The Rank And Status Of Oxford & Cambridge University Across The Globe


Oxford & Cambridge University are both historically renowned across the globe as the most prestigious learning institutions in the United Kingdom. Between them, they have produced some of the finest academics, politicians and social scientists known to Britain. As well as people are aware of Oxford & Cambridge Uni, they are equally aware of a rivalry that exists between the two long standing education establishments. For most, it is a vague notion with little information on the history and origins of this ongoing feud. So how did this rivalry really begin? First we need to look into the history of both universities to understand how it all began.


The Origins And Accolades Of Oxford University


According to the Oxford University website, it was an operational institution in 1066 and experienced rapid expansion in 1167 due to Henry II imposing a ban on English students who wished to attend the university of Paris. By the 14th century, Oxford gained it’s reputation of ‘eminence above every other seat of learning’ and a hotbed for often heated religious debate. The ensuing centuries saw countless political and religious controversies become a regular feature at Oxford. By the end of the eighteenth century, Oxford opened it’s doors to female students and embraced the humanities. But the rivalry began as a result of a split in 1209.


The Origins Of Cambridge University


Cambridge University was founded by students who had fled from Oxford as a result of riots between students and townspeople.  It is said to have ensued as a result as a result of an accidental killing by two Oxford clerks (other reports say they may have been innocent). The clerks were hung which led to other Oxford scholars (or students) to flee for their safety. There are subsequent events are said to have led to a battle between the scholars and the townfolk with conflicting accounts according to which side you choose to believe. Harsh sanctions and more brutality followed and became part of ‘Town vs Gown’  riots that are riddled with fictitious accounts. Whatever the truth of the matter in this period of history, we can establish that this was the beginning of the infamous Oxford-Cambridge one one-upmanship that continues to this day.


Oxford & Cambridge-What They Have In Common And What Differentiates Them


On the surface, this rivalry boils down to a yearly boat race but this perhaps reflects the healthy competition that exists between the two cities that play host to the universities. While both cities have much in common, they both have renowned publishing houses, botanical gardens, museums, debating societies, business schools and science parks.


Cambridge University outranks Oxford in the ‘elite’ group of six ‘globally recognised super brands’, Cambridge comes in at 3rd place while Oxford ranks at 6th.


Oxford is the larger of the two cities with a population approximately 30% larger than Cambridge. Oxford homes the Williams and Caterham Formula 1 teams. Cambridge on the other hand plays host to Silicon Fen also known as the ‘Cambridge Cluster.’ The property consultants, Bidwell describe Silicon Fen as “a vibrant hub of tech and innovation and a hotspot for businesses focused on electronics, software and biotechnology” which is “closely associated with the University of Cambridge, therefore, part of its growth can be attributed to the university.”


Both cities boast an abundance of ancient architecture but the style for each city is different. Cambridge can lay claim to more variety due to the different materials used to construct the historic buildings in the city.


The Annual University Cricket Match


Oxford & Cambridge University competed in their first cricket match in the year 1827. To date Cambridge have the most wins with 58 to Oxford’s 54. This year’s match will take place on the 22nd June 11:00am at Lords.


The Oxford Vs Cambridge Annual Boat Race


The Oxford vs Cambridge annual boat race first took place in 1829 and was won by Charles Wordsworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, instigator of both the annual cricket match and boat race-he won it for Oxford, despite living in Cambridge!  Cambridge were this years winners in a boat race that now partners with Cancer Research UK and is competed by both men and women.


As for which university is truly the best, that is a matter of debate that will no doubt rage on. Whichever you choose to visit, you will find a rich history and heritage plus plenty of places to enjoy. The best of which we will show you on our wonderful walking tours of Oxford!

Whether you want to join us on a free walking tour or a private walking tour of Oxford, just get in touch and we can arrange everything for you.