Places to Visit in Scotland
- St Andrews Castle, Fife

St Andrews Castle
St Andrews Castle

This is another castle perched on the top of a cliff, this time in the historic town of St Andrews with its University and its ruined abbey as well as the castle. St Andrews has been the ecclesiastical centre for Scotland ever since a relic of St Andrew, brother of St Peter, found its way to the Pictish settlement of Kinrymont (the previous name for the hamlet which existed here, possibly as far back as the 4th century. The burgh received its first charter from King David I in 1140. There has been a castle since at least the time of Bishop Roger in the latter half of the 12th century. The castle changed hands several times during the Wars of Independence as Robert the Bruce fought to free Scotland from King Edward I of England. During that time much of the original castle was destroyed and it is a building which was started at the end of the 14th century which we see today.

The young King James I received part of his education at St Andrews Castle from Bishop Henry Wardlaw who founded St Andrews University. His successor, Bishop James Kennedy demonstrated to King James II that a sheaf arrows could not be broken but each arrow could be broken singly.

In 1521, the Archbishop of Glasgow, James Beaton, succeeded at St Andrews, at a time when Protestant ideas were taking hold in Scotland. In 1537 his son, David Beaton became Archbishop of St Andrews and Cardinal of the Church. In 1546 Beaton burnt at the stake the Protestant preacher George Wishart in front of the castle walls but a few months later a group of Protestant lairds murdered the Cardinal. The castle was later besieged - at one stage tunnels were built to go under the castle walls and visitors who are brave enough can now enter this unusual "tourist attraction". The dungeons are also popular!

A modern visitor centre has been built to the side of the castle by Historic Scotland where you can learn more about the history of the castle in audio-visual displays or from the good selection of books.

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