St. Andrews a seaside town in Scotland is famous for the Old Course and having the oldest university in Scotland, but it is a town of many charms. To start our guide gave us a quick run through of the town to get a general idea of the area. It is quite small with only three main streets. After that we were dropped off to explore our first area St Andrews cathedral ruins. Built in gothic style It was a Roman Catholic Church founded in 1158 and finally dedicated in 1318 by King Robert I.It’s main relic was the bones of St. Andrew. It was the center of the medieval Roman Catholic Church in Scotland until In 1559 the building was stripped of its altars and images. It fell into disuse after Catholic mass was outlawed during the 16th century Scottish reformation. The ruins indicate the building was 391 feet long and I the largest church to have been built in Scotland. Of what is left I thought that the coolest part was the St. Rules tower which actually predates the cathedral as part of church of the priory that the cathedral replaced. After a steep climb in a tight spiral staircase offered some incredible views of the area.
The next big site we visited is the St. Andrews castle. It is also a ruin owned by Historic Scotland and open to the public. The castle was built around 1200 by Roger de Beaumont. It housed the burgh’s wealthy and powerful bishops while St Andrews served as the ecclesiastical center of Scotland before the reformation. The castle sits on a rocky promontory overlooking a small beach called Castle Sands along the North Sea. The area was heavily involved in the Scottish wars of indeoendence. The castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times as it Chang hands between the Scots and English. The Scots finally seized and destroyed it in 1336 to keep the English from using it as a stronghold. It remained in a ruined state until Bishop Walter Trail rebuilt it around the turn of the century. His castle forms the basis of the ruins you see today. Another contentious time period for the castle was the reformation. The castle became a center of religious persecution and contorversy. In 1521 Archbishop James Beaton altered the defences to enable the castle to withstand attack from heavy artillery as tensions grew between English protestants and Scottish Catholics. Following Protestant defeat the castle was rebuilt by Archbishop John Hamilton, following his death it was generally occupied by a series of constables. With the eventual success of the Reformation the office of bishop was steadily declining and finally abolished in 1689 by William of Orange. After that deprived on any function the castle fell into ruin. In 1656 the burgh council ordered the use of its materials in repairing the pier. The main pieces left are the South wall and square tower, the dungeon, kitchen tower as well as underground mine and counter mine.