Tag Archives: Oxford

Almanac – May 04

1471 –  The Battle of Tewkesbury: Edward IV defeated a Lancastrian Army and killed Edward, Prince of Wales.

I mention this here merely because I once took part in a re-enactment of this battle… (dont ask).
 
I was part of Edward IV’s victorious Yorkist army, though due to lack of enacters I was killed twice, returning to life each time to make up numbers. My life as a medieval zombie soldier…

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1852 – Alice Liddell born. Original of Alice In Wonderland.

In  July 1862, in a rowing boat travelling on the Isis from Folly Bridge, Oxford to Godstow for a picnic outing, 10-year-old Alice asked Charles Dodgson (who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll) to entertain her and her sisters, Edith (aged 8) and Lorina (13), with a story.

Dodgson duly  regaled the girls with fantastic stories of a girl, named Alice, and her adventures after she fell into a rabbit-hole.

The story was not unlike those Dodgson had spun for the sisters before, but this time Liddell asked  Dodgson to write it down for her. He promised to do so but did not get around to the task for some months.

He eventually presented her with the manuscript of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in November 1864.

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1961 –  The Freedom Riders began a bus trip through the American  South.

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960), which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.

 The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.

The Freedom Riders challenged the status quo by riding interstate buses in the South in mixed racial groups to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation in seating.

The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement and  called national attention to the disregard for the federal law and the local violence used to enforce segregation in the southern United States.

Police arrested riders for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws, along with other alleged offenses, but they often first let white mobs attack them without intervention.

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1970 –  Kent State shootings: the Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, opened fire killing four unarmed students and wounding nine others. The students were protesting the United States’ invasion of Cambodia.

There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of four million students, and the event further affected the public opinion—at an already socially contentious time—over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War.

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Almanac – March 17

1040 – Harold Harefoot died. King of England from 1035 to 1040. His cognomen “Harefoot” referred to his speed, and the skill of his huntsmanship.

 He was the younger son of Cnut the Great, king of England, Denmark, and Norway by his first wife, Ælfgifu of Northampton, although  Florence of Worcester (12th century) claimed  that Ælfgifu wanted to have a son by the king but was unable to, so she secretly adopted the newborn children of strangers and pretended to have given birth to them. Harold was reportedly the son of a cobbler, while his brother Svein Knutsson was the illegitimate son of a priest. Its probably a myth.

Harold died at Oxford,  of “a mysterious illness”, although an Anglo-Saxon charter attributes the illness to divine judgment…not least because he’d alledgedly defrauded some monks out of land that they had their covetous eyes on.

He was buried at Westminster Abbey… for a while.  His body was subsequently exhumed, beheaded, and thrown into a fen bordering the Thames when Harthacnut assumed the throne in June 1040.

 The body was  recovered by a fishermen, and resident Danes reportly had it reburied at their local cemetery in London, before it was eventually buried in a church in the City of Westminster, St. Clement Danes.

 A contradictory account in the Knýtlinga saga (13th century) reports Harold buried in the city of Morstr, alongside his half-brother Harthacnut and their father Cnut. While mentioned as a great city in the text, nothing else is known of Morstr.

 

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Almanac – February 10

1355 – A dispute between students and townsfolk in Oxford escalated into a three-day riot in which 63 students were killed.

It was apparently sparked by a complaint about the quality of wine served to a group of students at the Swindlestock Tavern and fuelled by existing tension between town and gown.

On the 10th of February… a dire conflict took place between the students of the University of Oxford and the citizens.The contest continued three days.

On the second evening, the townsfolk called into their assistance the country people; and thus reinforced, completely overpowered the scholars, of whom numbers were killed and wounded.

The citizens were, consequently, debarred the rites and consolations of the church; their privileges were greatly narrowed; they were heavily fined; and an annual penance for ever was enjoined that on each anniversary of St Scholastica, the mayor and 62 citizens attend at St Mary;s Church, where the Litany should be read at the altar, and an oblation of one penny made by each man.”

Chambers Book Of Days, 1864

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1906 – Lon Chaney Jr. born. American actor known for playing such characters as The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Frankenstein’s Monster and Count Alucard for Universal. He is also notable for portraying Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men.

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1920Jozef Haller de Hallenburg performed a  symbolic wedding of Poland to The Sea, celebrating the restitution of Polish access to the Baltic Sea that was lost in 1793 by the Partitions of Poland. The vows were renewed at another ceremony in 1945.

In the ceremonies, a military flag was dipped into the sea, while the commander cast in a ring. The speeches on these occasions emphasized the importance of access to the sea for the economic development of Poland.

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