NO5116 : St Andrews - Castle - Fore Tower above mine
near to St Andrews, Fife, Great Britain
St Andrew's Castle
There has been a castle on this site since the late C12th, and between then and 1400 several versions of the castle were built and destroyed. Most of the remaining, but ruined, buildings here date from about 1400 when it was rebuilt by Bishop Walter Trail. Throughout the Middle Ages, St Andrews Castle was the official residence of Scotland’s leading bishop - later archbishop.
1546 saw probably the most dramatic series of events in the castle's history. The incumbent archbishop David Beaton imprisoned the protestant preacher George Wishart, then had him burnt at the stake outside the castle's walls. Wishart's friends and supporters then gained access to the castle and killed Beaton and hung his body out of a window at the front of the castle.
The castle continued to be the venue for strife between Catholics and Protestants over the next hundred years.
By 1656 the castle was in a dilapidated state and much of its stone was quarried to repair the town's pier.
One of its most interesting features is the mine and counter-mine that run under the surviving southern façade. The narrow cramped tunnels were built during sieges of the castle and can be visited, though you either have to stoop or crawl if you are more than about 3' tall! They are also not for the claustrophobic!
The castle is now in the care of Historic Scotland Link
St Andrews Castle
St Andrews Castle is on a rocky promontory overlooking the North Sea and a small beach called Castle Sands. The castle was the official residence of Scotland’s leading bishop (and later archbishop) throughout the Middle Ages. Its scale demonstrated the power and wealth of the church at that time.
In the fourteenth century, the castle suffered significant damage during the Wars of Independence with England and had to be substantially rebuilt. Increasing religious tensions in the early 16th century led to further building works, the castle’s defences being strengthened the by building of new gun towers. Following the martyring of preacher, George Wishart Protestants occupied the castle.
The ensuing siege by the Regent Arran caused wholesale damage to the castle and resulted in the castle acquiring perhaps its most treasured feature – the mine and countermine. These underground passages are unique survivals of mediaeval siege warfare.
The badly damaged castle was repaired by Archbishop John Hamilton in a style which contrasted strongly with the defensive works of his predecessors, and implied that Hamilton regarded his castle as a residence more than a fortification. Following the abolition of episcopacy in 1592, the castle was effectively left without a resident or a function and it fell rapidly into ruin. In 1801 the great hall fell into the sea and further losses continued until the construction of a sea wall in 1886.
The castle's grounds are now maintained by Historic Scotland.
Link Andrews Castle
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- Grid Square
- NO5116, 369 images (more nearby)
- Rob Farrow (find more nearby)
- Image classification?
- Supplemental image
- Date Taken
- Tuesday, 4 September, 2012 (more nearby)
- Tuesday, 11 September, 2012
- Geographical Context
- Place (from Tags)
- Subject Location
OSGB36: NO 5125 1690 [10m precision]
WGS84: 56:20.5160N 2:47.4127W
- Photographer Location
- OSGB36: NO 5126 1690
- View Direction
- West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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