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St Andrews Castle Fife Scotland

Tour St Andrews Photographs

Fairmont St Andrews resort located on the coast of
St Andrews Bay is a luxury hotel boasting lavish rooms, world class golf, luxurious Spa and wonderful dining.

Photographs of snow on the Old Course, St Andrews.
Photographs of the Old Course, St Andrews.

Tour St Andrews, on the Fife coast, a famous seat of learning and the home of golf. As the former metropolitan see of Scotland, the city was in the mainstream of Scottish history and its rich heritage includes a 12th Century cathedral, 13th Century castle and 15th Century university. Today the town has a charm all its own and is a busy holiday resort in summer, reverting to the role of a university town in term time with an active cultural life.


St Andrews was an early ecclesiastical settlement associated with relics of St Andrew, it grew in importance with the founding of the St Regulus Church, a priory in the 12th Century and finally a grandiose cathedral, all of which eclipsed the Celtic settlement of St Mary on the Rock. The monastic establishment renowned as a seat of learning was the precursor of the university. With a growing university attracting scholars and students of a high calibre. 15th Century St Andrews was an active and prosperous burgh well meriting the attribution of a national role as ecclesiastical capital of Scotland in 1472. Prosperity and the population declined in the 17th Century, owing in part to the loss of the archbishopric (1689 Revolution), the changing trading patterns (now with the American colonies), as well as the political changes after the 1707 Act of Union. The 18th Century was also one of general decline.The 19th Century saw the beginning of the growth of golf as a sport and by the turn of the century the town had achieved renown as a Mecca of golf. Its popularity as a holiday and golfing resort has gone from strength to strength.Tour St Andrews for Golf, a Royal and Ancient Game
St Andrew's links with swards of springy turf and sand bunkers have, since the 15th Century, been a place for playing golf or the early ball and stick version of this sport. So popular was the game that by 1457 an Act of Scottish Parliament was passed requiring that "futeball and the goife be utterly cryit down" in favour of kirk attendance and archery practice. Mary, Queen of Scots was an occasional player, her son James VI popularised the game in England and both James Melville and the Marquess of Montrose played here as students. Founded in 1754, the Society of St Andrews Golfers had the title Royal and Ancient conferred on it by William IV in 1834 and is now recognised as the ruling body. To meet the increasing popularity of the sport, new courses (New 1895, Jubilee 1897, Eden 1912) were laid out supplementing the Old Course, which was established several centuries ago.By the beginning of the 20th Century St Andrews was firmly established as the golfing Mecca and the town now regularly hosts the British Open and Amateur Championships. Walker Cup Matches and a variety of other big money tournaments which draw the stars of the professional circuit, bringing record-breaking crowds despite television coverage. Two of the greatest names in golfing history are immortalised by hole names on the Old Course: Tom Morris (18th) and Bobby Jones (10th).

Tour St Andrews - St Andrews University
Founded in 1410 (1413 Papal Bull) by Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St Andrews, it was the first in Scotland and third in Great Britain after Oxford and Cambridge. Typical of medieval colleges, there were no buildings until the Pedagogy was built in 1430, followed by the Colleges of St Salvator's (1450). St Leonard's (1512) and St Mary's (1537). Three of Scotland's 15th Century poets, William Dunbar, Gavin Douglas and Sir David Lindsay, all studied here. By the 16th Century St Leonard's was already associated with reformist doctrines and university associations with leading figures of the Reformation are numerous: Patrick Hamilton, Alexander Alane (Alesius), Henry Scrimger as well as Andrew and James Melville. The resultant struggles with the established ecclesiastical hierarchy and the Crown are well known historical events.Towards the end of the 17th Century decline had set in but although the proposal to transfer the University to Perth fell through, it continued into the 18th Century, when St Leonard's and St Salvator's were amalgamated to form United College in 1747. The 19th Century was a period of reforms and reorganisation and the student population reached its lowest ebb in the 1870s with a total of 130. By the end of the 19th Century, and the 1897 union with Dundee, numbers were in constant progression. Despite the loss of Queen's in 1967, the present student population of 4,250 has greatly enlarged premises, and is once again largely residential.

