Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter [Child 155]


DESCRIPTION: A child tosses the ball into a Jew's/Gypsy's garden. The Jew's daughter/wife lures him into the house, where she murders him, (for ritual purposes?). Dying, he gives instructions for his burial (with a prayer book at his head and a grammar at his feet).
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: homicide death ritual Gypsy Jew lastwill burial
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord),England(All)) Ireland US(Ap,MA,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So) Canada(Mar) West Indies(Bahamas)
REFERENCES (62 citations):
Child 155, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (21 texts)
Bronson 155, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (66 versions)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 155, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (7 versions: #1, #4, #5, #10b, #21, #25, #28)
Percy/Wheatley-ReliquesOfAncientEnglishPoetry I, pp. 54-60, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
Rimbault-Musical IllustrationsOfBishopPercysReliques II, pp. 46-47, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 partial text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #62}
Bell-Combined-EarlyBallads-CustomsBalladsSongsPeasantryEngland, pp. 189-`91, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
Broadwood/Maitland-EnglishCountySongs, p. 86, "Little Sir William" (1 text, 1 tune)
Riewerts-BalladRepertoireOfAnnaGordon-MrsBrownOfFalkland, pp. 254-255, "Hugh of Lincoln" (1 text)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1 10, "Sir Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle 121, "Sir Hugh" (1 text)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #119, "Hugh of Lincoln" (1 text, 1 tune)
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 461-462, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (notes plus an excerpt from Child A)
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 69-73, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (2 texts plus a fragment)
Randolph 25, "The Jew's Garden" (3 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #38}
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 47-49, "The Jew's Garden" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 25A) {Bronson's #38}
Arnold-FolkSongsofAlabama, pp. 42-43, "It Rained, It Mist" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #45}
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 33, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 20, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #48}
Grimes-StoriesFromTheAnneGrimesCollection, p. 30, "It Rained a Mist" (1 text)
Peters-FolkSongsOutOfWisconsin, pp. 198-199, "'Twas On a Cold and Winter's Day" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #9]
Flanders/Olney-BalladsMigrantInNewEngland, pp. 30-32, "Little Harry Huston" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #66}
Flanders-AncientBalladsTraditionallySungInNewEngland3, pp. 119-126, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (2 texts, 2 tunes) {A=Bronson's #66; B=#65 with verbal variants}
Flanders/Ballard/Brown/Barry-NewGreenMountainSongster, pp. 254-256, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #65, with minor variants}
Davis-TraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 33, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (13 texts, 7 tunes entitled "The Jew's Daughter," "It Rained a Mist," "A Little Boy Threw His Ball So High," "Sir Hugh, or Little Harry Hughes," Sir Hugh"; 3 more versions mentioned in Appendix A) {Bronson's #39, #54, #3, #34, #6, #47, #53}
Davis-MoreTraditionalBalladsOfVirginia 30, pp. 229-238, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 34, "Sir Hugh; or, The Jew's Daughter" (4 texts)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 34, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (2 excerpts, 2 tunes)
Smith-SouthCarolinaBallads, #XI, pp. 148-150, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter (The Two Playmates)" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #52}
Killion/Waller-ATreasuryOfGeorgiaFolklore, pp. 258-259, "The Jeweler's Daughter" (1 text)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #165, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #11}
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 19, pp. 116-117, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (1 short text, lacking the actual murder)
Burton/Manning-EastTennesseeStateCollectionVol1, pp. 1-2, "Little Son Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-ASongCatcherInSouthernMountains, pp. 171-175, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (3 texts, the first also in Davis, with local titles "A Little Boy Threw His Ball So High," "Little Sir Hugh," "Hugh of Lincoln"; 1 tune on p. 403) {Bronson's #3}
