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Encyclopedia > St Andrews Castle
Ruins of St Andrews castle overlooking the North Sea
Ruins of St Andrews castle overlooking the North Sea

St Andrews castle is a picturesque ruin located in the coastal town of St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. The castle sits on a rocky promontory overlooking a small beach called Castle Sands and the adjoining North Sea. There has been a castle standing at the site since the times of Bishop Roger (1189-1202), son of the Earl of Leicester. It housed the town’s wealthy and powerful bishops while St Andrews served as the ecclesiastical center of Scotland during the years before the Protestant Reformation. Image File history File links A photo I took: St Andrews Castle with Sea, in St Andrews Scotland File links The following pages link to this file: St Andrews castle ... Image File history File links A photo I took: St Andrews Castle with Sea, in St Andrews Scotland File links The following pages link to this file: St Andrews castle ... St. ... Fife (Fìobh in Gaelic) is a unitary council region of Scotland situated between the Firth of Tay and the Firth of Forth. ... Royal motto: Nemo me impune lacessit (Latin: No one provokes me with impunity) Scotlands location within the UK Languages with Official Status English Scottish Gaelic Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow First Minister Jack McConnell Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 2nd UK 78,782 km² 1. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ...


The castle grounds are now maintained by Historic Scotland.

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Wars of Scottish Independence

During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times as it changed hands between the English and the Scottish. Soon after the sack of Berwick in 1296 by Edward I of England, the castle was taken and made ready for the English king in 1303. In 1314, however, after the Scottish victory at Bannockburn, the castle was retaken and repaired by Bishop William Lamberton, a loyal supporter of King Robert the Bruce. The English had recaptured it again by the 1330s and reinforced its defenses in 1336, but to no avail. Sir Andrew Moray, Regent of Scotland in the absence of David II, recaptured it after a siege lasting three weeks. Shortly after this, in 1336-1337, it was destroyed by the Scottish to prevent the English from once again using it as a strong hold. The Wars of Scottish Independence were a series of military campaigns fought between Scotland and England in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. ... The Battle of Bannockburn (June 23, 1314 – June 24, 1314) was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence. ... Robert I, (Robert de Brus in Norman French and Roibert a Briuis in medieval Gaelic), usually known in modern English today as Robert the Bruce (July 11, 1274–June 7, 1329), was King of Scotland (1306–1329). ...


It remained in this ruined state until Bishop Walter Trail rebuilt it at the turn of the century. His castle forms the basis of what can be seen today. He completed work on the castle in about 1400 and died within its walls in 1401.


Home to kings

Several notable figures spent time in the castle over the next several years. James I (1406-1437) received part of his education from Bishop Henry Wardlaw, the founder of St Andrews University in 1410. A later resident, Bishop James Kennedy, was a trusted advisor of James II (1437-1460). In 1445 the castle was the birthplace of James III. James I (1394 – February 21, 1437) reigned as king of Scotland from 1406 until 1437. ... University of St Andrews The University of St Andrews was founded between 1410-1413 and is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the United Kingdom. ... James II of Scotland (October 16, 1430 – August 3, 1460) was king of Scotland from 1437 to 1460. ... James III of Scotland (1451/ 1452 – June 11, 1488), son of James II and Mary of Gueldres, created Duke of Rothesay at birth, king of Scotland from 1460 to 1488. ...


Use as a prison

During these years, the castle also served as a notorious prison. The castle's “bottle dungeon” is a dank and airless pit cut out of solid rock below the north-west tower. It housed local miscreants who fell under the Bishop's jurisdiction as well as several more prominent individuals such as David Stuart, Duke of Rothesay in 1402, Duke Murdoch in 1425, and Archbishop Patrick Graham, who was judged to be insane and imprisoned in his own castle in 1478. David Stuart or Stewart (October 24, 1378 - 1402) was (from 1390) the heir to the throne of Scotland and (from 1398) the first Duke of Rothesay. ... Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany (1362 - 24 May 1425) was a Scottish nobleman who inherited the Dukedom of Albany in 1420, but was convicted and executed for treason five years later. ...


