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Oxford Rumours and Urban Legends

There are plenty of Oxford stories that seem too unbelievable to be true - and some of them are. Here's a rundown of Daily Info's favourite rumours and urban legends about Oxford.

Mickey Bubbles

This rumour originates from a comment on a long-lost forum, and is a frequent subject of discussion in the Daily Info offices. According to the story, Michael Bublé spent part of his youth working in the fishmonger's in the Covered Market, going by the delightful nickname Mickey Bubbles. Bublé has never confirmed or denied these rumours, possibly because no-one has ever asked him.

The Sunken Cathedral

The Martyrs' Memorial on St Giles has been the focus of a great deal of leg-pulling over the years, with American tourists being the favourite targets. If you want to join in, find a friend who isn't familiar with Oxford, take them on a trip to the Martyrs' Memorial, and tell them all about the city's famous sunken cathedral, which is now so deep underground that only the spire is visible.

Cakes and Ale

This story has been told and retold so many times that even Snopes lists it as a legend, rather than an outright lie. Rumour has it that, citing an ancient university rule, a student demanded cakes and ale while sitting his exams. The university complied, bringing him a modern-day equivalent (often a burger and a soft drink) - and then fined him five pounds for turning up to his exam without a sword.

Unusual Vegetables

During the Second World War, animals and livestock were requisitioned by the Ministry of Food as part of rationing. The deer in Magdalen College's deer park were apparently at risk of being whisked away by the government, until a bright spark had the idea of reclassifying them as vegetables. While there's absolutely no evidence backing up this rumour, it's a fun story - and you can still see Magdalen College's vegetables roaming free to this day.

Red-Faced Dons

Of all the rumours and stories listed here, this one is the most likely to be true. Parson's Pleasure is a popular outdoor swimming spot, and, back in the day, was the unofficial place for Oxford's men to skinnydip (women could go to Dame's Delight). One day, a group of dons were bething at Parson's Pleasure when a boat full of female students passed by. The dons rushed to cover their modesty, all apart from the Warden of Wadham, who covered his face with his hands. When his companions asked him why, he replied "I don't know about you gentlemen, but I am known by my face."

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