Country Living (UK) - - Travel -

Home to the old­est univer­sity in the English-speak­ing world, which dates back to the 11th cen­tury, Ox­ford has long been as­so­ci­ated with academia. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween ‘town and gown’ how­ever, was ini­tially fraught with ten­sion and when, in 1209, a stu­dent fled Ox­ford af­ter al­legedly mur­der­ing his mis­tress, the towns­peo­ple hanged two schol­ars in re­tal­i­a­tion. Ten­sions con­tin­ued for more than 100 years, with one riot in 1355 lead­ing to the death of 93 stu­dents and towns­folk. To es­cape such vi­o­lence, many aca­demics fled to Cam­bridge where they es­tab­lished a new univer­sity.

Visit: Ox­ford’s cob­bled lanes and honey-hued col­lege build­ings moved poet Matthew Arnold to name it ‘the city of dream­ing spires’. Walk in the shoes of schol­ars by vis­it­ing the Bodleian Li­brary – one of the world’s old­est pub­lic li­braries, and Christ Church – the largest of Ox­ford’s col­leges, founded in 1546. Also in­ter­est­ing is the an­thro­po­log­i­cal Pitt Rivers Mu­seum, which is home to half a mil­lion ob­jects from all over the world (ex­pe­ri­enceox­ford­shire.org).

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