Churches and religious bodies: Non-Christian religions

Pages 183-184

A History of the County of Chester: Volume 5 Part 2, the City of Chester: Culture, Buildings, Institutions. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2005.

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In this section


Jews (fn. 1)

No Jews are recorded in Chester in the Middle Ages.

The first Jew known to have resided in Chester after the Resettlement was Abraham Mendes (d. c. 1730), of a London merchant family with interests in Amsterdam and Barbados. He lodged in Chester with a draper, Daniel Hayes, and included among his executors Sir Henry Bunbury, Bt. (fn. 2) By the 1750s Chester had a lodging house for Jewish pedlars, and there was at least one settled shopkeeper by 1820. (fn. 3) A congregation was formed later in the century and met at first in a private house. It rented a room in Union Hall, Foregate Street, in 1894 and opened a synagogue in Bollands Court, White Friars, in 1900. The registration was cancelled in 1963 (fn. 4) when the synagogue was united with that at Hoylake, which itself closed in the 1980s, after which the nearest synagogue to Chester was in Liverpool. The community in Chester recongregated in 1973, and in 1988 numbered 30 families meeting each month in one another's houses. Formal services were occasionally held in Chester by a travelling minister sent by the chief rabbi's office. (fn. 5)


A Baha'i community existed in the city in 1963. (fn. 6)


Chester's small Moslem community registered the Shah Jalal mosque at no. 45 Egerton Street in 1988; (fn. 7) the Chester Islamic Society was based in premises at West Lorne Street, off Garden Lane, in the later 1990s.


  • 1. Thanks are offered to Mr. M. Brown, Jewish Historical Society of England, who supplied several of the references for this section.
  • 2. P.R.O., PROB 11/645, ff. 373v.–375.
  • 3. B. Williams, Making of Manchester Jewry, 1740–1875, 5, 32.
  • 4. Jewish Chronicle, 14 Sept. 1894; 24 Aug. 1900; O.N.S. (Birkdale), Worship Reg., nos. 34535, 47927.
  • 5. Inf. from Mr. G. Viner, chairman of the community (1988), and Dr. I. S. Daniels (2002). Mr. J. G. Wolfson, Liverpool, is thanked for providing contact with Dr. Daniels.
  • 6. Chester City Cl. Mins. 1962/3, pp. 940, 1025.
  • 7. O.N.S. (Birkdale), Worship Reg., no. 77518.