Referred to in records as: “Juliana”, “Juliana la converse”.


  • Convert to Christianity

Brief biography

In late 1274, Juliana, a convert from Judaism to Christianity who lived in London, claimed that she had been entrusted by the penitentiaries of St. Paul with the teaching of a more recent convert called Roesia (or Rosa). The two were walking near the London Jewry in the midst of the Jewish High Holidays when, she claimed, they were attacked, abducted, and tortured by London Jews. Juliana accused five men and four women and detailed how she was imprisoned and tortured in the house of a widow named Antera, who threatened to hang her unless she returned to Judaism. Later, she said, a man named Solomon took her on a boat on the Thames and very nearly raped her, but a storm overtook them and led the boat to the port of Sandwich. From there, she was able to escape and make her way to Canterbury. The Jews of Canterbury then sent a letter to the Jews of London on her behalf, demanding damages in the huge sum of 1000 marks. During her imprisonment, she lost track of her convert companion Roesia/Rosa and did not know whether she survived or returned to the disbelief of the Jews or had been killed. The accused refuted all claims, and, after two further appearances before the justices, Juliana finally chose not to prosecute. The case was dismissed, and the justices of the Exchequer of the Jews fined her for the trouble.
While Juliana’s accusations tell a harrowing story, the case relies on second- and third-hand accounts filtered through attorneys and the Christian scribes of the Exchequer of the Jews, and its details align with tropes and caricatures of anti-Jewish literature. Juliana’s claims, nonetheless, suggest complex and sometimes hostile interactions between Jewish communities and converts, even as they imply continued relationships (Juliana seeks out and relies on Canterbury Jews to help her). The case also highlights how bodily and sexualized violence might affect women in such liminal positions.
Further reading
  • Emma Cavell, The Measure of Her Actions: A Quantitative Assessment of Anglo-Jewish Women’s Litigation at the Exchequer of the Jews, 1219–81, Law and History Review 39.1 (2021): 135–72.
  • MacLellan, Rory, Jewish History of the Medieval Tower of London, https://www.hrp.org.uk/about-us/research/the-jewish-history-of-the-medieval-tower-of-london/#outputs, [see Dataset no. 187].
  • 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. 136–37.

May be the same person as

Dates mentioned in records



Kent, London



Putative social network for Juliana (convert) (experimental feature)
Putative family tree for Juliana (convert) (experimental feature)