Jews' Court is a Jewish museum and Liberal Jewish congregation and synagogue, located on Steep Hill in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, in the United Kingdom. The building was listed as a Grade I building in 1953[2] and houses the headquarters of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology.[3]

Jew's Court
The façade of Jew's Court in
AffiliationReform Judaism
Ecclesiastical or organisational status
LocationSteep Hill, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
CountryUnited Kingdom
Jews' Court, Lincoln is located in Lincolnshire
Jews' Court, Lincoln
Location of the museum in Lincolnshire
Geographic coordinates53°13′56″N 0°32′19″W / 53.2322°N 0.5387°W / 53.2322; -0.5387
StyleNorman architecture
Completedc. 1170
Listed Building – Grade I
Official nameJew's Court
TypeListed building
Designated7 October 1953
Reference no.1388769


Jews' Court is next to the Jew's House on Steep Hill, Lincoln

Jews' Court is located immediately above Jew's House on Steep Hill. The three-storeyed stone building dates from c. 1170 but was altered in the 18th century and the windows were replaced in the early-19th and 20th centuries.[2] The Jews' Court may contain some late medieval stonework but a recent architectural survey has shown that there is very little medieval stonework above basement level in the existing building.[4]: 13  Historian Cecil Roth believed it to be the site of a medieval synagogue. Documentary evidence of 1290 when the Jewish community of Lincoln was expelled shows that the Jews' Court has always been divided into two houses, and a charter of 1316 mentions that a Jewish scola or synagogue had stood to the west in the tenement behind these two houses.[4]: 11–13 

In 1910, a well was dug in the basement of the building; the owner subsequently claimed that this was where the body of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln had been found and charged people to see it.[5]

By the early-20th century the property had been sub-divided into cheap accommodation. It was bought by Lincoln City Council in 1924 and in 1928 it was proposed to be demolished under a slum clearance order. Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society (a predecessor of the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology) objected to the proposed demolition and were given the building by the city council on condition it was refurbished. In 1966 the property passed from Lincolnshire Architectural and Archaeological Society to form the Jews' Court and Bardney Abbey Trust, which in 2019 was merged with the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology.[6] The Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology has its headquarters at Jews' Court and the building includes a lecture room and bookshop.[3]

Current synagogue


The Lincolnshire Jewish Community, which is affiliated with Liberal Judaism, in 1992 began holding Shabbat and High Holy Day services in the lecture room at Jews' Court;[7] one of the services was filmed in the TV series The Story of the Jews by Simon Schama.

See also



  1. ^ "Lincolnshire Jewish Community (Progressive)". Jewish Communities & Records - UK. JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. 19 September 2023. Retrieved 11 May 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Historic England (7 October 1953). "Jews Court (Grade I) (1388769)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "About SLHA; Jews Court". Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  4. ^ a b Johnson C. (2015). "Jews' Court: Truth and Legend". In Walker, A. (ed.). Lincoln City Centre North of the River Witham. Vol. 1. Survey of Lincoln.
  5. ^ Weil, Eric (28 October 2014). "Lincolnshire Jewish Community". BBC Lincolnshire.
  6. ^ "Jews Court and Bardney Abbey Trust, registered charity no. 5021279". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  7. ^ Roberts, Marcus. "Trail Lincoln". JTrails. National Anglo-Jewish Heritage Trail. Retrieved 14 February 2020.


  • Johnson C.; Jones S. (2016). Steep, Strait and High: Ancient Houses of Central Lincoln. Woodbridge: Lincoln Record Society, Boydell & Brewer.
  • Robinson Wild, E. (January 2023). "Jews Court, Lincoln – an evaluation of Cecil Roth's medieval synagogue and the discourse on the English medieval synagogue taking a buildings archaeology approach". Jewish Historical Review. Taylor & Francis.