Rachel Lumbard of Nottingham

Referred to in records as: “filia sua”, “Rachel”, “Rachel fil Dauid”, “Rachel fil’ Dauid”.

Brief biography

Rachel was the daughter of David Lumbard, chirographer of Nottingham from 1230–1231 and later its ballivus (bailiff or royal official, head of the Nottingham Jewish community). Along with her father and brothers Moses and Amiot, she worked as a financier from the 1230s to the 1250s. There is no evidence that she ever married or had children, and she was likely dead by the mid 1250s. She first appears in surviving records in 1232, already an adult, in a royal order to extract from the Nottingham archa (chest holding Jewish bonds) any documents or tally sticks showing transactions between Hugh Tothill, son of the parson of Carlton (Notts), and David, Moses, or Rachel. In 1236, the king ordered a survey of lands in Aylestone (Leics) that were held in pledge by Rachel and her brother Moses. This early partnership with her father and Moses suggests that Rachel should not be excluded from the affections and associations that have sometimes been attributed to father and son exclusively. By the 1240s, she was also working with her brother Amiot, an elected chirographer in 1241 and likely the youngest sibling. Amiot also held debts with his daughter Murielda, and the Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews show Rachel managing three debts with him in this period, totalling more than £42. By 1245, she was an independent creditor to three Christian men, one of these debts acknowledged through a Hebrew starr written for her by Amiot. In the same year, the Justices of the Exchequer of the Jews at Westminster sent twelve of her chirographs to the sheriff of Nottingham, who was to seize the debtors’ property until they paid her. While this trajectory shows a maturing businesswoman, functioning independently if within a wealthy family network, Rachel was likely taxed out of business, as were many in the period of 1241–1255 when King Henry III’s brutal taxation of English Jews was at its peak. Rachel, ultimately, was also beholden to her male relatives. The 1245 scrutiny of her debts, for example, was undertaken because she owed £12 towards the king’s £10,000 tallage of 1246. While this is not an insignificant percentage for a single woman, an endorsement of the Justices’ order shows that she was only able to collect about £8, and that the collected money was to go to her brothers to contribute to the family’s obligations. When debts in the Nottingham archa were seized by royal order in 1251, Rachel had just five bonds, with a local Christian butcher, goldsmith, and citizen, and with two men from Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Notts). She is not mentioned again after this and probably died sometime between 1251 and 1255: in 1255, her brother Amiot released Thomas Brien of Ratcliffe-on-Soar, one of the men to whom Rachel was a creditor in 1251, from all debts owed to the family. By 1262, when the Nottingham archa was once again scrutinized, only a single family bond remained: that of Rachel’s sister-in-law Ivette, Moses’ widow.
Further reading
  • Hillaby, J. and C. Hillaby, The Palgrave Dictionary of Medieval Anglo-Jewish History. London: Palgrave. 2015, s.v. The English Medieval Jewry, c.1075–1290: The Impoverishment of the Jewry, 1241–55 and Nottingham: David Lumbard and Family, 1230–55, pp. 7–9 and 291.
  • Olszowy-Schlanger, J., ed. Hebrew and Hebrew-Latin Documents from Medieval England: A Diplomatic and Palaeographical Study. Volume 1. Turnhout: Brepols. 2015, nos. 13, 46, and 55.
  • Olszowy-Schlanger, J., ed. Hebrew and Hebrew-Latin Documents from Medieval England: A Diplomatic and Palaeographical Study. Volume 2. Turnhout: Brepols. 2015, no. 155.
  • The National Archives of the UK (TNA), DL 25/2381, DL 25/2382/2068, and E 40/14957.

Dates mentioned in records



Nottinghamshire, Surrey



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Putative social network for Rachel Lumbard of Nottingham (experimental feature)
Moses Ivette Unnamed Isaac Amiot Unnamed Murielda Rachel David Lumbard Unnamed Benedict
Putative family tree for Rachel Lumbard of Nottingham (experimental feature)