February 10, 1355, The St. Scholastica’s Day Riot Breaks Out

What began as a brawl in the bar ended with 63 scholars and 30 locals dead. The brawl began between two students and a taverner. The students complained that they had been served a low-quality drink at the bar. The taverner replied in vulgar and stubborn language. One argument led to another, and the students threw their drinks to the taverner’s face. They also assaulted him. That is when all hell broke loose.

The riot took place in Swindlestock

The riot took place in Swindlestock Tavern in Oxford on February 10, 1355, when the dispute ensued between the Oxford University students, Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, and the taverner, John Croidon. The students’ assault on Croidon led to a chaotic move. Croidon responded by mobilizing the locals by ringing the church bell. The students’ irate behavior utterly angered Croidon. He was mobilizing the villagers and townspeople for support in the riot. The riots were very dangerous; people fought and lost multiple lives. The town mayor was angered by the student and demanded that the two students, Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, be arrested. The move was thwarted by over 200 University students who stood by Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield. The students further assaulted the Mayor and his team.

Fines and Conciliation

The locals poured in from all directions shouting “Havoc, Havoc.” The riot lasted two days, with multiple maims and casualties were reported on both sides. At least 30 locals and 63 students died in the Scholastica. The dispute was ultimately solved in favor of the University. A special charter was created, making February 10 the St. Scholastica Day. The charter resolved that the councilors and the Mayor were to march in the streets of Oxford bare-headed in respect of the killed scholars. A fine of one Penny for every scholar killed was also paid to the University. The fine ended 470 years later when in 1825, the Mayor refused to march. A conciliation ensued between the University and the Administration of the town.