St. Andrews

April 30, 2017

On Sunday morning we headed to St. Andrews. While the area was settled at least 4,500 years before the birth of St. Andrew, the modern town dates back to c. 1140. The cathedral was built shortly thereafter to accommodate the pilgrims who hoped to be cured by St. Andrew's kneecap or other body parts that were brought there. The church was abandoned after the sixteenth-century wars, and the treasures were looted. I don't know what happened to the kneecap. Over time stone was taken to use as building materials. The once prosperous town and ecclesiastical center continued to decline for centuries until golf and the university and the resulting tourism gave it a boost. The cemetery has the remains of scholars, clergy, and writers of some note, though no one I had heard of, except for St. Andrew, who might still have some bits there. The adjacent museum has artifacts of interest found on the site, including a sarcophagus from the eighth century.

The square tower seen on the right below predates the cathedral. Stairs have been installed so you can climb it.

The St. Andrews Castle north of town was built in the twelfth century and destroyed and rebuilt during various wars. The picturesque ruins come from the rebuilding about 1400. Its condition rapidly deteriorated during the seventeenth century. There is an interesting museum at the site, and of course a gift shop.

St. Andrews University is the oldest university in Scotland, and the third oldest in the English-speaking world. By many accounts it is also next to Oxford and Cambridge in quality. Prince William studied there, and the place several of us had lunch was where he supposedly met Kate for coffee. The university is integrated right into the town, and some of us wandered around a bit to figure out the shortest way around to get to the nearby commercial street.

A view of the town

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