Bevis Marks Synagogue – our newest London Partner
The latest heritage site to join our London Partner programme is the oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom. Built in 1701, Bevis Marks is also only synagogue in Europe to have held regular services continuously for over three centuries.
A building of outstanding national importance
The architectural style of the synagogue shares features in common with contemporary Wren churches in London. It is recognised as a grade I listed monument. The building also bears architectural resemblance to the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue of Amsterdam. This can be seen in the high rounded windows, proportions and great brass hanging candelabra.
Preserved through the centuries
This ancient synagogue has remained virtually unchanged for over three hundred years. It houses the country's largest collection of Cromwellian and Queen Anne furniture. While it is thought that the freestanding forms at the back of the main prayer hall were brought from an earlier temporary site at nearby Creechurch Lane.
Another striking feature is the original timber boards hung on the synagogue walls. These list the names of donors and past officials through the years.
Bevis Marks & the Disraeli family
The synagogue has fascinating links with Benjamin Disraeli and his father. Isaac d’Israeli was a minor poet and literary critic chosen to be Warden of the Congregation at Bevis Marks in 1813. However, he declined the offer and also declined to pay the fine which traditionally applied to anyone who rejected this office. When the synagogue authorities sought to enforce payment d’Israeli responded by leaving the congregation. As a consequence, he baptised his children as Christians.
At the time, Jews were not allowed to become Members of Parliament. So had it not been for this quarrel it is extremely unlikely that his son, Benjamin Disraeli would ever have become Prime Minister of England.
The congregation still possesses the Register of Births with the entry Benjamin Disraeli.
Plan your visit
- Bevis Marks Synagogue, Bevis Marks, London, EC3.
- Nearest tube Liverpool Street or Aldgate
- Open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 10.30am - 2pm, Tuesday and Friday 10.30am – 1pm, Sunday 10.30am – 12.30pm
- Closed on Jewish festivals and Bank Holidays
- Tickets available online on the Bevis Marks Synagogue website
National Trust members get half-price entry on presentation of a valid membership card.