the former

"Lyon's" Synagogue

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire




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 Congregation Data


"Lyon's" Synagogue, Cambridge (The formal name of the synagogue is unknown, and we have adopted this title from the name of the synagogue's founder.)


In, or close to, Jesus Lane, Cambridge.


This would appear to be the first synagogue established in Cambridge since the Medieval period. An organised Jewish community had been re-established in Cambridge by 1774,(ii) although this synagogue was not built until some years later, based upon the date of its consecration in 1798.

Current Status:

Closed in the early 19th century. The Jewish community in Cambridge had ceased to exist by the early years of the 19th century,(iii) not to be re-established until about 1847.


Ashkenazi Orthodox

Press Reports:

The existence of this congregation is currently based primarily on the following two press reports (which have kindly been brought to JCR-UK's attention by Naomi Cream):

Chester Courant, 11 September 1798, page 3 (Sunday Night Post)
"Sept 8(?) - Friday a Jewish Synagogue, a small building near a Mr. Lyon’s academy Jesus-lane, neatly fitted up, and capable of holding about 100 person was consecrated in the usual manner. About four o’clock in the afternoon, the place was completely filled, when the ceremonies commenced as follow: the two sacred rolls containing the Pentateuch (written on parchment according to customary rules) were brought from the house, under a canopy, to the synagogue, and in the same manner carried round the pulpit, during which time Mr. Lyon accompanied by the children and several of the congregation, sung the 16th verse of the 118th psalm, assisted by a band of music; the rolls were then laid upon the pulpit, when a long prayer accompanied with music was chaunted[sic]: the rolls were then carried into the ark were[sic] they remained during the evening service, after which the form of consecration began. – The rolls were taken from the ark, and was[sic] carried seven times round the pulpit by different persons, several verses were sung during their procession and between each time a different psalm; after which, prayers were offered for the Royal family, the chancellor, vice-chancellor, and the rest of the university, the mayor, the aldermen, and corporation; then followed a prayer, in which each name of the subscribers was mentioned, with their several sums subscribed to the building of the synagogue; then followed the sabbath evening service consisting of various passages from the psalms and other parts the Old Testament, which were all chaunted. Several gentlemen of the Hebrew religion came from London on this occasion, whose excellent voices gave universal pleasure. Several of the masters and other gentlemen of the university, and many ladies and gentlemen of the town were present, and the whole spectacle gave satisfaction, as it afforded evidence of that toleration which the laws of England afford to persons of different religions and sects."

Hampshire Chronicle and Southampton Gazette
, 24 June 1833

"Married, in London, on the 12th inst. G. Henery[sic], Esq. of Haydon-Square and Finsbury Circus, to Kate, youngest daughter of the late Rev. Solomon Lyon, formerly Professor of Hebrew at the University of Cambridge, whose various literary productions excited admiration among all classical characters, and were patronised by the Royal Family. He was master of the celebrated Hebrew Academy, and built the superb Synagogue, the consecration of which, in 1798, was attended by the Lord Chancellor, the nobility and gentry, and the principal families of the Israelites from London."


The founder of the synagogue, Solomon Lyons, is referred to in one of the above press reports as "Rev".


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

Cambridge Jewish Community home page

Jewish Congregations in Cambridgeshire

Jewish Communities of England homepage

Page created: 2 June 2016
Page most recently amended: 11 October 2023

Research by Naomi Cream and David Shulman
Formatting by David Shulman

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