Barnett Crawcour- surgeon dentist c1776-1834-Founder of Norwich Synagogue in 1828.


 I have been researching my Crawcour paternal lines for more than two decades. During this time I have accumulated a wide range of documents on the family including family trees from distant cousins and

numerous other sources. This data has enabled me to develop an informed understanding of the family members including my 4x great uncle Barnett Crawcour surgeon dentist, apothecary, founder of the small Norwich Synagogue in 1828 and a leading member of the Norwich Jewish community.


Barnett Crawcour’s parents were Samuel (Zanvil) Crawcour 1748-1816-Rebecca (surname not known) b unknown died c 1821 my 5x great grandparents.

Samuel Crawcour was an itinerant surgeon dentist and apothecary. The last name Crawcour is derived from

Samuel Crawcour

Cracow, Poland.

In a private conversation with one of my Australian Crawcour cousin’s Morris Crawcour( Heroes are Fools .The Diary of a World War 11 Airman, Jerusalem, 1989) Cecil Roth claimed that my Crawcour line came from Creve-Coeur one of the villages in France. In the Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, C.W.Bardsley, 1901 a similar connection is made between the French de Crevecoeur family surname and Crawcour. Neither of these French links has been proven. The Crawcour are Polish Ashkenazi Jews and there have been no records to indicate otherwise. On his arrival in the UK Samuel advertised that he had come from Hanover (the earliest advertisement for his dental services is 1777 in Gloucester). The famous concert pianist Adelina De Lara  aka Preston aka Lawrence  in her memoir ‘ Finale’ (Adelina De Lara in collaboration with Clare H Abrahall,1955) describes her maternal grandmother as ‘a Polish Jewess of the name Cracour, that of an important Polish military family who lived in Kracow, in that part of Poland then under Austrian rule’. Adelina’s maternal grandmother was Sarah Abigail Cohen Crawcour (daughter of Isaac Crawcour and Semira Cohen De Lara). In spite of my research I have located no evidence of this.

There is a  further interesting relationship and comparable account regarding Adelina De Lara story of important Polish military roots and the similar story of his Polish Jewish lines of Baron Peter Benjamin Mandelson. My own paternal Hart/Solomon/Courlander lines relate through marriage to the same Mandelson line. (I have described these relationships on the British Jewry Forum thread Frederic Abraham Phillips and Evelina Solomon -5.8.2014) There is an interesting article in the Mail online 9 Nov, 2008 which describes the potential unconfirmed reference to a Napthali Felthusen who changed his name to Nathan Mandelson after fleeing to England where he married in 1830 Phoebe daughter of Jacob Levy Cohen of Leicester before later leaving for Australia and settling there. What is interesting to my research is that the article describes Napthali Felhusen as being (no data found to support the claim) a Colonel in the 13th Polish Lancers who fought with the Russian 1st army against Napoleon in 1812. For his service he was awarded a coat of arms.

Whether or not the Crawcour families also relate or the two stories are fiction remains to be determined.
One family story relates to Samuel Crawcour a widower coming to England to look for his estranged daughter Kitty (Catherine) who had supposedly eloped. (A-Z of Norwich M. Chandler, 2016).Some family trees had Samuel’s dob and death as 1726-1813 while another had 1748-1816. It was difficult to understand why a middle age man would arrive in England in search of his daughter and then have several children in different parts of England. Kitty ( Catherine ) died aged 72 in 1858 was in fact born in England c 1786 and married Aaron Aarons a master tailor. The family used the adapted surname Aaron (they can be found in the various census records). Moses Crawcour in his will 1858 named his sister as Kitty aka Catherine Aarons in his will (NA 1269).
However, in 2007 I discovered the Hyamson record of Samuel Crawcour (among other Crawcour records including the Colyer Fergusson records). This record was to prove very important because it was written in both Hebrew and English. It recorded the name of Samuel’s father as Isaac (no other dates or details were given). It also recorded the precise date of Samuel’s death and his age. The records were from the Western Synagogue London.

The Western Synagogue Records were destroyed WW2 but Hyamson had recorded these prior to his death in 1954 and pre WW2. Importantly, the Hyamson record gave Samuel Crawcour’s age at death suggesting that the story of him being a widower and middle age on arrival in the UK was not correct.

