History Explorer: Medieval universities

Dr Hannah Skoda and Daniel Cossins pay a visit to Merton College, Oxford, founded in 1264, to discover more about Britain's universities in the Middle Ages

Merton College, Oxford.

This article was first published in the May 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine 

What started with a quarrel over wine quickly spilled over into bloody carnage. On Tuesday 10 February 1355, two students at the University of Oxford complained about the quality of the wine at the Swindlestock Tavern. When the innkeeper responded with “stubborn and saucy language”, one of the students threw the wine vessel at his head. Locals rang the nearby church bell to muster the townsmen, who violently attacked another group of students. More bells pealed, this time from the university church, rousing students and scholars into the fray.

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