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The History of St Andrews

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St Andrews is an ancient fishing port positioned on the north east coast of Fife, in Scotland.

Its rich history dates far back in time to the Bronze Age and beyond, and has seen the Celts, and Picts farm the land. The Romans invaded and settled close by bringing with them their building expertise and organisational skills.

Pilgrims have been drawn to the area for centuries after the relics of St Andrew were brought ashore and were at first placed in the ancient chapel dedicated to St Mary on the Rock, which looked out over the harbour, parts of which can still be seen today.

The 11th Century saw William the Conqueror land on England's shores, fight King Harold in that bloody battle in 1066 , and afterwards march across Britain with his army changing it forever. He eventually reached St Andrews resulting in Malcolm III surrendering peacefully. St Regulus Church and Priory was built in the 12th Century which saw St Andrews take the leading role in the Scottish Church, Bishop Arnold constructed the Cathedral in 1160 which was to result in a magnificent structure which took 150 years in the building, it would prove to be the largest Cathedral ever built in Scotland's history, and one of the third largest in Britain. The Relics of St Andrew were duly moved to the Cathedral which was enticing thousands and thousands of pilgrims to visit, and was finally consecrated in 1318 in the presence of Robert the Bruce . The Cathedral was damaged many times with a fire ravaging parts of it in 1378, and again in 1409 when tempestuous storms damaged the Harbour and the Cathedral. Its final swan song took place after a group of Protestant's had attended a sermon given by John Knox where they were so fired up with emotion they left the church, and destroyed the Cathedral during the Scottish Reformation in 1560, when the Scottish Parliament dismissed the Pope's authority, its skeletal remains still dominate the skyline. A castle was also built, and was the home of the Archbishops of St Andrews, it was constructed on a rock looking out to sea, and was besieged repeatedly throughout the years.

The town continued to grow and prosper, with the market still appearing in Market Street which had been in existence since Medieval times, this was also the time that the traders formed a Guild, and saw hundreds of ships in the harbour.'

A University was built in the 15th Century and remains as one of the oldest in Britain, and the first to be built in Scotland. St Andrews is known throughout the world for its fine golfing history where players can tee off any day of the week, however, it hasn't always been like that. Parliament dictating that no golf would be allowed to be played on Sundays in 1457 as men would be better employed in going to church, and practising their skills with the bow. Once again in 1470, and it wouldn't be until 1502 that golf could be played on a Sunday with the lessening threat of war with the English after the signing of a treaty that the ban would finally be lifted.

Mary Queen of Scots would visit here no less than five times, and the town was made a Royal Burgh in 1620 after a charter issued by King James VI . The 17th Century saw a decline in the population, which would again pick up in the 19th Century with Golf playing a major role with holidaymakers and golfers keen to follow in Mary Queen of Scots footprints who loved to play golf here. The 19th and 20th Century would see St Andrews hosting the British Open and many prestigious championship matches.

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