The record read Cracowa which was deleted and replaced with Kracow and ‘aged 68 d 21.11.1816’. The Hebrew script translated as ‘Shmuel ben Yitzchak’ -Samuel son of Isaac. The birth dates of Samuel’s children suggest he married circa 1770 to Rebecca (possibly a Levy but there is no proof of her family name). Rebecca died circa 1820-21. His eldest child Andrew was born in Bremen c1769 and his next eldest son Moses born in Hull c 1781. Barnetts’siblings were: Andrew, Moses, Isaac, Ann (Nancy), Catherine (Kitty), Henry, David, Sarah.
We have no evidence of Isaac coming to England nor do we know the name of his wife (my 6 x great grandparents).


Barnett Crawcour

Barnet Crawcour was an itinerant surgeon dentist as were his father and siblings .His sister Catherine aka Kitty was also a dentist in the 1851 Census. Catherine had married Aaron Aarons a master tailor and her brother Moses named her as his sister Kitty Aarons in his will. The Crawcour had their own premises in London and advertised widely across England and Scotland.

In his article Whitehaven and Its Jews 1774-1850 W R Sellick refers to Barnet Crawcour visiting Glasgow in 1831 and possibly Whitehaven in 1833. (Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Vol XC111 1993). It is difficult to unpick from the newspaper advertisements which Crawcour visited a locality because they often omitted first names.


A copy of the Hyamson Collection on the Crawcour records entries from the Western Synagogue Marriage and Death records. The Marriage entry for Barnet Crawcour reads: Western Synagogue Marriages No. 41. Baruch b Shmuel (Hebrew) married Miss Fradche bat Benyamin (Hebrew) 16 Elul 1806

 Barnett was married twice – first to Fredcha bat Benjamin (they married in 1807). The Monthly Magazine Feb 1813 Vol 35 records. Died at Norwich Mrs Cracour, wife of Mr C surgeon. The same magazine dated August 1 1813 has the entry Mr. Crawcour of Norwich to Miss Alexander of Chatham. The surname Crawcour was also recorded as Cracour in earlier synagogue records.

Barnett Crawcour settled in Norwich circa 1809. An advertisement in the Norwich newspaper records that he was in Red Lion Street Norwich in 1809. He moved to 14 Magdalen Street and remained in Norwich until his death age 58 in 1834 and is buried in the Guildencroft Norwich (the Quaker Cemetery- there is a photograph of the cemetery taken in 1936 showing a range of tombstones). 


The child of Barnett and his first wife was Ann who married Reuben Alexander. The children of Barnett and Fanny were:
Isaac Henry 1815-1911 m Jane ( Jessie) Mann
Emma Esther 1817-1894
Fanny 1819-1917
Rebecca 1821-m Fredrick Ashenbach- they lived in Philadelphia USA
Eliza 1823 m Samuel Barczinsky
Martha 1825-1870
Hannah 1827-1920 m Benjamin Simons
Samuel Walter aka Walter 1828 -? m Emily Barnes
Sara 1830-1928 m Bernhard Barczinsky
Adelaide 1833-1833
Eva 1833-1833

The following newspaper advertisement indicates that Barnett Crawcour was still residing in London but visiting Norwich in 1808…”Mr B Crawcour (from London), At Mr. Hewitt’s Red Lion Lane Norwich…” 10 Dec 1808 Norwich Chronicle.

Barnett Crawcour settling in Norwich in Red Lion Street as from 1809. The following advertisement indicates that he was based in Red Lion Street-“Mr B Crawcour, Surgeon Dentist and Cupper Red Lion Street…” 11 August 1810 Norfolk Chronicle. He was living at 11 Magdalen Street by 1820 and 14 Magdalen Street according to two newspaper advertisements.

In 1813 Barnett’s first wife had died .The following newspaper records give her age…” Monday last, aged 28 Mrs Crawcour, wife of Mr Crawcour, dentist, Magdalen Street-She was interred the same day according to the Jewish custom, their burial ground…” (Saturday 10 April 1813 Norfolk Chronicle).

The newspaper account is a snippet which may reveal the name of the burial ground likely to be Ber Street-Horns Lane. However, in 1813 Barnett Crawcour is named in later records as being responsible for acquiring the Jews’Burial ground which was leased from the Quakers Gildencroft Norwich.


