York 1190: Jews and Others in the Wake of Massacre was organised by Sarah Rees Jones and Sethina Watson of the Centre for Medieval Studies and the Department of History.

The conference was supported by the British Academy, the Jewish Historical Society of England and the Royal Historical Society. The Borthwick Institute republished the essays of Barrie Dobson on anglo-jewish history for the occasion: The Jewish Communities of Medieval England . We are publishing a collection of essays relating to the theme of the conference and developing further related research projects.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Fee debts and Bowie bonds

The practice of advancing money on an annuity was just one mechanism that came into play in the mid-thirteenth century. A fee debt, as defined by Dr Sharon Lieberman, was a perpetual agreement to alienate or give the revenue which came from a portion of land in exchange for a cash advance.

They were later banned by the Provisions of the Jewry in 1269

“…for the better ordering of the land and the relief of the Christians from the burdens laid upon them by the Jewry of England: that all debts to Jews which are fees, and which are at present in the hands of the Jews are not assigned or sold to Christians,………….and let no Jew from this day forth take or make any such fee debt.

The problem seems to have been that there was a market in such bonds and they were being sold on. In the 1260s some debtors were also providing annual lump sums for cash in advance and these were being sold on on the open market. As early as June 1267, Robert Burnell tried to benefit from the market in fee debts when Master Elias Menahem granted him two yearly fees worth £31 'with the usuries and penalties'.

Today in the light of Lehmann brothers we might well notice the parallel of this type of securitisation which more recently has been associated with the Pullman or Bowie Bond. In 1997 the Prudential paid $55 million for the future revenues of 25 David Bowie Albums. These Bowie bonds were sold on and traded on. In January last year Evan Davis and others looked into this practice



1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Robin. I was confused by the Bowie bonds - but am now enlightened!