St Andrews Castle :: Shared Description
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.
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Created: Thu, 3 Nov 2011, Updated: Fri, 4 Nov 2011
The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2011 David Dixon, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.