There were a very small number of itinerant dentists in the UK for the period late 18th Century to early 1800s (Dental Practice in Europe at the end of the 18th Century.C.Hillam, 2003). The Crawcour family were among this number and their advertising in local newspapers provides evidence of the extent to which they travelled widely across the UK.


The issue of who did or did not invent dental amalgam and the relationship to the Crawcour dental family is further revealed in the Google Book searches. In his publication ‘The Jews of Norfolk and Suffolk before 1840 Malcolm Brown refers to Barnett Crawcour son of Samuel Crawcour as being the originator of Mineral Succedaneum circa 1830.

However, in trade advertisements the dental family Mallan in the Manchester Chronicle Dec 29 1838 using the title Mons. Mallan and Son stated that they…” particularly invites the members of the Faculty to witness the operation of filling decayed teeth with their mineral succedaneum, of which they are the sole inventors and possessors.”

Their earlier advertisements of 1831 also referred to their use of the amalgam.
Interestingly A O Taveau who is also identified as the discoverer of ‘silver paste’ for amalgam is cited in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences Vol 2 1841. Taveau in his article on ‘Plugging Teeth’ published originally in the ‘La Lancette Francaise’ stated… “I have availed myself for the last four to five years with undoubted advantage of a paste, which I have named ‘silver paste’ and the composition which I immediately communicated to several members of our profession. It is the same as that which an English dentist has very recently brought to Paris as a new thing and which he has designated very mal a propos by the name of mineral succedaneum which is to say the least of it, nonsensical, since it indicates neither its nature nor its uses. This paste is prepared with pure silver and mercury….’
Taveau does not name the English dentist but if his article was published in 1841 and cited in the American Journal this places a date of 1836 and Barnett Crawcour died in 1834. It is likely that it was either Edward or Charles Crawcour the sons of Isaac Crawcour and Simha Cohen De Lara who were responsible for promoting the French use of the amalgam.

The records on Google Books indicate that in 1834 M Le Docteur Regnart was the inventor of mineral succedaneum – London Medical and Surgical Journal Vol 4 P274 1834 at least that was what a former assistant claimed. A ‘Historical and Chronological Sketch of the Most important works on the dental Art from Hippocrates to circa 1843 Published in the American Journal of Dental Science Vol 7 1857 cited a wide list of early records on dental practice including the work of Taveau ‘Notice of a Cement for the purpose of arresting and curing carries of the teeth’ Paris 1837 and in 1840 Regnart- Dental carries and a refutation by Serrurier on M Regart’s pamphlet- who claimed that Regnart had used the earlier work of D’Arcet and rendered the material more fusible.

The Jewish dentist Mallan (probably derived from Milleman or Van der Moelen from Holland) was a surgeon dentist at 32 Great Russell Street and later Piccadilly, Manchester and Liverpool during the 1830s. In the 1841 New Paris Guide P 551 Mallan and Son are one of a very small number of Paris dentists and in practice at 8 Rue Castiglione.

Mallan and Son (later Sons) used the term ‘Mineral Succedaneum’ in trade advertisements from 1831 and claimed that they had discovered it. In the Susser Archive Cameron Hawke- Smith has cited a range of research on Jewish dentists including the Crawcour family, Mallan and others and accuses Mallan of being ‘fraudulent patentees of a cheap filling material….’

In the early 1830s Moses and Edward Crawcour (uncle and nephew) adopted the term ‘Royal Mineral Succedaneum’ and took it to New York. It is clear that in the cut throat business of dentistry ethical practice was not universal even though there were numbers of dentists who were seeking to develop dentistry as a recognised and informed part of medical practice. The amount of money to be earned from the promotion of amalgam was significant and this resulted in major competition between the various dental practitioners. Terms such as ‘fraud’, ‘quackery’ featured prominently in the disputes and mal practice by individuals who lacked any formal dental training and qualifications was rife. These disputes became known as the Amalgam Wars particularly in the USA.

Given that the Mallan and Crawcour families were in direct competition with each other – in 1835 Mallan were at 46 Bold St Liverpool and Crawcour at 23 Bold Street Liverpool and earlier on also in Norwich.


