Ovi magazine, on this day in history

The St Scholastica Day riot of February 10, 1355, is one of the most notorious events in the history of Oxford.

Following a dispute about beer in the Swindlestock Tavern (now the site of the Abbey Bank on Carfax) between townspeople and two students of the University of Oxford, the insults that were exchanged grew into armed clashes between locals and students over the next two days which left 63 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead. The scholars were eventually routed.

The dispute was eventually settled in favour of the university when a special charter was created. Annually thereafter, on February 10, the town mayor and councillors had to march bareheaded through the streets and pay to the university a fine of one penny for every scholar killed, a total of 5 s. 3 d.. The penance ended 470 years later, in 1825 when the mayor of the time refused to take part.

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