Despite its proximity to London, Surrey was home to relatively few Jews until the twentieth century. However, there is some evidence of Jewish communities in Guildford and Kingston-upon-Thames before the expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 by Edward I.

Following the readmission of Jews into England by Oliver Cromwell in 1656, Jewish communities were re-established in London, and the Surrey Quarter Sessions records of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries contain a number of references to Jews living in the areas of Bermondsey, Newington and Southwark. During the nineteenth century, Surrey was home to a number of prominent Jewish families, including the Sassoons of Ashley Park and the De Worms family who lived in Pirbright and Egham.

Photographic portraits of Leopold and Annie Salomons,</br>c.1912 (SHC ref. 6529/19)

Photographic portraits of Leopold and Annie Salomons,
c.1912 (SHC ref. 6529/19)

Other notables included Sir Moses Haim Montefiore (1784-1885) who was a captain in the Surrey Militia from 1810 to 1814. In February 1885, the first successful labour registry in England was established at Egham by Nathaniel Louis Cohen (1847-1913), philanthropist and resident of Englefield Green. In 1914, Leopold Salomons (c.1841-1915), JP, of Norbury Park, Mickleham, gifted Box Hill to the nation.

The Second World War saw the development of Jewish communities in towns such as Staines, Dorking, Woking, Epsom and Addlestone, as the result of evacuation from London. Many of these communities are still in existence although numbers have fallen. (The establishment of more temporary refugee communities in Surrey is discussed later). Then, as now, those Jews living in Surrey belonged for the most part to institutions such as the United Synagogue (founded in 1870), and the Federation of Synagogues (founded in 1890), whose administrative centres and cemeteries were, and are still, located north of the Thames.

Today, there are the following active communities in Surrey: Guildford (Orthodox – independent); Kingston (Liberal Judaism); Kingston, Surbiton and District (United Synagogue); Richmond (United Synagogue); Staines (United Synagogue); Sutton and District (United Synagogue); and Weybridge, North West Surrey Synagogue (Movement for Reform Judaism).

Click here to find out about more sources for Jewish history.

Find out more about how Surrey Heritage has worked with the Jewish community.

Find out more about Surrey’s links with Jewish community:

Holocaust Memorial Day

Surrey as a place of refuge to Jewish wartime refugees, including Stoatley Rough, Rowledge Hostel and Weir Courtney

Kindertransport

9 Responses to Jewish Communities in Surrey

  1. I have just read the information above and note that you do not mention Kingston Liberal Synagogue Rushett Road Long Ditton KT7 0UX. It has been in existence for 45 years and moved to its present site at the old St Mary’s Primary school over 37 years ago and is a vibrant and thriving community. I have been a member of the synagogue for over thirty years and am a former President.
    Please note that there are only two synagogues in Kingston. Kingston Surbiton and District Synagogue (United) and Kingston Liberal Synagogue (Liberal Judaism) which is actually in the Borough of Elmbridge. The Surbiton and Kingston (Independent) does not exist. For further information please see the KLS website which I have given above.

  2. Les Glenister says:

    I am trying to trace info on my 2X Gt Grandfather Moss Levin b approx 1798 possibly Richmond Surrey but believed to have been Polish/Russian Jewish immigrant who arrived London England with his family…Can you please tell me the best place to find info needed>> Thank in anticipation of reply….Yours sincerely LES….

    • Terri says:

      Moss is my 4th Gt grandfather. Can you tell me how you know he came from Polish or Russian Jewish descent please? I have all the information on his family and would love to find out more about his coming into this country.
      Terri

  3. Tessa Bradley says:

    My paternal grandmothers father was Thomas Mark Moss, from Godalming who married Louisa Brown and was, I am told, disowned by the family she was a gentile.Thomas died of his wounds in Egypt in 1917/8 and is buried in Tel Aviv. Desperate to find out more about my great grandfather Thomas Mark Moss’s family. Can anyone help me???

  4. Trevor Nicholson says:

    My Gt Gt Gt Grandfather John Isreal Morley was born c1776 and lived in Southwark, Surrey. I would like to trace his birth and/or his marriage to Georgiana. Can anyone help?

  5. Peter Stein says:

    Researching Jewish family GARRETT of about Newington, Surrey, early 1800’s.
    Probable nominal baptisms also early 1800’s
    Possible Sephardic/Portuguese origin.
    Any help kindly appreciated. Many yartzheits to honour and Kaddish to recite.

  6. Eugene Marion Yakub nee Hirsch says:

    Researching grave of Dr Walter Alexander Hirsch,my father, died Walton-upon-Thames, Surrey in 1980.

    • L B Saunders says:

      There is a huge Jewish Cemetery in Streatham, not a million miles from Walton,give them a call.
      I have been involved doing a project there, photographing graves before 1930,
      You may be lucky,
      Regards
      L B Saunders

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