St Andrews - 'The Prospect of the Town of St Andrews'

This view shows the south side of St Andrews, with the mouth of the River Eden in the distance, and ships anchored off the harbour. Inside the city walls the buildings dominating the town are, from right: the tower and ruins of St Andrews Cathedral; the tower of the Church of St Rule; the tower of St Salvator's College; and Holy Trinity Church, the town's parish church.

As well as a horseman with armed guard on the road, you can see in the foreground people at work and play. The scale of this image isn't quite accurate: compare the size of the figures on the path by the river to the sailing ship to the right of centre. On the left is what could be a walled farm building. There are scenes of fishing from boats, and evidence of fields that have been farmed.

In 1797 the fifth edition of Theatrum Scotiae was published, 80 years after Slezer's death. By then the Society of St Andrews Golfers had been founded (in 1754), the forerunner of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.

Image from Theatrum Scotiae by John Slezer, 1693.

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  Read what Robert Sibbald wrote in Theatrum Scotiae about St Andrews

St Andrews

To the Right Honourable James Johnston, One of the Lords of their Majesties Most Honourable Privy Council, and Principal Secretary of State for the Kingdom of Scotland.

St Andrews

Saint Andrews, in Latin, Andreanopolis, or Fanum Sancti Andreae, has its Name from St. Andrew, whose Bones are said to be brought hither from Patras, a Town in Peloponnesus, by Regulus a Grecian Monk, Anno 368 a Man in that Age much esteem'd for Piety, as appears by the Church dedicated to him, and called after his Name. From him also (as ancient Writers report) this Town was at first called Regimund, that is, Mons sancti Reguli; for we read that Oengus, or Ungus, King of the Picts, did grant to God and Saint Andrew, That he should be Head of all Churches within the Jurissdiction of the Picts.

Likewise it is manifest from Old Manuscripts, that this was the principal See of the Culdai, who had the care and management of Holy Things from the first reception of Christianity in those Parts.

This City is the Metropolis of the whole Kingdom, and the See of an Archbishop, who is Primate of all Scotland. It lies towards the East with a pleasant Prospect to the Ocean, having a Harbour for Ships, the Sea near it plentiful in Fishes, and Fields wholesome and spacious.

There yet remain the Marks of Venerable Antiquity, the Ruines of the Cathedral Church and Monastery, which do abundantly testifie their Ancient Glory and Magnificence. The Town is self is situate in a Plain, from East to West, with a most pleasant Prospect to the German Ocean. It had a very strong Castle of Old, whose Rubbish and Ruines are yet to be seen upon the Rocks on the Sea-side towards the North. It has Streets straight and broad, stretching East and West, whereof two lead to that once famous Abbey of Canons Regular of the Order of St. Augustine, situate toward the East and South-East, the Wall surrounding this Abbey being yet intire, and of hewen Stone, with many Towers and Turrets which give it the Resemblance of a King's Palace.

The Chief Church in the Town now, is that called the New Church, not far from the New College. In it there is to be seen a very Magnificent Monument of Archbishop Sharp.

There is also another Church called St. Leonard's adjacent to a College of the same Name, the Rector whereof is ordinarily the Principal of the said College: but the greatest Ornament of the City is the University, the Athens of Scotland, consisting at present of Three Colleges; and was first founded by Laurentius Lindoris, and Richardus Corvellus, Doctors of Law, and publick Professors of Philosophy.

The College of St. Salvator, commonly called the Old College, was founded by James Kennedie Bishop of St. Andrews, together with a Church beautified with an high towering Steeple all of hewen Stone, in which his Monument of curious Workman-ship is yet to be seen. Mr. Skene Doctor of Divinity and Principal of the College, has of late repaired and augmented the Fabrick thereof, having made a Collection for that end. He has also founded a Library, which by the Donations of learned Men is now very well furnished with good Books.

St. Leonard's College was founded by James Hepburn, Prior of St. Andrews; in which are several Professors, as first the Principal, who is always Doctor of Divinity, and Four Professors of Philosophy, to whom John Scot of Scots Tarvett Knight, added a Professor of Philology, with a liberal Salary, and augmented the Library with the Gift of several considerable Volumes.

It is likewise of late very much increased by Sir John Wedderburne, Doctor of Physick, who dying left his great Collection of Books to it. Here also is the famous Manuscript of the Scottish Chronologer, John Fordon.

The New College was founded by James Beaton Archbishop. In it are two Professors, always Doctors in Divinity, the One stiled Principal Professor of Theology, the Other only Professor of Theology; to which of late is added a Professor of Mathematicks; the first Professor whereof, Mr. James Gregory, erected a Commodious Observatory for Mathematical Observations in the College Garden, having caus'd a Contribution to be made for that Purpose. He also furnished it with many Mathematical Instruments much better than it had before his Time.

Alexander the I King of Scotland, founded a Priory here for the Monks of the Order of St. Augustine, the Government of the Picts being abolished in Britain; and Kenneth III transferred the Episcopal See from Abernethie to St. Andrews, about the Year 850.

Who was Robert Sibbald?

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