Colchester and District Jewish Community

Colchester, Essex




Date created: 13 February 2006
Latest revision or update: 2 January 2017

The Borough of Colchester

The historic town of Colchester, which styles itself as the oldest town in England, is situated in southeast England about 55 miles to the northeast of London and has a population of about 160,000. The present boundaries date back to1974, when the municipal borough of Colchester was merged with surrounding areas to form the local government district (later Borough) of Colchester within the county of Essex.

The Jewish Community

There was a medieval Jewish community in Colchester, until their expulsion in 1290.

In the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century, there was small number of Jews in Colchester and a synagogue appears to have been established. A June 1791 articled in the Ipswich Journal described very fully the marriage of Samuel Levi, late of Bury, to Kitty, daughter of Isaac Abrahams of Colchester in the Synagogue - yard, in Angel Lane the site of their earlier occupation. "The bridegroom led by the bride's father, preceded by the Rabbi and friends with a band of music, were followed by the bride clad in white and veiled with her mother and grandmother. Under a canopy supported by four men, the form of solemnisation in Hebrew was read and at the conclusion after the bride and groom had each drunk part of a glass of wine he threw it to the ground to denote that as the glass could never be made again, so difficult would it be for them to be separated in this life. A public feast followed and the day concluded with the highest festivity and decorum ....... the strictest propriety prevailed throughout the whole of the ceremony."

The current community really dates from World War II, when several Jewish families were evacuated to the town, who, together with local families and Jewish service personnel (from the UK, US and the Commonwealth), commenced holding Jewish religious services.


Congregation Data


Colchester and District Jewish Community


The Synagogue, Fennings Chase, Priory Street, Colchester CO1 2QB.

The Synagogue was built in 1969 on land purchased from the Spiritualist Church.

Date Founded:

Formally founded in 1957, although services had been held since World War II and the synagogue was not acquired until 1969.

Current Status:


Membership Data:

1999 - 82 (Board of Deputies). The Community is reinforced by staff and students from Essex University.


The Community does not receive any direct financial assistance from the United Synagogue to which it is affiliated for burial purposes only, nor is the Community required to make any financial contribution to the United Synagogue.




Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Colchester include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Colchester during the 1770s (1 record), 1780s (1 record), 1790s (5 records), 1800s (4 records), 1810s (3 records); 1820s (15 records), 1830s (11 records), 1840s (14 records), 1850s (15 records), 1860s (11 records) and 1870s (5 records).


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



Colchester Jewish Cemetery Information

The is a Jewish cemetery in Colchester:

  • Colchester Cemetery, Jewish Section, Mersea Road, Colchester CO2

    In 2011 the Colchester Jewish Community acquired its own cemetery, which has both an orthodox and a non-orthodox section.

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


Colchester Jewish Population Data



(The Jewish Year Book 1956)



(The Jewish Year Book 1966)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)


75 families

(The Jewish Diaspora Museum, Tel Aviv)


90 families

(Community's website)


Jewish Congregations in Essex

Jewish Communities of England home page


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