The origin of the name ‘Jewry’ is not known for certain. It is definitely not a Roman name and historians believe it is not linked to the Medieval Jewish community in Leicester.
The name is likely to be a corruption of ‘jurats’, the senior members of the Corporation of Leicester who may have met in the churchyard just behind the wall between the 13th and 15th centuries. This is a best guess, there is no clear evidence.
This wall is made of local stones – granite, limestone and sandstone. There are layers of red tiles that run along the wall. These layers are known as levelling or bonding courses. They are typical in Roman building methods and made the wall more stable and even.
In the eighteenth century, the wall was thought to be part of a temple to the god Janus, from whom we get the month name January.
However, this is now known not to have been the case. It was part of the Roman baths complex and this section of the Roman bath house wall survived all of this time because it was built into the wall of a church, which proceeded the one we see today.
Some of the stone from the Roman building is visible in the walls of the current St Nicholas’ church.