the former

Penzance Jewish Congregation

& Jewish Community

Penzance, Cornwall




Page created: 21 May 2004
Latest revision or update: 2 December 2020

Town of Penzance

Penzance, a port near the western end of Cornwall’s south coast in southeast England, has a population of about 20,000.

It was a municipal borough until 1974, when it was merged with neighbouring localities to form the local government (non-metropolitan) district of Penwith within the county of Cornwall. In April 2009, the district of Penwith and all other local government districts in Cornwall were abolished, and Cornwall became a unitary authority.

Penzance Jewish Community

The Penzance Jewish community was founded in the middle of the eighteenth century and had cesed to exist by the beginning of twentieth century.

Penzance is only known to have had one synagogue:

Congregation Data


Penzance Jewish Congregation


1 New Street (rear of the Star Inn 119 Market Street), Penzance TR18 2LD.

First purpose built synagogue constructed here in 1768, synagogue rebuilt in 1807.

The Star Inn, including the former synagogue, is a Grade II Listed Building (number 1143981), designated on 7 February 1974 (most recent amendment 21 July 2015). View description on Historic England website.

Current Status:

Synagogue sold in 1906. Community dissolved by early 1900's

Date Founded:

Congregation founded about 1750.


Askenazi Orthodox


See List of Religious Officials of the Penzance Congregation

Membership Data:

1845 - 11 ba'ale batim (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)

1845 - 30 appropriated seats, 51 individual members (C. Roth, The Rise of Provincial Jewry)

1852 - 6 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1860 - 5 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1870 - 4 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1880 - 4 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)

1892 - 6 seatholders (Board of Deputies return)


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Penzance include:


1851 Penzance (35 records).

1851 Anglo Jewry Database - includes also Hayle (7 miles to the northeast) (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in:
Penzance during the 1780s (1 record), 1790s (2 records), 1810s (12 records); 1820s (27 records), 1830s (27 records), 1840s (40 records), 1850s (41 records), 1860s (19 records), 1870s (11 records), 1880s (10 records), 1900s (1 record) and 1910s (1 record); and
Hayle during the 1810s (1 record); 1830s (5 records) and 1840s (8 records).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Penzance Jewish Community


on third parties' websites


Penzance Jewish Cemetery Information

Penzance Jewish cemeteries:

  • Penzance Old Jewish Cemetery, off Leskinnick Terrace, Penzance TR18 2HB (accessed by way of a passageway between 19 and 20 Leskinnick Terrace). This Georgian cemetery, dating from at least the 1740's, has some 50 identifiable headstones and much of the cemetery is Grade II listed. The last burial of a member of the Penzance Congregation was in 1900, although members of the family of the last rabbi, Isaac Bischofswerder, continued to be buried here until 1911. There have been two subsequent burials, in 1964 and 1998, long after the local Jewish community ceased to exist. Restoration work, partly funded by a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, commenced in 2015 and a ceremony of rededication of the restored cemetery took place on 18 May 2016. The cemetery is one of the disused cemeteries administered by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and is maintained by Penzance Town Council.
    The boundary walls with the remains of the Bet Torah and 14 monuments at the cemetery is a Grade II Listed Building, listed on 23 February 2004 (most recent amendment 1 October 2010) (number 1392260). See Historic England Listing & Description.

    Articles and other material on JCR-UK:

  • Paul Cemetery, Paul, near Penzance. One of three municipal cemeteries in which the Cornish authorities have allotted to Kehillat Kernow special areas specifically for Jewish burials.  

(For additional information, see also IAJGS Cemetery Project - Penzance)

Jewish Congregations in Cornwall

Jewish Communities of England home page


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