Visit St Andrews and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
St Andrews, Fife. Once the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland (its diocese, linked with that of Edinburgh, is still, for the Catholic Church, primus inter pares in all Scotland), St Andrews has in recent centuries become the golfing capital of the world. The decrees of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club command universal respect. St Andrews too is the site of our most ancient University, founded in 1412.
It is also a little East-coast Scottish town of singular and poignant beauty, in which the past harmonizes with the present not only of golf but of holiday-making and of tourism. St Andrews is venerated in Scotland by all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons. Not the least of its attractions for Scottish folk from the West as well as from the East is its bracing air and its partly isolated position in this projection of Fife, protected by the North Sea on the East side and by the Firth of Tay on the North.
St Andrews owes its early importance to its connection with the Church, a connection that made itself felt here immediately after the beginning of Christian influence on Scotland and even before the kingdom was properly founded and defined. There is a tradition that St Regulus brought the relics and bones of St Andrew the Apostle here in A.D. 347. Historians incline to A.D. 747 as a more likely date. In any event, it will not do too lightly to dismiss the force of this ancient tradition.
In the famous Declaration of Arbroath, 1320, the barons solemnly averred Scotland's ancient connection with St Andrew the Apostle. They added, amidst a number of other cogent and practical arguments, what they took to be an accepted fact. They simply stated that the Scots had originally come to this country via Ireland from Scythia, which part of the world had been evangelized after Pentecost by St Andrew the Meek, the brother of blessed Peter, whom Our Lord “appointed to be our leader and patron saint for ever”. The men who put forward this argument to the highly practical Pope John XXII were not remote peasants, but were learned men of the world in whom reputable tradition lived. It may be added in passing that no one has succeeded in detecting the origin of the Latin word Scolus. But may it not come from the latinized variation of the Greek for Scythia?
In any event, the city of St Andrews in Scotland has been held in high religious esteem over the centuries. And it is not only the Catholics who hold it so. There are distinguished members of the Presbyterian Kirk of Scotland who would not turn their backs upon the notion that St Andrews the city has an actual physical connection with the body of St Andrew the Apostle.
The town, in the purely civic sense of the word, is of great antiquity. It must have originated soon after the first settlement of the churchmen. David I granted it a charter about 1140. When the cathedral and priory were built and the university was founded, St Andrews was a very prosperous town. However, the Reformation largely destroyed the town's life; it removed its ecclesiastical raison d'κtre. The town then degenerated into a village, whose streets were “filled with dunghills, and were extremely noisome, especially on account of the herring guts exposed on them”. This comes from a description in 1697; later it was said that “there was not a foot of pavement in any of the streets”. Filth and squalor abounded; “cows and pigs grazed in front of the Colleges”.
Considering the prestige of its antiquity as a city of learning, St Andrews was in the 17th century at its lowest pitch of neglect, with only its spacious streets and fine ruins to remind one of its former grandeur. In 1697 a proposal was made to move the university to Perth since St Andrews was in such decline.
Conditions began to improve towards the end of the 18th century, and certainly during the 19th. In 1834 Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair (1786 1861), son of Principal Playfair of the United College, retired to St Andrews and was elected Provost in 1842. During his term of office, he revolutionized the town, so that once again it built up a reputation as a university city and as a holiday resort. The modern prosperity of St Andrews depends on education, tourism, and golf, all of which bring in a steady flow of people to the town.
We see the results. Three ample streets North Street, Market Street, and (best of all) South Street verge upon the macabrely battered ruins of the Cathedral. Much of the architecture of these streets is in the gracious Regency style flowing from the influence of Edinburgh's noble New Town. They are all busy streets, and we are reminded at every corner of the flourishing state of the university by the red-gowned students not only from Scotland but from all over the world.
As a background to all this busy modern life in this essentially East-coast Scottish town there stand the antiquities.
Nearby cities: Dundee
Nearby towns: Anstruther, Cupar, Lundin Links, Newport-On-Tay, Tayport
Nearby villages: Anstruther Easter, Arnhall, Balmerino, Balmullo, Boarhills, Broughty Ferry, Cameron, Carnbee, Ceres, Colinsburgh, Craigrothie, Crail, Dunino, Elie, Guardbridge, Kennoway, Kilconquhar, Kilmany, Kilmaron, Kilrenny, Kingsbarns, Largo Ward, Leuchars, Logie, Lower Largo, Monifieth, New Gilston, Pitscottie, Pittenweem, Radernie, St. Monans, Strathkinness, Upper Largo, West Ferry, Wormit
Have you decided to visit St Andrews or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a St Andrews bed and breakfast (a St Andrews B&B or St Andrews b and b)
- a St Andrews guesthouse
- a St Andrews hotel (or motel)
- a St Andrews self-catering establishment, or
- other St Andrews accommodation