Mocatta

Mocatta (also de Mattos Mocatta, Lumbroso de Mattos Mocatta and Lumbrozo de Mattos Mocatta) is the name of a prominent Anglo-Jewish family originally from Spain known for philanthropy, leadership and sponsorship of arts and letters, particularly in the United Kingdom. Long involved in finance, commerce, and the law, they are considered to be one of the principal families in the "cousinhood" of senior Anglo-Jewish families, the de facto Anglo-Jewish aristocracy. As such, the Mocatta family has been related over the past two centuries to many of the prominent Jewish families of Europe and to a lesser extent Asia, including the d'Avigdor family, Sassoon family, Goldsmid family, Henriques family, Kadoorie family, Lousada family, Maaz family, Montefiore, Rothschild family and Samuel family.

History

The origin of the name Mocatta is unknown. Potential origins include: (i) Mukattil, Arabic for champion, or (ii) a river called Wadi Mokatta, or (iii) mukata, Arabic for fortress.

The family left Spain in 1492 and settled in France, the Netherlands and Italy after the Alhambra Decree of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the Jews from Spain and began the Spanish Inquisition. Some moved to England following Oliver Cromwell's readmission of Jews to England.

In the mid 17th century, Antonio de Marchena, a Marrano from a branch of the Mocatta family that had stayed in Spain, left for the Netherlands, and was welcomed back into the Amsterdam Spanish & Portuguese community, adopting the name Moses Mocatta. By 1670 he had taken his family to London.

In 1671 Moses Mocatta founded a bullion brokerage firm in Camomile Street in the City of London, known as Mocatta & Goldsmid after Asher Goldsmid joined in 1783. The world's oldest bullion house, it exists today largely as ScotiaMocatta. In 1790, one branch of the family obtained a royal licence from King George III to cease the use of "Lumbrozo de Mattos". During the 19th century members of the Mocatta family were amongst the founders of British Reform Judaism.

Prominent members

Prominent members of the Mocatta family have included Frederick David Mocatta, a prominent philanthropist, bibliophile, patron of the arts, and bullion broker. Also among them are David Mocatta, a well-known architect, as well as more recently Sir Alan Abraham Mocatta, a famous British Judge. The brother-in-law of F.D. Mocatta, Sir Julian Goldsmid, was a distinguished Member of the British Parliament, but the family has tended to be involved in finance, commerce, and the law rather than politics.

Coat of arms

A description of the coat of arms entitled to be borne by some members of the Mocatta family is "Per chevron, a seven-branched candlestick in base, two cinquefoils in point. Crest: A leopard issuant, gardant, holding a cinquefoil between his paws. Motto: Adhere and Prosper."


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