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Cambridge University Library


Many medieval universities had students from many countries who, for lack of better amusement, frequently fought each other. One solution was to divide them formally into ‘nations’ and to draw up regulations for them. In Britain, and especially in Cambridge, the phenomenon was less disruptive. Oxford, in early days, chose one proctor from the north and one from the south to serve together, representing the northern and the southern ‘nations’ and it is arguable that a similar arrangement prevailed for a time at Cambridge. The ancient statutes give some slight evidence for fights between nations at Cambridge, as for example, in forbidding public gatherings of nations on the feasts of such contentious saints as Hugh, Edmund, Cuthbert and William of York.