A two-day riot triggered by a pair of possibly drunk Oxford students throwing their drinks in the face of the Landlord who they accused of selling inferior beer ended with the death of 63 scholars and 30 locals, strengthening the control of the University on the local area, and the of 470 years’ of oxford Mayoral humiliation.

Swindlestock Tavern

The dispute allegedly began when Oxford students Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, confronted tavern owner John de Bereford (or Croidon in some accounts), complaining about the quality of the wine.

Priests were also present (drinking), but it isn’t noted whether they had any similar complaints or not.

Instead of calming the students down the landlord reportedly replied with “stubborn and saucy language” which caused one of the students to throw a pot at his head. Someone caused the St. Martin’s at Carfax city church bell to be rung, bringing locals to help the Mayor.

The University replied by ringing the bell at University Church, calling students to join in what was rapidly becoming a full-blown riot. The good landlord also happened to be the Mayor of Oxford at that time which is one reason the argument turned into a riot and why for nearly 500 years the Oxford mayors had to pay especial deference to the college once each year.

Not content to let matters lie, on the 11th of February the Mayor/landlord called upon the king for help, after that more than a thousand locals stormed the school, destroying rooms and killing 62 of the scholars in residence.

It is noteworthy that the scholastica day riot occurred in the wake of the recent wave of Black Death which killed off a large part of the population of Europe and England and triggered a significant change in the way people looked at the pleasures of life.

It also occurred during The Hundred Year’s War. The tavern is now a bank

Thirty years later a country-wide uprising/riot occurred now remembered as the Wat Tyler Rebellion which confronted Richard II on the high taxes they were required to pay in the wake of the War.

Saint Scholastica

St. Scholastica died in the year 543, so she wasn’t involved in either the riot which bears her name or with beer or pubs.

She is considered the patron saint of The Benedictine Nuns. The saint herself was Italian, never visited England, and is a Saint for both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. She is buried at the monastery of her more famous twin brother, St. Benedict and her feast day is today, February 10th.

Since she is the patron of school, texts, and reading (essentially education in general), it is appropriate that she is linked with Oxford. There are also Anglican and Lutheran adherents to the rule of St. Benedict.


Associated with the Benedictine monks is a liqueur including 27 or more herbs and spices. Each bottle has D.O.M. on the label - this is a common Benedictine document notation standing for "Deo Optimo Maximo" ("To God, most good, most great") and was created as a medicinal drink by Alexandre Le Grand and a local chemist.

It is widely believed that the drink was invented at a Benedictine monastery, but that isn’t true.

(NOTE: your reporter used to work for Campus Police in Boston at a major University, and we had almost total control over the Boston campus area even to the point of asking Boston Police to leave the property - which they did. So University rights are still being respected hundreds of years later. He also grew up over a hotel bar (pub) where his father was the landlord.)