Tour St Andrews Cathedral. St Andrews Cathedral.
The 16th Century precinct wall encloses the cathedral ruins and the church of St Regulus (Rule). The imposing St Regulus Church with its lofty western tower may well have been the shrine built to shelter St Andrew's relics. Queen Margaret's son, Alexander I, nominated Robert, Prior of Scone as Bishop of St Andrews, and it was he who built the church between 1127 and 1144. The tower (51 steps) has a magnificent panorama of St Andrews and its main monuments.Bishop Robert founded the priory c 1159 and his successor Bishop Arnold began work on the new cathedral, which was consecrated in 1318 by Bishop Lamberton in the presence of Robert the Bruce. Only the 12th Century east end, late 13th Century west gables and the south wall of the nave remain of this once immense building with its 10-bay nave. Following the depredations of the Reformation. subsequent neglect and 17th Century quarrying for stone, this once noble building was reduced to the extant ruins. To the south were the buildings of what must have been one of the most powerful monastic establishments in Scotland. Foundations indicate the layout.The museum has a good collection of early Christian sculptured stones -fragments of 8C-9C cross slabs - from St Mary of the Rock and a superb 8C or 1 OC sarcophagus.

Tour St Andrews Castle. St Andrews Castle.
Overlooking the foreshore, the ruins once formed part of the palace and stronghold of the Bishops and Archbishops of St Andrews. The castle, founded c 1200. suffered greatly during the Wars of Independence. Bishop Henry Wardlaw, founder of the university, was tutor to James I and it is possible that his young charge spent time here prior to his captivity in England. Bishop Kennedy taught James II how to break the power of his nobles by comparing them to a bundle of arrows, with the suggestion he snap each one individually.Many reformers suffered imprisonment here, including George Wishart whom Cardinal Beaton had burnt at the stake in front of his palace, and Patrick Hamilton another martyr. Following the martyrdom of Wishart, a group of Protestants seeking revenge gained admission to the castle disguised as stonemasons and murdered Cardinal Beaton They held the castle for a year and were joined at intervals by others such as John Knox, and the siege was only lifted when the garrison capitulated to the French fleet. The besieged were taken to France and Knox was sent to the galleys.The late-16th Century entrance range with the central Fore Tower, originally flanked by two round towers, was the work of Archbishop Hamilton and it was supposedly from this facade (the exact spot is contested) that the body of Cardinal Beaton was displayed to the crowd. The buildings were arranged around a courtyard. In what remains of the northwest or Sea Tower is the grim Bottle Dungeon of late 14th Century construction; 24ft deep it is hewn out of solid rock. The other interesting items are a mine and counter mine excavated during the 1546-47 siege.In the pavement in front of the castle are the initials of George Wishart marking the spot where he was burnt at the stake in 1546.

University Buildings, St Salvator's College
Now the centre of United College. St Salvator's was founded in 1450 by Bishop James Kennedy. The chapel and tower, above the entrance archway, form the North Street frontage and are a good example of 15th Century Gothic ecclesiastical style. The two ranges around the quadrangle are 19th Century reconstructions. St Salvator's Chapel was, according to Dr Johnson. "the neatest place of worship he had seen". The collegiate church was restored in the 19C and 20C. Inside is the founder's tomb, an amazingly intricate 15C work of art in the Gothic style. The pulpit opposite, with the preacher's hourglass, is supposedly the one used by John Knox. The initials PH laid in the pavement before the entrance, mark the spot where Patrick Hamilton (1504-28). one of the early reformers, was burned on 29 February 1528.

St Leonard's Chapel
The chapel belonged to the college of the same name. The original buildings were a hospital for pilgrims to St Andrew's shrine, then a nunnery, before being acquired to form the nucleus of the new college of St Leonard's. When St Leonard's and St Salvator's were united in 1747. the chapel was neglected while the buildings and grounds were eventually taken over by St Leonard's girls' school. The 1950s restoration recreated the medieval layout with a screen and organ loft dividing the building in two.