The London Metropolitan Archives (WR/L/P/1802/007) records the entry for Barnett Crawcour for a printing press at 15 Strand Saint Martins in the Fields 30 Sept 1802. An examination of newspaper advertisements covering the period 1800-1949 shows that the Crawcour had between 1800-1849 -221 known advertisements but their rivals the Mallan ( also a Jewish line) 4670.

Given the need to advertise widely as itinerant dentists as well as having established addresses in different parts of the country particularly London or Edinburgh the use of prolific advertisements was very costly for both the Crawcour and Mallan among others. It should be no surprise that Barnet Crawcour was seeking to reduce costs for advertisements if he had his own printing press or shared it with his siblings and father.

In addition to being surgeon dentists both Samuel Crawcour and his son Barnett (other Crawcour also advertised as cupper) were apothecaries. I hold copies of treatments from their apothecary book and there are some advertisements for dental and other treatments.

The earliest newspaper record of a dental filling connected to the Crawcour that I have discovered to date refers to-“Tender and decayed teeth effectually and permanently stopped by Mr Crawcour’s Anodyne Cement (late of London) which fills up the cavity, however large, without the least pain, and becomes hard and sound as the teeth itself..” 20 Feb 1830 Norwich Mercury.

Whether this advertisement refers to Barnett Crawcour is unclear because by 13 November 1830 reference is made to the filling Mineral Succedaneum (from the meaning to ‘substitute’ among other derivations). This mineral filling has notorious connections to the two Crawcour brothers Charles and Edward as well as to the Mallan- there are numerous articles relating to the various individuals both in American and British newspaper and academic papers.

It is likely that Charles and Edward Crawcour were the initiators of the first advertisements for mineral succedaneum – “A new discovery for the teeth… Charles Crawcour (of the firm Crawcour and Brothers) surgeon dentists 8 Brunswick House Commercial Road London 9 Nov Aris’s Birmingham Gazette and earlier Mr C Crawcour surgeon dentist from the old established Messrs Crawcour…Brothers Brunswick House, nephew and successor to Mr M Crawcour late of Barn Field Crescent, Exeter..” 29 May 1830 Exeter and Plymouth Gazette.

Mr M Crawcour was Moses Crawcour brother of Barnet who died in 1858 a wealthy property owner. Between 1830-1839 some 7600 advertisements appear in newspapers in which the term “succedaneum” appears with the addition in later examples of the word “Royal” Most of the advertisements are by the Mallan family.


On 23 September 1821 Barnett Crawcour suffered a major injury following an accident.” A very serious accident occurred on Saturday week in Norwich; a Gentleman driving a phaeton, in which were Mr. Crawcour, a lady, and another Gentleman, over Castle Meadows, the horses took fright and ran away, when Mr.C and the other Gentleman jumped outland both of them had the misfortune to break their legs, Mr Crawcour in so socking a manner, that he was obliged to undergo immediate amputation…” (Examiner (London) Sunday September 30, 1821).

However, later newspaper reports indicate Barnet was in London in 1822 and returned to Norwich in Autumn 1822. He also advertised that he was able to resume his “professional duties” (17 Nov 1821 Norfolk Chronicle).
I suspect that as the major or sole breadwinner with a large family he had no choice but to resume his business practice not least because of other dentists moving into Norwich as was to be the case.


The court case Crawcour v Smith originated from what appears to be an anti-Semitic action regarding the invitation of Barnett Crawcour to the Norwich Guildhall Mayor’s elect reception in 1820. It was alleged that a Mr Smith, a currier, sought to invite Barnett Crawcour to the reception knowing that this was a false request and also that being a Jew he would not be well received or able to eat most of the food served.

Barnett Crawcour on receiving the invitation purchased a suit of clothes in June 1820 and when informed that the invitation was fictitious brought a law case against Smith.

When the case came to trial a Mr Deacon a witness and surgeon stated that  …”he had a conversation with Smith, about three months after the Guild when he acknowledged having sent the card, and said he should not have minded being transported if he could but have got Mr Crawour to the hall; dressed in his silks, with is opera hat under his arm”.

During the trial the defending solicitor had the court convulsed in laughter and suggested that a Jew could have eaten several of the 600 covers placed on the tables. (Jackson’s Oxford Journal Saturday August 25, 1821. The jury awarded Barnett Crawcour 1 shilling in damages but these costs were taxed which meant that Crawcour suffered a financial as well as a personal loss.


