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Nicholas de Romanis

In 1207, Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) placed the kingdom of England under an Interdict[?] as the result of actions taken by King John (1199-1215) culminating in a debate over the appointment for a successor to the Archbishopric of Canterbury. The Interdict would stand until 1213 when John finally accepted Innocent's choice of Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury. Innocent's main negotiator throughout the Interdict was a Roman Cardinal and papal legate, Nicholas de Romanis.

During the time the Interdict was in effect, a scholar at Oxford was accused of raping a woman. When the burghers couldn't find the scholar, they hanged three of his friends in retaliation for his crime. The school at Oxford protested by abandoning the city and scattering to other schools throughout England, possibly setting up a facility in Cambridge.

On October 1, 1213, while Nicholas de Romanis was working to bring about the end of the Interdict, the citizens of Oxford sent him a letter asking him to resolve their problems with the scholars who had taught there. de Romanis agreed to help, visiting the city twice, in November 1213 and May 1214. On June 20, 1214, de Romanis's actions resulted in the issuance of the Charter[?] for the University of Oxford.

The terms Nicholas de Romanis won for the scholars demonstrates how important the citizens of Oxford felt the school was to the fortunes of their city. Among other items, the citizens agreed to charge fixed rates for student housing and food, an annual payment to the school, the right of the school to judge anyone associated with the school and the creation of a Chancellorship for the University.

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