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Oxford

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The Radcliffe Camera
Oxford was first settled in Saxon times, and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Ox"; fords were more common than bridges at thattime.[2] It began with the foundation of St Frideswide's nunnery in the 8th century, and was first mentioned in written records in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 912. In the 10th century Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes. St Frideswide is the patron saint of both the city and the university.Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the conquest, the town was assigned a governor, Robert D'Oyly, who ordered the construction of Oxford Castle to confirm Norman authority over the area. The castle has never been used for military purposes and its remains survive to this day. D'Oyly set up a monastic community in the castle consisting of a chapel and livingquarters for monks (St George in the Castle). The community never grew large but it earned its place in history as one of the oldest places of formal education in Oxford. It is there that in 1139 Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his History of the Kings of Britain, a compilation of Arthurian legends.[3]
In 1191, a city charter stated in Latin,[4]
"Be it known to all those present and future that we, thecitizens of Oxford of the Commune of the City and of the Merchant Guild have given, and by this, our present charter, confirm the donation of the island of Midney with all those things pertaining to it, to the Church of St. Mary at Oseney and to the canons serving God in that place.
"Since, every year, at Michaelmas the said canons render half a mark of silver for their tenure at the time when wehave ordered it as witnesses the legal deed of our ancestors which they made concerning the gift of this same island; and besides, because we have undertaken on our own part and on behalf of our heirs to guarantee the aforesaid island to the same canons wheresoever and against all men; they themselves, by this guarantee, will pay to us and our heirs each year at Easter another half mark which wehave demanded; and we and our heirs faithfully will guarantee the aforesaid tenement to them for the service of the aforesaid mark annually for all matters and all services.
"We have made this concession and confirmation in the Common council of the City and we have confirmed it with our common seal. These are those who have made this concession and confirmation."
(There follows a list ofwitnesses, ending with the phrase, "... and all the Commune of the City of Oxford.")
Oxford's prestige was enhanced by its charter granted by King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom; and various important religious houses were founded in or near the city. A grandson of King John established Rewley Abbey forthe Cistercian Order; and friars of various orders (Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and Trinitarians), all had houses at Oxford of varying importance. Parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th century. The Provisions of Oxford were instigated by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England's first written constitution.
The University ofOxford is first mentioned in 12th century records. As the University took shape, friction between the hundreds of students living where and how they pleased led to a decree that all undergraduates would have to reside in approved halls[citation needed]. Of the hundreds of Aularian houses that sprang up across the city, only St Edmund Hall (c 1225) remains. What put an end to the halls was the...
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