Friday, May 18, 2012

Town vs. Gown

Town vs. Gown
The St. Scholastica Day Riot

This phrase is commonly used to refer to conflicts between members of a university and the community in which it was located.

Perhaps the most famous instance of Town vs. Gown took place on February 10, 1355, in Oxford. Two students (Roger de Chesterfield & Walter Spryngeheuse) complained about the ale at the Swyndlestock Tavern (located at the southwest corner of the intersection called Carfax). The argument led to the students flinging their drinks in the face of the tavern keeper and beating him. When the mayor of Oxford asked the university chancellor to punish the students (all students fell under the jurisdiction of the university, not the town), and the chancellor refused, a mob of students decided to attack the mayor and town. The town called for help from the surrounding countryside, and attacked the university. The resulting riot lasted two days and killed (supposedly) 63 students and 30 townspeople.

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