The St Scholastica Riot

I didn’t know about this bit of fun till I read it on the Center for Renaissance Studies facebook page:

This Day in History: St. Scholastica Day Riot

Fellow students, are you feeling stressed? Try to stay zen…unlike Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield….

On February 10th, 1355, the above-mentioned friends, students at Oxford University, were having a pint at the Swindlestock Tavern in Oxford when they made the unfortunate decision to complain about the quality of the ale to the taverner, John Croidon. The subsequent altercation, which began with Walter and Roger tossing their drinks in Croidon’s face, turned into a full blown assault.

The Chancellor of the University refused to arrest the two assailants when asked to do so by the mayor of Oxford. Asserting their independence from civil authority (students were under the protection of the church), a mob of students attacked the mayor. Long-harboured tension between “town and gown”, spurred by this assault, resulted in a vicious 2-day long riot between students and townspeople. Locals poured into the academic village, killing scores of students, who retaliated, though unsuccessfully.

The outburst was finally settled in favour of the university, and for the next 470 years, on Saint Scholastica’s Day, the mayor and councillors paraded through Oxford bare-headed and paid a fine for each of the murdered students. Good grief!

Let this be a lesson in anger management, be ye student or otherwise!