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Key question regarding the BBC 1973 series and the graffito

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  • Key question regarding the BBC 1973 series and the graffito

    IN the Barlow and Watt series, Watt identifies the JUWES as the three men who murdered the master mason, and points out the similairites in the killing style etc

    Now this series appeared three years before Stephen Knight's book, which, as far as I understand it, was inspired by it.

    According to Wikipedia there is no evidence for the term JUWES being linked to these men before Knight came along. So where did the BBC programme make the connection from? Did it come from Knight who was already preparing his book? Or is Wikipedia wrong and JUWES can in fact be proven to be the collective name for these men?

  • #2
    My understanding is that, at the time and since, the use of the words Juwes has been strongly denied as a term used in either British freemasonry, or in the Jewish faith. I seem to recall (no references here) that the Chief Rabbi in
    1888 made a statement to that effect.

    However, it has been claimed that the term Juwes had currency in AMERICAN freemasonry.

    There were several links between the Barlow/Watt BBC series and Knight. Not least was that Joseph Gorman (who claimed to be a love-child of Walter Sickert) became a major source for Knight. Gorman later diowned Knight's book, but years later emerged as a source for Melvyn Fairclough (Ripper and the Royals).

    Knight was told at the time that his evidence was wrong or mis-stated in several respects, but ploughed on. Fairclough relies on diaries provided by Gorman that are claimed to be Abberline's own, yet reverse his initials!! Anything to do with Gorman needs handling with extreme care and scepticism.

    Others may be able to provide more specific information.



    • #3
      from the old message board here

      from the old message board

      Simply put, the word "Juwe" and "Juwes" existed prior to the use of the word "Jew". This word "Jew" appears in the English language after the translation of the bible (King James) from Latin into Anglo-Saxon (English). Hence it is a relatively modern transliteration of the Hebrew, "Iudhi/Iudha".
      Ergo, the word "Juwes" existed as the term for those referred to in historical documentation as "Jews" long long ago...and surprising, during 1888 and even TODAY! It exists in the British Museum Library (just down the road from Whitechapel) and the Bodlian Library, Oxford (just up the road from Whitechapel), in fact, up and down, and in me Laydis Chamber.
      Who would know of this term "Juwes", in 1888? I ASSUME scholars of the ilk of Warren, Anderson, and of course, the Chief Rabbi.
      Hic Rhodus hic saltus!


      • #4
        I think I am right in saying that the genesis of the Freemasonic association came out of an early conversation which Ian Sharp had with Joseph Sickert and Harry Jonas when the BBC were in pre-production and had just approached Joseph. "It was purely as a result of a comment by Joseph Sickert that researcher Ian Sharp went to the London Library in St James's Square one afternoon in January 1973 to see if there was any traceable connection between the world's most mysterious society and its most mysterious series of murders". [Knight, hbk, p151]

        The new A To Z carries an updated entry for Joseph Sickert which notes that Joseph changed his name legally by Deed Poll to Gorman-Sickert on 8 July 1970. This was approximately two and a half years before BBC were put in touch with him (and five months before Dr. Stowell's theory that Jack the Ripper was the Duke of Clarence was published in The Criminologist. Joseph believed the Duke of Clarence to be his maternal Grandfather, and as far as I know, and I have met Joseph and his family, his daughters recall growing up with that story, so wherever it came from it was not of recent vintage and was something Joseph believed.

        All of which pre-dates the involvement of Stephen Knight.


        • #5
          Oh, and I believe that the murderers of Hiram Abiff are known as the Ruffians, not the Juwes.


          • #6
            "Juwes" In English Literature

            In addition to appearing in the Bible, the spelling of the word "Jews" as "Juwes" pops up in English Literature too, such as in the famous 14th C. work 'Piers Ploughman'. 'Piers Ploughman' is considered to be one of the great works of early English Literature. It has been published and re-published for over 600 years, including in the 19th Century.

            I've also seen the spelling rendered as "Jewes" in some texts, and the name of Jesus spelled "Jhesus".

            The English word "Jews" derives from the Old French word "Juieus", (with a soft 'J'), which in turn is derived from the Latin word for "Judaean", meaning one descended from the line of Judah. It took many centuries for English spellings to be standardized, as anyone who's ever read Shakespeare knows!

            Of course, the word "Juwes" in the Goulston Street Graffito might just be an accidental or deliberate misspelling.

            Best regards,
            Last edited by Archaic; 09-07-2011, 11:35 PM.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Archaic View Post

              Of course, the word "Juwes" in the Goulston Street Graffito might just be an accidental or deliberate misspelling.

              Best regards,
              Yes it might. But we can all count the number of angels on the head of a pin, can we not?
              Christopher T. George
              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
              just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
              For information about RipperCon, go to
              RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at


              • #8
                If you are semi-literate and you wish to spell the word Jews, you don't immediately say to yourself 'I bet it contains an e'. You base your spelling on your pronunciation - in which case it makes sense to spell it Juw. Then you wish to add the plural but you aren't sure if it is an 'add s' word or an 'add es' word - so you guess it's 'es'. Presto - Juwes!

                And none of that requires anyone to read deeply into masonic law or count the angels on a pin head.



                • #9
                  Think simply. Think Jewish schoolboy, who just did what he did and secretly regretted it afterwards.


                  • #10
                    Further up the street he also wrote "Fatty Finkelstein smells" but that's beside the point.


                    • #11
                      further down the street he wrote "I love my mam she rocks," but that's beside the point.

                      It's not about what you's about what you can find out


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Robert View Post
                        Further up the street he also wrote "Fatty Finkelstein smells" but that's beside the point.
                        So not semi-literate then! Ha!

                        Juwes was the only duff spelling in his neat little sentence so I plump for the carefully placed or casually flung insult.


                        Cazual Caz
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        • #13
                          As some of you already know my knowledge of the Jack the Ripper mystery can be placed on a pinhead and still leave enough room for some angels. Now - I have a recollection of reading somewhere (can't remember where) that the graffiti was rubbed out on the order of a police 'chief' before anyone had actually copied it, and the policeman who had originally seen it wrote it down afterwards. If this is correct, then the spelling of 'Juwes' might have been HIS spelling and the actual wording of the complete sentence might not be EXACTLY as originally written.

                          Please be kind when you are correcting me.

                          Last edited by Carol; 09-24-2011, 08:12 PM.


                          • #14
                            Hello Carol,

                            This seems to imply that only one person actually saw the writing which doesn't seem very likely. And wouldn't someone have questioned his spelling saying are you sure that is how it was written?



                            • #15
                              Hi Carol. You’re right, as is c.d.

                              There were several different versions of the message reported that we know of, with some of the words slightly rearranged. The reports also contained different spellings of the word 'Jews'. If I remember correctly, two had it as 'Juwes', one as 'Juws', and one as 'Juews'.

                              Best regards,