From the earliest days of the universities, there have been tensions between Oxford's 'Town & Gown', the term used to describe the non-academics and scholars. In the 1300's there were two days of rioting after two students complained of the quality of the local ale leaving many killed. Not all altercations have ended in bloodshed and it was a general consensus to improve access into the town that the Covered Market was created. The design was to be of the highest standard (by John Gwynn, designer of the Magdalen Bridge) although today it is all too easy not to notice the craftsmanship of the building.
Information about visiting the market, its present traders and its illustrious past can be found on it's website. Click this link here to find out more.