It was on William the Conqueror’s initiative that Jews from Rouen settled in London after the conquest of England (1066). This immigration may have aimed at promoting the development of sea trade between London and Rouen or, more simply, at integrating the Jews already residing in England into the new administration.
Four years after the conquest, William confirmed the status of the Jews in his new kingdom during a council attended by noblemen and ecclesiastics, and guaranteed protection for them and their property. He also confirmed, during an ecclesiastic council held in Rouen in 1074, the old church rule forbidding Jews to have Christian nurses or slaves.
But meeting with Jews of London a few decades later, William Rufus even encour-aged them to engage in a controversy with the bishops, arguing that if they overcame the Christians and confuted them with open arguments, he would join their sect.
However, it took some time before the Jewish community of London could become autonomous and independent of the authorities in Rouen. Thus the charter granted in 1190 by King Richard to the Jews of England and Normandy was in fact promulgated in Rouen, just as the July 1199 writ entrusting the eminent Jacob the Jew of London with presbyteral responsibility for all the Jews of England. Such text evidence shows the influence the mother community still exerted over its English daughter until the end of the reign of the Plantagenets.