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, pp. 53-55, "A Little Boy Threw His Ball" (2 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #3}
Brewster-BalladsAndSongsOfIndiana 18, "Sir Hugh" (3 texts, 1 tune) {Bronson's #44}
Leach-TheBalladBook, pp. 425-431, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (4 texts)
Korson-PennsylvaniaSongsAndLegends, pp. 36-38, "Fair Scotland" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #61}
Creighton-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 8, "Sir Hugh; or The Jew's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #2}
McNeil-SouthernFolkBalladsVol2, pp. 147-149, "Sonny Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Friedman-Viking/PenguinBookOfFolkBallads, p. 62, "Sir Hugh (The Jew's Daughter)" (3 texts)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 79, "Hugh of Lincoln and The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 31, "Sir Hugh" (7 texts plus 3 fragments, of which "I" in particular might be something else, 10 tunes){Bronson's #22, #20, #21, #23, #15, #10a, #16, #14, #8, #17}
Sharp-OneHundredEnglishFolksongs 8, "Little Sir Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FolkSongsOfNorthAmerica 273, "The Queen's Garden" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gummere-OldEnglishBallads, pp. 164-166+336, "Sir Hugh" (1 text)
Sharp/Karpeles-EightyEnglishFolkSongs 20, "Little Son Hugh (Sir Hugh)" (1 slightly edited text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #10}
Hodgart-FaberBookOfBallads, p. 70, "Sir Hugh (The Jew's Daughter)" (1 text)
Buchan-ABookOfScottishBallads 22, "Sir Hugh" (1 text)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 19, "Sir Hugh, or, The Jew's Daughter" (6 texts plus mentions of 8 more)
Gainer-FolkSongsFromTheWestVirginiaHills, pp. 68-69, "The Duke's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 14, "Sir Hugh" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 30-31, "The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)
HarvardClassics-EnglishPoetryChaucerToGray, pp. 81-83, "Hugh of Lincoln" (1 text)
Pound-AmericanBalladsAndSongs, 5, pp. 13-14, "The Jewish Lady"; p. 15, "The Jew Lady" (2 texts)
Hubbard-BalladsAndSongsFromUtah, #11, "Little Saloo" (1 text, 1 tune)
Newell-GamesAndSongsOfAmericanChildren, #18, "Little Harry Hughes and the Duke's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 36-40, "Sir Hugh, or the Jew's Daughter"; "The Fatal Flower Garden"; "It Rained a Mist" (3 texts)
JournalOfAmericanFolklore, Elsie Clews Parsons, "Spirituals and Other Folklore from the Bahamas," Vol. 41, No. 162 (Oct-Dec 1928), Toasts and other verses: Watlings p. 470, "Dere is many fine ladies" (1 text)
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, Walter MeCraw, "A Variant of 'Sir Hugh,'" Vol. VII, No. 1 (Jul 1959), pp. 35-36, "(It rained a mess, it rained a mess)" (1 text, 1 tune)
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, Ben Gray Lumpkin, "Two Child Ballads from Stanly County," Vol. XVII, No. 2 (Nov 1969), pp. 58-60, "Sonny Hugh" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 155, SIRHUGH* SIRHUGH1* SIRHUGH2* SIRHUGH3
ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #420, "Sir Hugh, or The Jew's Daughter" (1 text)

ST C155 (Full)
Roud #73
RECORDINGS:
John Byrne, "Little Sir Hugh" (on IREarlyBallads)
Cecilia Costello, "The Jew's Daughter (Sir Hugh)" (on FSB5 [as "The Jew's Garden"], FSBBAL2) {Bronson's #55}
[Mrs.?] Ollie Gilbert, "It Rained a Mist" (on LomaxCD1707) {Bronson's #35}
Nelstone's Hawaiians, "Fatal Flower Garden" (Victor 40193, 1929; on AAFM1) {Bronson's #12}

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Twa Brothers" [Child 49] (lyrics)
NOTES [3161 words]: A.L. Lloyd reports, "In 1225, in Lincoln, England, a boy named Hugh was supposed to have been tortured and murdered by Jews. A pogrom ensued." - PJS
Although this song is often associated with the murder of Hugh, Fowler, p. 259, says -- correctly, I think -- "It seems to me quite unlikely, however, that such a ballad could have lasted in tradition for five hundred years leaving no trace of its existence, only to emerge suddenly from obscurity with the publication of [Percy's] Reliques in 1765." Fowler seems to think the ballad an eighteenth century composition (on p. 260, he suggests "The Cruel Mother" [Child 20] as the primary model, with "Sweet William's Ghost" [Child 77] supplying much of the second half); I wouldn't go that far, but I think any connection to the thirteenth century Hugh quite indirect. Fowler, p. 268, suggests that the initial tune was "The Bitter Withy," even though the first collection of "Sir Hugh" is much older. I grant that "The Bitter Withy" is almost certainly far older than the first collection, so the timing probably works, but all of this depends on "Sir Hugh" being a fake.