St Mary's College
In the early days of the university, classes were held in the priory buildings until Bishop Henry Wardlaw provided the Pedagogy (1430). This was superseded 100 years later when Archbishop James Beaton founded St Mary's College (1537). The college became a theological College in 1579. The buildings on the west side of the quadrangle are 16th Century. On the ground floor. College Hall has portraits of past principals including Cardinal Beaton. Up two flights of stairs is one of the original student chambers with box beds. On the north side is the old University Library, on the site of the original Pedagogy, which is now refurbished as the Psychology Department. On the street front there are a series of arms of University Chancellors. The first floor Senate Room is part of a 19C extension. The two Joseph Knibb longcase clocks flanking the fireplace were part of Gregory's equipment. Both Archbishop Sharp and Cardinal Beaton are portrayed amongst the notables.

The Upper Hall (1612-43), "elegant and luminous" according to Johnson, is a galleried room panelled with pale Baltic pine. This was where Gregory, the Astronomer (1638-75) and inventor of the reflecting telescope, worked. The ground floor Parliament Hall completed in 1643 is where the Scottish Parliament sat in 1645-46 following the Battle of Philiphaugh.

Tour St Andrews, Around Town
The town has retained its original layout with three main streets - South, Market and North Streets - converging on the cathedral.

West Port
The main entrance to the old town, it was built in 1589 and opens onto South Street.

Blackfriars Chapel
This is all that remains of a mid-15th Century foundation for Dominican Friars. The chapel dates from the 16th Century: note the three-sided termination. The imposing building behind is part of Madras College.

Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church.
This burgh church, rebuilt in 1410, was modified in the late 18th Centry and restored in the 20th Century. Only the corbelled tower with the stone steeple is 15th Century. Inside, Archbishop Sharp's monument graphically records his death in 1679 on Magus Muir.

Queen Mary's House
A 16th Century house in attractive rubble stonework with a pantile roof.

Deans Court
This 16C building is now a post-graduate students' residence.

The Pends
A 14th Century vaulted gatehouse which was the main entrance to the priory. The road follows the precinct wall down to the harbour.

Rebuilt in the 17th Century with stone from the castle and cathedral.
St Andrews Harbour Photographs.

Church of St Mary of the Rock
This was the site of the 12th Century Celtic settlement which was gradually superseded by St Regulus and the new cathedral and priory.

Royal and Ancient Golf Club
For club members only. The imposing 1854 clubhouse overlooks the 1st and 18th holes of the Old Course and is the headquarters of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.

British Golf Museum
The museum is a must for golfing enthusiasts. Five hundred years of golf history come alive by means of audio-visual displays and interactive screen presentations: the origins of the game. the development of the equipment - wooden shafts replaced by steel, featheries by guttas and rubber-cores - and famous golfing events and personalities.

Sea Life Centre
The species of marine life include: stingrays, sharks, conger eels, catfish and exotic types of fish and marine creatures which adapt to habitats such as rock pools, harbours, reefs and wrecks. There is an outdoor seal pool.

Botanic Garden
Its attractions include the rhododendrons of the Peat Garden, the colourful Heath Garden, the alpine varieties of the Rock Garden and the Water Garden with exotic species and moor plants and the glasshouses.

St. Andrews can best be seen on foot. Start at the old harbor and walk up to the St Andrews Cathedral and St Andrews Castle and the onwards to the " Old Course " and beach. A further walk up North Street, Market Street and South Street will provide the walker with an opportunity to visit most of the best sites in St. Andrews, including the which is the ‘mother church’ of St. Andrews..

St Andrews is ideally located for easy trips to the East Neuk, North Fife, Dunfermline, Culross, Perth, Edinburgh, Falkland Palace,  and all of historic Fife and Perthshire.

If you would like to visit this area as part of a highly personalized small group tour of my native Scotland please e-mail me:

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