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  • Writer's picturePaul


Students, eh? Bunch of good for nothings. Sitting around all day in their underwear watching Jeremy Kyle, swigging back cans of special brew. Get a job, you bums!

But history can teach us that students weren’t always lazy borderline alcoholics. They also used to be violent, lazy borderline alcoholics—as the good towns folk of Oxford learned to their horror in 1355 when the student body as good as declared war on the town.

Mediaeval students: The artist missed the class on drawing perspective

(Public domain/Wikipedia)

The entire incident started like all good student nights out when two men, Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, hit up Oxford’s Swindlestock Tavern in preparation for a good old fashioned all-nighter on 10 February—the feast day of St Scholastica, patron saint of books, studying, and convulsive children, of course. (She has her work cut out, clearly.)

Anyway. Disgusted with the quality of the beer, the two students threw their drinks in the face of the landlord, John Croidon, and proceeded to assault him. Or maybe they’d just missed happy hour and he wasn’t serving cheap treble vodka red bulls anymore. Either way, when word spread of the duo’s antics, the mayor of Oxford, John de Bereford, understandably called for the arrest of both men—but that only caused a further 200 students to rise up and assault the mayor.

Sensing a good old fashioned barney on their hands, the townsfolk piled in next: soon a full-on “student war” was started, and as word of the unrest continued to spread, folk from the surrounding countryside even started travelling into town to get in on the action.

After two days of violence, a staggering 63 students and 30 townsfolk lay dead. Hell of a freshers week really.

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