St Andrews is boasted of Scotland’s first university and was the country’s undisputed priestly and intellectual capital. The medieval street plan remains virtually intact. The oldest surviving buildings are sandstone.
St Salvator’s Chapel
Locals and students are all familiar with Agnes, Annie, Elizabeth, Margaret, Katherine and George. These are the church bells of the university chapel on North Street. The six bells are contained in the tower and are hung for full circle ringing. The oldest is Elizabeth, recast in 1940. Agnes is named after the sister of one of the university’s chairs of Greek, George after a student, Margaret after a Scottish medieval queen and Annie after the university’s first female student, Agnes Forbes Blackadder (MA, 1895).
St Salvator’s College
It was established in the year 1450 by Bishop Kennedy, this is now a university residential hall. The tower, to which the present spire was added in 1550, contains the original bells Katharine and Kate Kennedy. They are dated from the 1860s. The entrance archway originally formed part of the old court. In the main is a 1461 college mace. In 1747, St Salvator’s College became the seat of the United College.
St Andrew’s Castle
Once one of the most important strongholds of the kingdom, the castle was founded around 1200, reconstructed in the 14th century and repaired in the 16th century. The structure forms an irregular pentagon enclosing a courtyard with towers or blockhouses which are now long gone, along with the original square Fore Tower. What remains is the work of Archbishop Hamilton, following the sieg. Still standing is the Kitchen tower and Sea Tower with its bottle dungeon.
St Rules Tower
The place to sightsee, St Rules Tower in St Andrews Cathedral has the best view in town. Its name derives from the town’s claim to be the final resting place of the apostle Andrew and the patron saint of Scotland, whose bones were brought under divine guidance from Patras, Greece by St Regulus (St Rule) to Kilrymont. St Andrews was also called Kilrule.
St Andrew’s Cathedral
This Cathedral was founded in 1160 by Bishop Arnold and consecrated in the presence of King Bruce in 1318. Construction started at the east end, where the detail is Romanesque but later work is Gothic. The nave consisted of 12 bays, a crossing with a central tower, north and south , a choir and shrine. At 109 m, it was by far the longest and largest cathedral in Scotland.
Queen Mary’s House
On South Street, which is like all the streets a processional avenue to the St Andrews Cathedral, there is the three-storey frontage of the house and its later extension, “Priorsgate”. The most striking design element is the western wing’s stair tower and corner of brownstone. The house was begun in 1523 by merchant Hew Scrymgeour and became known as Queen Mary’s House when she stayed there in 1564 on one of her many visits. The building was renovated in 1927 for use as a library by St Leonards School.
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