Among the Crawcour documents I hold is a Monumental Inscription recorded 1 July 1937.I don’t have a name for the source but there are transcriptions for 4 of my Crawcour relatives including Barnet Crawcour ( in his will he signs himself as Barnet with one “t”).
The Barnet Crawcour inscription reads:
‘First a brief note regarding the Tombstone physical location and description- Norwich Old Jewish Burial Ground in the Guildencroft.

H.S. with urn carved on top:
Sacred to the memory of BARNET CRAWCOUR aged 58 years who (died) Sep 25th 1834)
He was the first…. Jews Synagogue’


Barnett Crawcour died in 1834…” At his house Magdalen Street aged 58, Barnet Crawcour surgeon-dentist” (Saturday 4 Oct 1834 Norfolk Chronicle).

Barnett is buried in the Gildencroft Part of the Jewish Cemetery – see Cemetery Scribes Blog and Records for details on Barnett and the Norwich Jews Cemetery. The Cemetery was owned by the Quaker’s but a plot leased out to the Jewish community in 1813. The 3 individuals who appear in the lease were Barnett Crawcour, Henry Carr, Israel Jacobs and Colman Michael. The difficulty in gaining access to the cemetery initially prohibited any horse drawn hearse or smaller vehicle. The deceased had to be carried in their coffin on the shoulders of mourners. At a later date the access was widened to permit the use of a small hand pushed bier.

In the article in the Norwich Argus (date unknown) there appears the following account:
‘The Jews once formed a big colony in Norwich as is evidenced by their burial grounds north and south of the old city. They are pleased to term the graveyard a ‘House of the Living’ (Bais Chayim), which it was actually at the moment of ‘the chosen people’ selecting a fresh site for burying their dead about thirty years ago, when the Burials Act came in force, intramural internment being no longer permitted, and the congregation succeeded in making terms through a coreligionists (Mr Councillor Fox) for a plot of land adjoining the present cemetery at Heigham… The Jewish God’s Acre in use at that time in Quaker’s Lane St Martin’s was full of graves, and surrounded on all four sides by cottages…..I visited this same old spot now overgrown with flowers and shrubs, the other day, and meditated among the tombs, carrying back my mind to many of the Israelites I had known forty years ago.

First I came to the grave of the dark eyed maiden (Catherine Moses) who was cut off by a rapid stroke of consumption at the early age of 16. Next her lie the remains of Alcy and Lewis Bendon wife and son of a native of Morocco who long resided on Elm Hill. Close by are interred the remains of Mrs Louise White and Eve Cohen brought from Yarmouth on account of there being no Jewish burial ground in that town. Next beside his wife Rebecca we have Harris Nathan, whose venerable commanding presence and snowy beard reaching to his girdle caused him to be a prominent figure in the city. Further on we have resting the gentle wife of the Town Councillor above named, and just beyond Lyon….’a sincere friend to the needy, and a well-wisher to all mankind’.

Bernard Crawcour a dentist appears to be the first person buried here as his gravestone bears the date 25 September 5595. This gentleman is said to have founded the now disused Jewish Synagogue near St. George’s Tombland Church, and lost one of his legs by a carriage accident. Lastly, I read of one Simon Aaron, a jeweller, whose lovely daughter was for years a talk of the countryside. ‘It is thought there were only about 30 burials here during the 40 years it was in use as a cemetery. Here are the graves of several leading Norwich Elders, including Barnett Crawcour himself, who died aged 58 in 1835 (5595 in the Hebrew chronology); Simon Aaron, a jeweller from Elm Hill; and Judah Lieb Ben Mordecai, a licensed butcher or Shochet who died aged 60 in 1833 (5604) and is described on his headstone as ‘A sincere friend to the needy and a well-wisher to all mankind’.

Interments finally ceased in 1854 when The Burial Act prohibited further burials in churchyards and cemeteries located inside the old City boundaries. A new Jewish cemetery was established in the City Cemetery near Bowthorpe Road in 1856.


