"Don't go to the Jews"
Jews House, Lincoln - home of Bellaset, a Jewish woman executed in 1287 for 'clipping' coins
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJews House, Lincoln - home of Bellaset, a Jewish woman executed in 1287 for 'clipping' coins - Credit: Brian, Flickr

Jews throughout Europe became money-lenders because the practice of usury (charging interest on lent capital) was considered a sin by the Catholic Church, and because they were excluded from most professions.

Their persecution reached its peak during the Medieval period, and Jews were expelled from England in 1290, during the reign of Edward I.

Following their return in the mid-17th century, Jewish people gradually became better integrated into British society and were eventually able to follow a range of professions which had previously been closed to them. Nevertheless, they remained closely associated with money-lending, particularly following the rise of Jewish bankers such as the Rothschild family.