Abingdon and the Riots of 1327
By Gabrielle Lambrick
Oxoniensia, Vol. 29-30 (1964-1965)
Introduction: It is well known that the political troubles of 1326-27, culminating in the deposition of Edward II and the establishment of a new government under the young King Edward III , were accompanied by violent disorders in various parts of the country with particularly serious outbreaks of rioting in the monastic towns of St.Albans, Bury St. Edmunds and Abingdon. N.M. Trenholme in examining these riots suggested that they were largely due to a wave of communal feeling which was encouraged by Londoners and others, such as the citizens of Oxford, who were willing to aid and abet the inhabitants of monastic towns suffering under the oppression of their rulers. A fresh examination of some of the evidence, however, leads to the conclusion that there was more than local communal feeling behind the riots in the towns ruled by great abbeys and behind the general disorders of the period. Anti-clericalism, and opportunism directed to national political ends both seem to have played their part, and it is these factors, especially the latter, which it is hoped to elucidate here, looking first at the Abingdon riots and the local conditions which formed the background to them.