Saved by the boundary

September 9, 2005

Oxford may claim to be the oldest English-speaking university in the world, but did it once have an ancient rival... other than Cambridge?

University College Northampton - which is planning to celebrate the Privy Council's decision to grant it full university title next month - has been delving deep into the history books to trace its origins.

Apparently, a fledgling university existed in the town until it was closed in 1265 by command of Henry III, who did not want Oxford to have a competitor.

The discovery of the Royal edict sparked a bout of nerves at University College Northampton that the Privy Council would have to abide by Henry's ruling.

But not so. The location of the new university will be outside the boundaries of the old town.

So the ancient rivalry can resume.

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