An Historic Tour of Oxford
While at Oxford, I had the pleasure of entertaining many visitors from abroad. In this endeavour, I developed and refined a tour for my visiting friends. Below is a summary of what I would say:
The university itself is difficult to date, not in a small part due to the fact that it developed over time. The layout of the city of Oxford is typical of the time of King Alfred, who is understood to have had intellectual leanings. As such, we have reason to believe that scholarly pursuits in Oxford date back to the 800s. In port meadow, a common grazing ground to this day, there are still remenants of older Anglo-Saxon civilizations:
By the mid 13th century, the town was well established, and the "university" was already a strong presence. At this time, the monestaries were a strong presence in midieval Europe, establishing a near monopoly on the provision of priests to local parishes. The university served as a challenge to the monestaries. It was literally a guild for people pursuing an education in theology outside of the monestaries (the term "university" derives from the late Latin term, "universus," a term for a guild). This guild was loosely based, as it used the ability to relocate as a bargaining chip in negotiations with local government. In fact, one significant use of this strategy was in the year 1214, when the university disbanded and relocated to the Fens, to found Cambridge University.
University College: Legally, the oldest one