Mirabel of Gloucester

Referred to in records as: “Mirabil”, “Mirabil de Gloucʼ”, “Mirabil of Gloucester”, “Mirabilem de Gloucʼ”, “Mirabilia”, “Mirabilia de Glouernia”, “Mirabilis”, “Mirable”, “Mirable de Glouc’”.

Brief biography

Drawing of Mirabel of Gloucester in the margin of Fine Roll for 2 Henry III
Drawing of Mirabel of Gloucester in the margin of Fine Roll for 2 Henry III (1218). TNA C 60/9, 7.
Mirabel of Gloucester was matriarch of the Gloucester Jewish community in the early thirteenth century. A January 1218 doodle of her, in the margins of the fine roll for the second year of King Henry III’s reign, is the the earliest image of a non-biblical Jewish woman known in England: next to an entry confirming King John’s earlier acquittal of her deceased husband Elias’s debts, and tucked just under the county label Glouc’, a scribe sketched a rough likeness—with a mighty side-eye. In this 1218 record, Mirabel also confirmed her rights to the Gloucester houses of her late husband. Elias was dead by the time Henry III took the throne in October 1216, and the record is the result of her initiative: she had asked the young Henry III’s regent William Marshal, in person, to return her husband’s properties to her. In 1220, she and her family were involved in the investigation of the death of Solomon Turbe, the husband of Comitissa: her son-in-law Isaac (husband of her daughter Belina) and her son Bonenfant were summoned as part of Comitissa’s prosecution. Isaac was first charged with the murder by the Gloucester sheriff, and Mirabel was instrumental in clearing his name.
Mirabel’s husband Elias was apparently a top financier and property owner in Gloucestershire. After his death, Mirabel continued the family businesses independently and was among the top taxpayers of the community throughout the 1220s and 1230s. Her daughter Belina (also called Belia) and her son Bonenfant (husband of Genta) were part of the consortium, and both married into families that created strong ties with the Worcester and Hereford Jewish communities as well. Mirabel had the opportunity to work with multiple generations of women in her family, and she maintained influence with the Crown throughout her life. In 1231, for instance, Henry III ordered the adjournment of an investigation into land held by Mirabel: the land concerned the abbot of Gloucester Abbey, and the man that Mirabel vouched to warranty (Walter de Muscgros, a Gloucestershire land baron) was away on the king’s business in Wales. By 1235, her daughter Belina and granddaughter Pucelle were collecting rent in Gloucester for her, and Pucelle (daughter of Belina) worked as a creditor with her grandmother. Mirabel died sometime between 1239 and 1250, when bonds in her name were granted to Jacob l’Eveske.
Further reading
  • 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. 131–33.
  • Hillaby Joe, Testimony from the Margin: The Gloucester Jewry and Its Neighbours, c.1159–1290, Jewish Historical Studies 37 (2001): 41–112, especially 64–73.
  • Hillaby, J. and C. Hillaby, The Palgrave Dictionary of Medieval Anglo-Jewish History. London: Palgrave. 2015, s.v. Gloucester, pp. 147–151.

Dates mentioned in records



Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire



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※ Mirabel of Gloucester is mentioned solely as the relation of another person; she is not present or involved in any business.
Putative social network for Mirabel of Gloucester (experimental feature)
Elias of Gloucester Mirabel Belina Isaac Pucelle Bonenfant of Gloucester Genta Jacob
Putative family tree for Mirabel of Gloucester (experimental feature)