coinage Offenses Alleged and Real (Part II), Jewish Historical Studies 32 (1990-1992): 159–218.
  • Williams Boyarin, Adrienne, The Christian Jew and the Unmarked Jewess: The Polemics of Sameness in Medieval English Anti-Judaism. The Middle Ages Series. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2021, pp. 121–123.

Dates mentioned in records



Oxfordshire, London



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Putative social network for Hittecote sister of Belaset (convert) (experimental feature)
Belaset Solomon of Alcester Hittecote
Putative family tree for Hittecote sister of Belaset (convert) (experimental feature)