Following the death of Barnett Crawcour his widow placed their house for sale in 1835.
“Magdalen Street Norwich, late the property of Mr Crawcour, Surgeon Dentist, deceased. One of the dwelling houses is in the occupation of Mrs Crawcour (which is well adapted for the residence of a large family) and consists of two parlours, upper sitting room, seven sleeping rooms…” (Saturday 23 May 1835 Norfolk Chronicle).

Barnett’s son Henry was also Surgeon Dentist advertising in 1834…” Begs gratefully to acknowledge the patronage with which his late Father has been honoured during the last 28 years…” (8 November 1834 Norwich Mercury). Henry with his mother and siblings was to move away from Norwich. He became a pawnbroker in Wales.


Following the death of her husband Fanny Crawcour moved to be with her Alexander family in Chatham. Kent. She needed to support her large family and chose a teaching career as Principal of May Place School North fleet, Kent. This was a school for Jewish children

The 1841 census shows her aged 40 a school mistress with her children Emma 20
Fanny 20
Rebecca 25
Elizabeth 15
Martha 15
Hannah 14

In 1851 she is still at May Place with her daughters Emma 27, Fanny 25 both governess, Rebecca 23, Elia 21 Martha 19 all 3housekkepers and Sara 16 a pupil. There were 41 pupils and 5 servants
By 1861 Fanny had retired and was living at 13 Hutchinson Place Gravesend, Kent with daughters Emma 39,Fanny 37,Rebecca 30,Laura 27 all un married and fund holders. There was 1 servant.


Fanny Alexander nee Crawcour

By 1871 Fanny was living in Scotland-
Fanny Crawcour 75 Annuitant Head b English
407 St Vincent Street Glasgow
She had moved again by 1881 to
345 Bath Street Glasgow
Fanny Crawcour 85 Annuitant b England
Emma Crawcour 59 Annuitant b England
Frances Crawcour 46 Annuitant b England
1 servant
Her death is recorded in
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry
Fanny Alexander Crawcour age 91 Buried 29 Nov 1885
Glasgow Jewish Section Eastern Necropolis

Fanny Alexander or Crawcour widow 354 Bath Crescent Glasgow died 29 Nov 1885 Glasgow to Miss Esther Emma Crawcour the daughter and Benjamin Simons fruit broker Glasgow executors


The number of Jewish families in Norwich was small in the early 1800s. A small room in Tombland, Norwich was opened in 1828 and the main founder was Barnett Crawcour. There were 29 Jewish families who were members of the Synagogue. The Synagogue was too small and plans for a larger building resulted in a new Synagogue being consecrated in 1849 in St. Martin’s Lane. The Synagogue was destroyed by German bombs in 1942.

Barnett was responsible for establishing a small synagogue opened in 1828 Tombland Alley. There is a drawing (made by J.P.Chaplin an architect taken possibly 1960s) showing the disused synagogue which measured 19 feet x 14 feet. The room became disused and was used later as a coal and coke store.


Cecil Roth in his series of papers The Rise of Provincial Jewry (published 1950). The Early Communities -Section 4-Jersey to Nottingham)-online JCR-UK wrote-“The continuous record of the Norwich community dates, however, only from the year 1813, when a fresh burial ground-the third- was acquired in the names of Barnett Crawcour dentist; Henry Carr merchant; Israel Jacobs optician; Colman Michael of Wymondham, merchant. The first name was regarded as the father of the community, having been responsible for the establishment of the Synagogue, then situated near St. George’s Tombland Church”.

However, Roth was mistaken when he referred to among the local families on Jersey The Channel Islands that a Crawcour, a dentist, said to have originated the amalgam filling of teeth was living on the island.
There was a Crawcour dentist namely David Crawcour c 1791-1882 dentist and cupper living at St Helier Jersey but he was my 4x great grandfather and youngest brother of Barnett and not the originator of amalgam filling.

The Crawcour dental practices diminished significantly over the years with branches settling in the USA, Australia and South Africa. Currently, there are no known individuals who practice as dentists. The legacy of Barnett Crawcour in the history of the Norwich Jewish community is an important one and he played a key role in founding both a Jewish cemetery and Synagogue. In spite of a major injury he continued in his dental practice for a further fourteen years and appears to have continued as a major leader in the Jewish life in Norwich.

Barnett, Samuel, Fanny Crawcour

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