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The University Of Oxford

The University Of Oxford The University of Oxford The University of Oxford in Oxford, England is a very old and distinguished institution. Oxford University has been in existence for around nine centuries (Brief 1). It is the oldest English speaking university in the world (History 1). There is no exact date when the University was established, but there is some evidence of teaching going on around 1096 (Kenny 2). There are said to be several different founders of the University, but there is no way to designate one over another. Oxford was always struggling to prove it self as being a serious university.

This is because of its great rival university in Paris, which got most of the spotlight in the earlier days. Oxford is rich in its origins and history, which is due to its extremely old background. Even though Oxford is such a distinguished institution it does have a past of problems. The University has a history of altercations with the townspeople, which involves fights, major crimes, and conflicts over the unfair treatment the townspeople received due to the University. The Universitys relations with authority came with an abundance of privileges.

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The king and other leaders always put the Universitys needs before the townspeople. Oxford also demanded a great deal from its students, whose lives revolved around the University. Oxford was an extremely difficult school whose courses were of the highest quality. Oxford University is a very important part of Englands history and society today. Oxford Universitys origins, relations with town and authority, students, and curriculum make it of the most important and significant institutions of all time. Oxford University has had many situations, people, and events that have helped in its growth. Oxfords location is in an ideal place for a major university.

It is located on the confluence of the Rivers Cherwill and Thames (Oxford 1). Since Oxford is not a great cathedral city its location is one of the things that helped it gain people and popularity in its earlier days (Leff 77). The fact that royal and religious people surrounded Oxford also attracted visitors and students to its whereabouts (Leff 77). Henry I built a palace at Woodstock, which is only a few miles down the road from Oxford (Leff 77). There are also two monasteries built around Oxford, which brought the religious people to the city (Leff 77).

One of the major events in Oxfords past, which helped to bring students to the city, is when King Henry III banned English students from attending Paris University in 1167 (Story 4). This forced the English students who were attending Paris to come to Oxford if they wanted to continue their studies. King Henry IIIs ban greatly boosted the number of students attending Oxford University. These are a few of the major things that helped in the growth of Oxford University. The origins of an individual being the head of the school at Oxford are unknown to this day, but there are bits and pieces of historic information that show early leaders. There is some mention of a master of schools around 1201, but there is no chancellor in existence at that time (Thompson 2).

In 1214 a charter of liberties, this involves the punishment of the townspeople, contains the first reference to a chancellor (Leff 79). The year 1214 marked the inauguration of a chancellor at Oxford University, whose name is Robert Grosseteste (Leff 79). The chancellor at Oxford symbolized something different than at its rival Paris University. At Oxford the chancellor stands for self-rule because, he was in the society of masters. While at Paris the chancellor was not in the society of masters so he would symbolize alien rule.

Probably one of the earliest known teachers is Theobald Stampenisis in 1117 (Leff 77). He taught European fame and is said to have had around fifty pupils while he was at Oxford (Leff 77). Emo of Friesland was the first student to attend Oxford from overseas in 1190 (History 1). His arrival marked the beginning of Oxford Universitys tradition of international scholarships. These are just a few of the notable leaders who brought about great things to Oxford University.

Oxford Universitys relations with authority were something like a parent and a spoiled child. Whatever the University wanted they pretty much received. One of the Universitys many privileges was the custody over bread, ale, and weights and measures (Leff 88). In 1231 Henry III forced the burgesses to lower the rents. This was the first but not the last time a king stepped in to lower rents in order to help the students.

In 1311 Edward II ordered the sheriff to place any student who had been taken into custody into a separate jail from the townspeople (Leff 88). This is another example of the uncontrollable privileges being given to the University and its students. Edward III showed his strong preferential treatment on March 5, 1355 when he placed the masters and scholars of Oxford University under the protection of the crown (Leff 1). The only form of real discipline that any king showed towards the students of Oxford University was in 1231, when Henry III ordered the expulsion of any student who was not on tract for a master (Leff 83). These are only a few of the numerous occasions of the kings bias treatment against the townspeople, and in favor of the University.

The chancellor of Oxford University was given many privileges by the kings, which made him the most powerful man in the city of Oxford. The kings were so much in favor of the University that they would take the chancellors word over the mayor or sheriff on almost any occasion (Leff 88). In 1244 Henry III extended the chancellors power to all cases of rents, and prices of food and movables, which involved scholars (Leff 83). King Edward IIIs charter on June 27, 1355 gave the chancellor sole jurisdiction over the items of bread, ale, weights and measures, with the power to punish transgressors (Leff 91). The chancellor position at Oxford University was given its biggest responsibility in 1309 by King Edward II, who gave the chancellor the right to put burgesses and other townspeople in his own separate court (Leff 88).

This privilege was expanded even more when Edward III made the chancellors court free from royal interference and no worry of being charged with false imprisonment. The kings of England made Oxford Universitys chancellor one of the most powerful and authoritative men in England. The townspeople of Oxford University were unjustly treated and abused in order for the students to have better lives. In 1305 Edward I banned the people of Oxfords annual town tournaments and joust because it made to much noise, which disturbed the students studies (Leff 88). This is one example of how the Universitys needs and wishes always came foremost to the towns.

In 1248 Henry III made the town responsible for the murder of a scholar, without even investigating into the incident to try and find the truth (Leff 83). There was another occurrence of a student getting killed in 1297. However, this time the townspeople who were responsible for the murder were found and punished, but still the town had to pay the University a two hundred pound compensation fee (Leff 85). These are a few of the instances of the University getting what ever it could out of the town, with little to no justice for the townspeople of Oxford. The burgesses of Oxford were very unjustly and improperly treated. Often the students of the University would commit major crimes against the townspeople but only receive minor punishment.

One example of this occurred in 1244 when forty-five students were imprisoned for attacking the Jews but were soon released under the chancellors orders (Leff 83). Even when the burgesses were merely defending themselves they were considered to have committed crimes and were severely punished for them. One example of this is in 1209 when a scholar murdered a woman and in return the townspeople executed several scholars (Leff 78). In punishment for their actions these townspeople were excommunicated and the town had to pay retribution for the students deaths (Leff 78). The burgesses believed that Oxford was a hotbed of criminals and clerks (Leff 86).

The burgesses of the city of Oxford described their situation in this way: ..if a clerk wound or beat or does violence to a layman, for which he is imprisoned by the bailiff, he will at once be delivered by the chancellor without writing [written security], and if a layman ill-treats a clerk he will be imprisoned by the chancellor, and will be there a month or forty days, and will not be delivered without grievous ransom both to their common chest and the injured party, so that it grievously seems to the commonality that there is not one law for the clerks and the laymen (Leff 86). These are just a small number of th …


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