Also, Lloyd's dating is questionable. Benet (article on "St. Hugh of Lincoln") says 1255. So does Matthews, pp. 94-95, and Hoy/Stevens, p. 42, who note that Chaucer mentions the event at the end of the "Prioress's Tale." And Child cites the Annals of Waverly and the account of Matthew Paris in support of the 1255 date. The Annals of Waverly have major chronological problems and were probably written after the event (Prestwich, p. 356n; Powicke, p. 603n), but Paris's account was written within a few years of the tragedy, so I would consider it close to decisive.
And Lincoln Cathedral itself cites the 1255 date. Chaucer/Boyd, p. vii, cites this inscription from "the shrine of Little Saint Hugh [at] the Cathedral Church of Saint May, Lincoln": "Trumped-up stories of 'Ritual Murders' of Christian Boys by Jewish communities were common knowledge throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and even much later. These fictions cost many innocent Jews their lives. Lincoln had its own legend, and the alleged victim was buried in the cathedral in the year 1255." The notice adds, "Such stories do not redound to the credit of Christendom, and so we pray: Remember not, Lord, our offenses, nor the offenses of our Forefather."
An account of the many claims made against Jews can be found in Ridley, who on p. 172 reports on "27 analogues of [Chaucer's] Prioress's Tale and almost as many which dealt with Hugh of Lincoln and William of Norwich." Ridley also has a summary of what we know of these events. Chaucer/Boyd, p. 9, says that the earliest "blood libel" story goes back to a church historian named Socrates (c. 418).
Harvey, pp. 119-120, gives the following account of the pogroms:
"Edward [I] was not satisfied with this state of affairs, for the exorbitant interest charged for money [by the Jews, who alone were allowed to lend at interest at the time] had become notorious.... In 1275, he enacted laws forbidding usury and encouraging Jews to live by normal trade and labour. Unfortunately the Jews did not respond, and succeeded in charging even higher rates than before, and also formed a ring for clipping the coinage.... Adding to the economic difficulties [blamed on the Jews]... was a series of most sinister crimes committed against Christian children, including murder (allegedly ritual) and forcible circumcision. Whatever we may think of the evidence in favour of 'ritual murder'... a number of instances of mysterious child-murder undoubtedly did occur in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England, at least ten being well-documented between 1144 and 1290.
"The evidence against individual Jews was considered conclusive in the case of Hugh of Lincoln (Little Saint Hugh), murdered in 1255, when, after exhaustive trials before the justices, later adjourned before Henry III in person, certain Jews were convicted and hanged."
But also consider Prestwich, pp. 345-346: "There was undoubtedly very considerable prejudice against the Jews in England. There were stories of ritual child-murder and torture, which, although they now appear groundless on the basis of the recorded evidence, were generally believed. The most famous was that of the death of Little St Hugh in 1255, but there were others. The chronicle of Bury St. Edmunds recorded the crucifixion of a boy by the Jews at Northampton." (Rather absurd, since crucifixion was a Roman, not a Jewish, means of execution.)
