February 10, 1355
St. Scholastica’s Day Riot
In 1355 (depicted here with the incorrect date of 1354), a group of students from Oxford irritated a tavern owner when they remarked their beer was of poor quality. The landlord of the tavern was the town Mayor, and retorted with “stubborn and saucie language.”
The argument grew until a student hit the mayor on the head with a tankard, prompting the man to run to St. Martin’s church, ringing the bell to call the townspeople to his aid. The students followed suit, ringing the bell at the University Church, St. Mary’s, rallying the students.
The next day, an army of 2,000 townsfolk took up arms against the students, yelling “Havac! Havoc! Smyt fast, give gode knocks!” and killing students. The students fought back, but 63 students were killed while the army of townspeople suffered 30 losses during the two-day riot.