by Samuel D. Gruber
(ISJM) Marcus Roberts of National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail (JTrails) in
A survey using ground penetrating radar, carried out in partnership with Birmingham University, has identified stone walls and what appears to be a stairway and entry, possibly confirming known descriptions of the former Northampton synagogue which according to Roberts is recorded as a sunken building, entered by steps (‘and a fair and stately hall’) in an account of Northampton buildings before the Great Fire of 1674. An illustration in a bird’s eye view map of 1634 appears to show the same building where we detected the sub-cellar remains.
A survey of land underneath Kebabish (a kebab shop) and The Bear Public House, both in
Roberts told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo (April 9, 2010): " It ...showed what appears to be two walls going down 14 feet underneath cellar level. There was also a square or rectangular structure next to it which may well have been a stairway going down into the synagogue." Roberts further told me that "the very substantial building was a sunken structure in the medieval period, an adjacent wall in the pub cellar appears to be an up-wards extension and adjacent structure to the sub-cellar finds, which could thereby be a visible remnant of the synagogue wall or an adjacent Jewish building and is at least six feet thick."
Last year, an archaeological survey in
But Roberts told the local paper "But we thought we would find the synagogue there and what we have found is an extremely substantial medieval sunken building."
To date there are no confirmed remains of medieval synagogues in
For further reading see:
Alexander, Mary, 1997. “A possible synagogue in Guildford,” in G. De Boe & F. Verhaeghe, ed.s: Religion and Belief in Medieval Europe – Papers of the Medieval Europe Brugge 1997 Conference, vol. 4, 201-212, I.A.P. Rapporten 4, Zellik, 1997.
Blair, Ian; Hillaby, Joe; Howell, Isca; Serman, Richard; and Watson, Bruce, 2001. “Two Medieval Jewish Ritual Baths – Mikva’ot – found at
Isserlin, Raphael M.J., “Building