Prestwich's cautions are quite proper -- there were only a few thousand Jews in England at the time (Prestwich, p. 344, estimates 3000; Morris, p. 86, suggests 5000); they could hardly have committed all the crimes charged against them. Despite that, they suffered severely at the hands of Edward I, being charged (along with goldsmiths) with being coin-clippers in 1278 (Prestwich, p. 245; Morris, p. 171, believes that Edward killed half the male Jews in England at the time). Indeed, Edward I had gone after the Jews even before he became king in 1272; in the late 1260s, as he was trying to raise money for a crusade, he proposed anti-Jewish legislation as a fundraising method (Morris, p. 85). His father had also put Jews in a bad position by allowing unscrupulous barons to buy up loans and foreclose them, in effect stealing land at bargain prices (Morris, p. 87). It not only harmed the Jews, it created unfortunate knock-on effects in the financial system. When Edward came to the throne, he destroyed the livelihood of many of the Jews by forbidding moneylending -- theoretically opening other jobs to them, but not supporting the change (Morris, pp. 125-126, who thinks Edward tried to protect the Jews, but I see no sign of it). Then he expelled them in 1290; the order, sent July 18, said they had to be gone by November 1: "For what was very definitely the final time, the Jews were made to pay the price for the King of England's insolvency" (Morris, p. 227). Bigoted as it was, the rest of the people liked it, and voted Edward generous subsidies as a result (Morris, p. 228).
And all so that he could go on Crusade and fight the people who belonged to yet a third religion.
Earlier, there had been major anti-Jewish riots in the period when Richard I was preparing his crusade, including an incident when 150 were killed at York, some of them after surrendering (Gillingham, p. 131, who blames the Crusade for whipping up passions about the Jews killing Jesus. According to McLynn, p. 120, the Jews were bringing a gift to the new king, but the mob assumed it was blasphemous).
If a Jewish murder of a Christian did happen, one can almost see it as a case of balancing things out for the treatment of the Jews, for -- in addition to the general prejudice against them -- the King was allowed to seize their property when they died (Mortimer, p. 49), although he usually settled for "only" a third (Mortimer, p. 50). Thus a Jewish death often brought not only mourning but impoverishment.
I do note with interest that Mortimer, p. 50, declares that the "most famous of all the great Jewish capitalists was Adam of Lincoln" (died 1186, near the end of the reign of Henry II).
But Powicke, who devotes roughly eight times as much space to the reign of Henry III as does Harvey, never mentions Hugh or the trials which followed, although he does note (p. 322) Edward I's anti-usury law of 1275 -- and its follow-up, a law of 1290 which expelled the Jews. (Stenton, p. 197, cynically notes that the Jews were no longer "useful" by then -- i.e. the crown had extorted so much money that they were no longer a significant source of revenue. Prestwich, p. 343, observes that Edward managed to make money even on the exiling of the Jews, because he used the occasion to wring an exaction from the clergy in return for the expulsion. Prestwich on p. 346 says that the expulsion was not officially reversed until 1656, although many Jews were tolerated by then -- it is said that Elizabeth I's physician was Jewish.)
I also note that ten unexplained child-murders in a century and a half is a rate far below what we experience today (and, frankly, I would be tempted to look at the Catholic clergy, not the Jews, for killing the poor children, given what we now know about the Catholic Church and young boys...). And murder was more common in the Middle Ages than today.
The death of Hugh and its aftermath did not stop the violence against Jews. "Between 1263 and 1267 there were massacres in, among other places, London, Canterbury, Winchester, Lincoln, Bristol, Nottingham and Worcester. Angry, fearful Montfortian knights [who had been on the wrong side of the civil wars of the period and were subject to large fines]... struck down their [Jewish] creditors in the hope of erasing the evidence of their indebtedness. The restoration of peace [after Henry III and the future Edward I defeated Simon de Montfort] had brought an end to these attacks, but the problems associated with Jewish credit remained" (Morris, p. 88).
One part of the prejudice against Jews that seems to be accurate is the charge of exorbitant interest. On p. 191 Stenton mentions a calculation that their average rate of interest was 43% (per year), with some instances in excess of 60%. The blame for this does not lie entirely with the Jews; the monarchy in effect was taking a cut, in the form of high licensing fees on the Jews (Stenton, p. 194; Morris, p. 86). So the Jews had to charge enough to live on *and* the pay the royal bribe. (I would love to have heard, say, Richard I explain how that was different from charging interest himself, but of course Richard would never answer to me.) Stenton, p. 193, also tells a tale which sounds surprisingly like this one:
"Already in 1144 Jews were accused in Norwich of the murder of a Christian boy named William, whose story was told within a few years of his death by Thomas of Monmouth, a Norwich monk. William was about 12 when he was found dead in Thorpe Wood near the city. His father... was already dead, but his mother Elviva was alive and had been offered for William a post in the kitchen of the archdeacon of Norwich. The man who made the offer took William away with him and called on William's aunt to tell her about it. She told her daughter to follow and see where William was taken. The child said he was taken to a Jew's house. William was next seen dead in Thorpe Wood. The credulity of the populace and their readiness to suspect the Jews made William a miracle worker and consequently a saint. Between 1144 and 1172 his body was four times translated, each time to a place of higher honour.... William was only the first of a series of English boys whose unexplained deaths were attributed to the Jews."
