London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......

My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London

Curiosities from a bygone age - Hebrew plaques inside the entrance vestibule of Christ Church, Spitalfields

'In affectionate remembrance of the Reverend H Aaron Stern...'

Above: Plaque to the German born ex-Jew, Reverend Henry Aaron Stern - read more about this interesting man at the bottom of this page

Christ Church in Spitalfields, opposite Spitalfields market, holds an interesting relic of East End Jewish history.  Until its demolition in 1895, the Jews' Episcopal Chapel in Palestine Place, Bethnal Green, was a centre of Christian missionary activity among Jews.  Commemorative plaques to various ministers who operated out of this chapel were subsequently relocated to the entrance vestibule of Christ Church, Spitalfields.  I had no knowledge of of this until recently when I wandered into the Church for a look around.  Seeing the Hebrew inscriptions amazed me and I had to take photographs.  If you click on the pictures to enlarge them you can read the inscriptions on these curiosities from a bygone age.

Double click photos below to enlarge

Christ Church, Spitalfields

Christ Church, Spitalfields

Entrance vestibule containing plaques

Entrance vestibule containing plaques

Plaque in entrance vestibule explaining origin of plaques

Miss Jane Cook

Reverend F C Ewald (not a good photo - sorry)

Reverend Lewis Way

Reverend H Aaron Stern (a German born ex-Jew) who had an eventful life - see the additional note on his life below these photographs.

Reverend Alexander McCaul

Reverend John Christian Reichardt

George Thomas King

William Wynne Willson

Reverend Charles Sleech Hawtrey


Reverend Henry Aaron Stern - some facts:

The Jewish Chronicle of 9 January 1914 reported the following about Henry Aaron Stern and his association with the Falasha Jews of Abyssinia

According to the Jewish Chronicle report, the Falashas were introduced to English history by the German born ex Jew Henry Aaron Stern.  He went to Abyssinia in 1859 to convert them to Christianity.  King Theodore of Abyssinia gave him permission to do this but afterwards withdrew his support, put him in prison and had him tortured.  A British military expedition of 1868, under the command of Lord Napier of Magdala, was sent to liberate Stern and punish King Theodore.  This led to Theodore's downfall and the release of Reverend Henry Aaron Stern. 

A fine example of Victorian gunboat diplomacy!

website copyright of Philip Walker