Coronation of Richard the Lionheart #OnThisDay

On 3rd of September 1189 Richard, Coeur de Lion (the Lionheart) was crowned King of England.

King Richard 1 of England at his coronation
Matthew Paris, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Many readers will be familiar with the portrayal of King Richard through popular literature and films as the saviour of England from the avaricious rule of King John, his brother.

A huge ransom had to be paid to release Richard from capture by Duke Leopold, whom Richard had insulted while on Crusade. 

You can read about his coronation here which makes no mention of what also happened to celebrate this event – the massacre of Jews in England.

There are many confusing accounts of what happened on that day to sanitise the violence which took place then and following it. Jewish dignitaries who arrived at the ceremony to pay their respects were banned from entering. Another account states that they were expelled from the banquet which followed the ceremony. And another states that before they were thrown out that they were stripped of their clothes and beaten. This may or may not have been on Richard’s command. Who else could give such an order? We will never know because so horrendous what happened next was that later chroniclers and those who buy into the myths surrounding King Richard have ‘tidied’ up this event in England’s history.

The Jewish Dignitaries were attacked by the crowd of well wishers, or mob might be a better description. What happened next was horror upon horror as Jewish homes in London were attacked and set on fire. Those who did not die in the flames were slaughtered as they attempted to escape.

There is an interesting paper here by Ted Booth on the varying accounts of the atrocities which took place : The Massacres of the Jews under Richard I (A.D. 1189–1190)

The killing of Jews spread into other parts of England. Many took their own lives than be hunted down and slain by a mob or forced to convert to Christianity.

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