Reformation

During the Reformation, the castle became a center of religious persecution and controversy. Referring to the bottle dungeon the Scottish reformer, John Knox, wrote, "Many of God's Children were imprisoned here." In 1521 James Beaton, then Archbishop of Glasgow, won the seat of St Andrews and took up residence in the castle. Beaton altered the defenses to enable the castle to withstand a heavy artillery attack, which was a threat as tensions grew between English Protestants and Scottish Catholics. In 1538 James Beaton was succeeded by his ambitious and wealthy nephew David Beaton. Cardinal David Beaton's strong opposition to the marriage of Mary Queen of Scots with Prince Edward, the son and heir of Henry VIII of England, helped to spark renewed fighting in 1544. The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ... Cardinal David Beaton Archbishop David Cardinal Beaton (c. ...


Scottish Protestants were increasingly viewed as dangerous turncoats who sided with the English. In 1546 David Beaton imprisoned the Protestant preacher George Wishart (1513-1546) in the castle’s Sea Tower and had him burnt at the stake in front of the castle walls on March 1. Today, brick lettering with his initials marks the spot where he died. In May of that same year, Wishart's friends conspired against the cardinal. On May 26 they gained entry to the castle by disguising themselves as masons when some building work was in progress. After overcoming the garrison, they murdered Cardinal Beaton and hung his body from his window on the front of the castle. George Wishart George Wishart (c. ...


Following this murder, the Protestants took refuge in the castle and formed the first Protestant congregation in Scotland. A long siege was ordered by the Scottish Regent, Earl of Arran. In November of 1546 a mine was begun by the attackers which was successfully counter-mined by the defenders. Both the mine and counter-mine cut through solid rock. They were rediscovered in 1879 and remain open to the public today.


During an armistice in April 1547, John Knox entered the castle and served as the garrison's preacher for the remainder of the siege. For a time Knox had the freedom to pass to and from the castle to preach in the parish church. This peaceful interlude came to end, however, when a French fleet arrived and started a devastating artillery bombardment to dislodge the Protestants. This was accompanied by guns from St Salvator's and the cathedral towers. The castle was soon rendered indefensible and the defeated Protestants were taken away: some were imprisoned in France while others, including Knox, were condemned to the galleys. John Knox (1513 or 1514? to 1572) was a Scottish religious reformer who founded the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. ...

Current condition of the St Andrews castle ruins
Current condition of the St Andrews castle ruins

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x421, 280 KB) A photo I took: St Andrews castle panorama, Fife, Scotland File links The following pages link to this file: Images of castles St Andrews castle ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1000x421, 280 KB) A photo I took: St Andrews castle panorama, Fife, Scotland File links The following pages link to this file: Images of castles St Andrews castle ...

Decline and current condition

Following this Protestant defeat, the castle was substantially rebuilt by Archbishop Hamilton, the illegitimate brother of Regent Arran and successor to Cardinal David Beaton. The castle was rebuilt after the siege by Archbishop John Hamilton, but following his death in 1571 it was mainly occupied by a succession of constables. Parliament separated the castle from the archbishopric in 1606, and it was granted to the Earl of Dunbar, constable since 1603. In 1612 it was returned to Archbishop Gordon Gledstanes, but further attempts to re-establish the former estates of the Archbishop failed. With the eventual success of the Reformation in Scotland, the office of the bishop was increasingly eroded until it was finally abolished by William of Orange in 1689. Deprived of any function, the castle fell rapidly into ruin. By 1656, it had fallen into such disrepair that the town council ordered the use of its materials in repairing the pier. The principal remains are a portion of the south wall enclosing a square tower, the "bottle dungeon," the kitchen tower, and the underground mine and counter-mine. For other men named William of Orange, see William of Orange (disambiguation) William III of England (14 November 1650–8 March 1702; also known as William II of Scotland, William Henry and William of Orange) was a Dutch aristocrat and the Holy Roman Empires Prince of Orange from his...


External link

  • Historic Scotland
  • Scottish Sundials - inc. those of St Andrews

 
 

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