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On the south-west corner of Carfax, in Oxford, a small, inconspicuous inscription on the side of an old building marks the site of one of the bloodiest pub brawls in history. Before this building was sold to the Abbey National Building Society, it was occupied by the Swindlestock Tavern, a popular watering hole among Oxford University’s students and the townsfolk alike.

On 10 February 1355, the entire town was celebrating the feast day of Saint Scholastica. Some students were drinking at Swindlestock Tavern, when two of them complained about the quality of the wine served. The landlord and the tavern’s owner, who also happened to be Mayor of Oxford at the time, allegedly responded to their complaint with “stubborn and saucy language”; whereupon a student threw his drink on the owner’s face, followed by the empty wine jug that landed straight on the tavern owner’s head.

St. Scholastica Day Riot


© Amusing Planet, 2020.



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