Circumcision by David Gollaher, 2000, Excerpts
In 1144, a gang of Jews was said to have kidnapped a small boy named William of Norwich, and proceeded to shave his head, torture him, and cut his skin with thorns. Finally, according to the chronicler Thomas of Monmouth, “they lifted him from the ground and fastened him upon the cross. After all these any many and great tortures, they inflicted a frightful wound in his left side, reaching even to his innermost heart. And since many streams of blood were running down from all parts of his body, then, to stop the blood and to wash and close the wounds, they poured boiling water over him.”
More than a century later, in 1255, another Gentile boy of eight or nine, Little Hugh of Lincoln, was found murdered: beaten, nose broken, and circumcised just before his death. This incident sparked a roundup of Jews in the region in which ninety-one were arrested and eighteen executed. During the same period, there was a wave of anti-Semitic practice and regulation. In 1253, for example, royal decrees enforced the 1222 Council of Oxford, which forbade the construction of synagogues, outlawed sexual relations between Jews and Christians, and required Jews to wear identifying badges.