…We should first bring the Anglo-Jewish elite, referred to by Macaulay, into sharper focus. From the early 19th century until the First World War, English Jewry was ruled by a tightly connected oligarchy. Daniel Gutwein states that this Anglo-Jewish elite comprised some twenty inter-related Ashkenazi and Sephardic families including the houses of Goldsmith, Montagu, Nathan, Cohen, Isaacs, Abrahams, Samuel, and Montefiore. At its head “stood the House of Rothschild.”link
This network of families had an “exceptionally high degree of consanguinity,” leading to it being termed “The Cousinhood,” and among them “conversion and intermarriage [with non-Jews] was rare.” Todd Endelmann attributes the lack of conversion to the fact that “conversion was not as useful, in general, to English Jews as it was to Jews in Central and Eastern Europe.”
The Cousinhood exercised control over the Jewish community through its leadership of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, an organization which would later become one of the chief engines of the move for Jewish emancipation.