Penzance: How The Market Jew Got His Illuminated Christmas Knickers
WHAT do you see when you view the Christmas lights in Penzance, Cornwall.
Some see Christmas puddings.
Others see leopard print underwear dangling from a washing line.
Local resident Karen Warne says: “It’s nice to see the new Christmas lights in Market Jew Street. I understand that they are supposed to be Christmas puddings in silhouette. A local (unscientific) straw poll has unanimously agreed that they look like like pants on a washing line.”
Market Jew Street? An unusual name, no? London’s Old Jewry is named after the Jews who lived is that ghetto of medieval London.
A discussion ensues.
John Coles says:
(NOTE; Marazion is the ancient town giving access via a causeway to St. Michaels Mount. Often called in the past ‘Market Jew’ (hence, Market Jew Street in nearby Penzance) this was said to be one of the trading and shipment points from which the ‘jews’ (?Phoenicians) ran the early tin industry, and shipped the tin overseas. Marazion is in Mounts Bay (where the Wherry Mine was situated in a reef about 3 miles south west.
Market Jew Street derives its name from the Cornish “Marghas Yow” which means Thursday Market. Neither the name Marazion or Market Jew Street has anything to do with Jewish people,
David S. Cutler:
Marazion may have nothing to do with jews (and I am sure you are right!) but my great-aunt, born St. Austell in the 1860’s, firmly believed that it did! As no doubt others did. Her great-grandmother, who I think was an Ann Gaved and who I think married one Richard Benney in 1771 (they are the only IGI enties that fit what I know for certain), maintained that Richard Benney might have been a jew because he came from Marazion and he told his wife that she must never ask about his family. My great-aunt, displaying her ignorance of political correctness, also felt that possible jewishness was reinforced by Richard Benney’s insistence on having his children “spread dung by moonlight.” The story was also that the clay workers would leave their work trousers out and women would wash them if they had taken a fancy to their owner, and apparently Ann Gaved took a fancy to Richard Benney’s trousers.
Little in the way of corroboration exists for the following speculations; however, mining has occurred in Pendeen for over 3000 years. 2000 years ago the Romans brought Jews to Pendeen to work the mines. These Jews, suggests Horsefield, came as slaves from the then recently sacked Jerusalem. Moreover, when Horsefield wrote his book, he claimed that locals still called a piece of tin a ‘Jew’s piece’. Jewish influence can be witnessed around Pendeen through names such as the village ‘Bojewyn’ (meaning ‘abode of the Jews’); (Bojewyn is more likely to be translated from its Brythonic origins as meaning “John’s Place”, Jowan being a common Cornish family and first name whilst the prefix “Bos” could be most likely referring to a location or domain; Bosjowan is converted to Bojewyn through development of the indigenous dialect of West Penwith. ‘Market Jew street’ in Penzance, and the small town of ‘Marazion’ (of St Michael’s Mount fame).
Or as Wikipedia says elsewhere:
The name Market Jew comes from the Cornish language Marghas Yow, meaning Thursday Market, the name of a nearby village now absorbed into Marazion, to which Market Jew Street leads.