Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages

New eresource: Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages

Access the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages via this link.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages is an essential new reference work covering all key aspects of European history, society, and culture from 500 to 1500 A.D., as well as the Byzantine Empire, Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples of the era. It is designed both for medievalists, who need a detailed and reliable reference tool, and for students and general readers seeking an accessible guide to the period. Over 800 scholars have assembled thousands of comprehensive entries, lavishly supplemented by hundreds of illustrations and dozens of maps.

Peterhouse, the earliest college of the University of Cambridge. © Andrew Holt/Alamy

Cambridge, University of

The town was a Norman outpost facing the Fens of *East Anglia on a commercially potent site where Roman roads crossed the river Granta (now Cam). The dues of the rich, annual Stourbridge *Fair were chartered to the *Augustinian Barnwell priory in 1211. Masters and scholars, most notably refugees from violence in *Oxford in 1209, came to teach in their own schools or to attend the schools of Barnwell and of the *Franciscans (from 1224). In 1231 *Henry III of England recognized the university under the judicial authority of the bishop of *Ely, and in 1233 *Pope Gregory IX granted it immunity from outside jurisdiction. To counterbalance the religious houses, Hugh de Balsham, bishop of Ely, founded the first college, Peterhouse (1284) on the model of *Merton College, Oxford. Other surviving medieval foundations are Clare (as University Hall, 1326), Pembroke (1347), Gonville and Caius (as Gonville Hall, 1348), Trinity Hall (1350), Corpus Christi (1352), Christ’s (as Godshouse, 1439), King’s (1441), Queens’ (1448), St Catharine’s (1473), Magdalene (as Buckingham, 1428), and Jesus (1496). St John’s (1511) replaced the 13th-century Hospital of St John. Henry VIII folded King’s Hall (1336) and Michaelhouse (1324) into his own Trinity College (1546). Canon and civil *law flourished in the 14th century with the energetic support of William Bateman, bishop of *Norwich (d. 1355), founder of Trinity Hall and re-founder of Gonville; orthodox theology dominated in the 15th.

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