Porter, p. 116, says that Thomas of Monmouth was a monk of Norwich's Benedictine priory, and wrote his "history" in 1172-1173; Porter also says that William Thurby, Bishop of Norwich from 1144 to 1172, was convinced the boy was a saint. The whole thing, frankly, sounds like the result of psychosis on the part of either Thomas of Monmouth or of Thurby.
The legend of Hugh of Lincoln became popular in many forms of literature; Benet lists Chaucer's "Prioress's Tale," Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, and a 1459 piece called Alphonsus of Lincoln, which I have not seen.
The link to "The Prioress's Tale" is undeniable (Percy, in fact, referred readers to the Tale to learn the ending of the story; Fowler, p. 267), since lines 684-686 of the Tale (Chaucer/Benson, p. 212) explicitly compares the tale to that of "yonge Hugh of Lyncoln, slayn also With cursed Jewes, as it is notable, For it is but a litel while ago." (It's line 1874 in Chaucer/Boyd, p. 165, with discussion on pp. 166-167. To give Chaucer the only excuse we can -- and it a very feeble one -- he lived in an England where Jews were barred, and so perhaps had never met an English-speaking Jew!) I personally don't see much connection, except thematic, to The Jew of Malta.
But the link to "The Prioress's Tale" is only partial, although it has been affirmed by scholars going all the way back to Percy. Chaucer/Boyd, pp. 10-11, summarizes Carlton Brown's thematic analysis of "The Prioress's Tale" and its analogs, which he grouped into three types. All have, in essence, four parts: The young boy somehow offends a group of Jews, who murder him -- but he survives in some form to bring charges against the Jewish murderers, who are punished. "The Prioress's Tale" and this song have the middle parts (the murder and the boy's survival) -- but the first part is quite different (in the "Tale," he goes about singing a religious song in a way that I'd find obnoxious; in the ballad, his ball goes lands on Jewish property; also, "The Prioress's Tale" is NOT a tale of ritual murder; Chaucer/Boyd, p. 17); the final parts, the hunt for the boy and the punishment, varies greatly between versions -- both of the song and the miracle tale.
What's more, Chaucer's tale is set in "Asie" (Asia). It doesn't really have any Asian color (supposedly the setting has faint similarities to Bruges; Chaucer/Boyd, p. 21), but it doesn't matter if the setting is accurate; the point is, Chaucer explicitly denied that the events happened in England! (Also, many scholars now think "The Prioress's Tale" is a satire -- Chaucer/Boyd, p. 32 -- because the Prioress's attitude is contrary to the teachings of the Church, as Chaucer should have known. Sadly, though, I think this is the result of a desire to whitewash Chaucer; no one in the Canterbury Pilgrimage points out the heresy. The great ballad scholar George Lyman Kittredge was of the opinion -- Kittredge, p. 175 -- that "Of all the Canterbury Pilgrims none is more sympathetically conceived or more delicately portrayed than Madame Eglantine, the prioress" -- but of course Kittredge lived at a time when anti-Semitism was still basically acceptable. Perhaps the best way to understand Chaucer's tale, and this song, is for people of European descent to substitute "Muslim" for "Jew" and see how offended they fell....)
Child (who was a noteworthy Chaucer scholar) noted the parallels, but doesn't devote much space to it; he seems to consider the items to have mixed elements but to have independent parts as well. I agree.
