Saints and Stones: St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral, originally built in 1158. It was the center of the Medieval Catholic Church in Scotland as the seat of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and the Bishops and Archbishops of St. Andrews. It fell into disuse and ruin during the 16th Century Scottish Reformation. The ruins indicate that the building was approximately 391 feet long, the largest church to have been built in Scotland.

Previously, an older, much smaller church, St. Rules, was located on what became the cathedral grounds. Today, the remains of St. Rules include a square tower, 108 feet in height, and a quire of very diminutive proportions. To the east is an even older religious site, the Church of St. Mary on the Rock, the Culdee house that became a Collegiate Church.

A religious community was probably first located on this site in about 732 A.D., when relics of St. Andrew were brought to what was then known as Kilrimont or Cennrígmonaid by Bishop Acca of Hexam. There is an alternative and probably more fanciful story, that St. Rule (also known as St. Regulus) brought five of St. Andrew's bones here by boat in the years after 300 A.D., having sailed from Greece and eventually surviving a shipwreck near the site of today's harbour. Either way, the settlement that became St Andrews rose through the dark ages to an eminent position in the Scottish church, a process that was accelerated when Viking raids led to the removal from Iona of St. Columba's relics in 849 A.D., and with them much of Iona's power base.

Today, the cathedral museum houses a collection of early and later medieval sculpture and other relics found on the site. Pride of place is the St. Andrews sarcophagus, a masterpiece of 8th Century Pictish sculpture.

About St. Andrews Cathedral

Historic Scotland: St. Andrews Cathedral
Undiscovered Scotland: St. Andrews Cathedral
New Advent Catholioc Encyclopedia: Priory of Saint Andrews
Sacred Destinations: St. Andrew's Cathedral
Wikipedia: St. Andrews Cathedral
Wikipedia: St. Rule's Tower
Wikipedia: Saint Regulus (St. Rules)
Undiscovered Scotland: St Andrews Cathedral Museum
Wikipedia: St. Andrews Sarcophagus

Journey to St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews Cathedral is located at the eastern end of the town of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland.

Ordnance Survey Map (NO5132216673)

Visitors Information

Visitors information may be found at the Historic Scotland St. Andrews Cathedral website. General tourist information may be found at the Fife website.

Additional Photos of St. Andrews Cathedral

Welcome Sign, St. Andrews Cathedral
West Entrance and Facade, South Walls of the Nave, and Cloister Area, St. Andrews Cathedral
West Entrance, St. Andrews Cathedral
West Facade from Inside the Nave, St. Andrews Cathedral
West Facade and Nave, St. Andrews Cathedral
Remains of Columns in Nave, St. Andrews Cathedral
Remains of South Wall of Nave, St. Andrews Cathedral
East Gable Above Presbytery and Choir, St. Andrews Cathedral
Coffins Under an Altar, St. Andrews Cathedral
Cloister and Cathedral Priory Area St. Andrews Cathedral
Night Stairs in the South Transept, St. Andrews Cathedral
Remains of the Chapter House, St. Andrews Cathedral
Stone Coffins Found Beneath the Chapter House, St. Andrews Cathedral
Precint Wall Marking Boundary Between the Church and the Outside World, St. Andrews Cathedral

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