That a boy named Hugh did die and get buried in Lincoln seems clear; there is a body in his crypt. But that doesn't mean the Jews of Lincoln were responsible. Joseph Jacobs in 1896 investigated the matter and concluded that Hugh, who was the eight-year-old son of a widow named Beatrice, accidentally fell into a cesspit near a Jewish residents on July 31, 1255. The body was not discovered for 26 days, when a group of Jews gathered to celebrate a wedding. Their one crime was that, having found the dead body, they dropped it down a well at some distance from where the boy had died, where it was discovered on August 29. No doubt, given the state of the body, there was some possibility that Hugh had been murdered (although there is no reason to suspect it) -- but even if he had been murdered, there is no evidence that the Jews were responsible (summarized from Chaucer/Boyd, p. 18).
In any case, the story of the murdered boy and the Miracle of the Virgin is first found in the Stella Maris of c. 1248-49 -- a dating which, if correct, places it before the death of Hugh of Lincoln! (Chaucer/Boyd, p. 64), which certainly should end any link between the Jews and Hugh.
The charge of ritual murder against the Jews lasted far too long. This song is not the first example, and it is far from the last.
Although Jews suffered regular persecution from Christians from the time the Roman Empire was converted, it was the Crusades which really seemed to start the tendency to attack Jews. Runciman, pp. 134-141, details the extreme misbehavior of the People's Crusade as it set out for Jerusalem in 1098-1099. (Interestingly, the particular mobs responsible for the atrocities almost all ended up being massacred themselves -- not by the Jews, but by Christians whom they also oppressed along the way. There seems to have been a particular sort of bone-headedness among Crusaders which caused them to think any furriner they saw must be a target worth attacking.)
Frey/Thompson, p. 56, note that the ritual murder charge was bandied about at the time of the Phagan case (for background, see the notes to "Mary Phagan" [Laws F20]), and on p. 57 Frey/Thompson mention the Beilis case in Russia, where there were attempts to blame the entire Jewish race for a murder they did not commit. (This case would go on to inspire some of Sholom Aleichem's Tevye stories, hence playing a part in the musical Fiddler on the Roof; Solomon, pp. 33-34).
The fame of "Little Hugh of Lincoln," who is sometimes called a saint, may be by confusion with another Hugh of Lincoln, the bishop of that city (died 1200 and canonized in 1220, according to DictSaints, p. 116). Chaucer/Boyd, p. 166, cites William Thynne as already pointing out this confusion in response to Speght's 1589 edition of Chaucer. Hassall, p. 103, indirectly affirms the confusion by warning that we should not confuse St. Hugh of Avalon, St. Hugh of Wells and Lincoln, or little St. Hugh of Lincoln. Warren, p. 70, says that "Hugh was famous for his saintly life, his great work as a pastor, his sharp tongue, and his pet swan. He had been one of the great characters of the 12th century episcopate." Indeed, he was regarded as a standard for other English bishops -- one they rarely met.
Kerr, p. 171, says that "The key [to the success of the city and diocese of Lincoln] lies with one man, Sir Hugh of Avalon, who was a competent and respected bishop during his episcopacy in 1186-1200 and, after his death, a popular author."
DictSaints, p. 116, says that upon being appointed bishop (a post he had to be pressured into taking) he "quickly restored clerical discipline, revived schools, and helped to rebuild the cathedral with his own hands."
Bishop Hugh also became the subject of legend -- e.g. Jones, p. 93, mentions a story (for which he does not cite a source) that he "was helped by an angel who cut off his manhood to relieve him of impure desires." (I must say that this strikes me as unlikely -- there were reports that the great scholar Origen had castrated himself, as did the Slavic Skoptsy sect, but this was not a common Christian behavior, and the Jewish Law explicitly forbids priests from having major mutilations.) Hazlitt, p. 333, says that he was the patron of shoemakers.
In the context, it is ironic to note that OxfordCompanion, p. 495, explicitly notes that Bishop Hugh "condemned the persecution of Jews which spread throughout England in 1190-1." Similarly DictSaints, p. 116: "He denounced the persecution of the Jews, repeatedly forcing armed mobs to release their victims, and was unafraid to correct both Henry II and King Richard the Lionheart." - RBW
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