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Publication Account

Date 1981

Event ID 1017989

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


St. Andrews boasts the oldest university in Scotland: it received its bull of foundation in 1413. The bull allowed for five faculties - canon law, civil law, theology, medicine and the liberal arts. These faculties had varying fortunes. For example, medicine was taught only spasmodically until the sixteenth century (Nicholson, 1975, 273) and in the poverty-stricken eighteenth century, the university sold medical degrees. St. John's College was the cornerstone of the university, formally established in 1419. Its main teaching sphere was to be arts and theology, but after 1461 the building fell out of use (Cowan, 1976, 232). Possibly St. John's had been superseded by the establishment of St.Salvator's College in mid-century. The stately tower and chapel beneath are part of Bishop Kennedy's original foundation, but the class rooms round about it are modern. The early sixteenth century witnessed the foundation of two more colleges, St. Leonards and St. Marys. St. Leonard's Chapel boasts some early work, but what remains of St. Mary's College has been considerably worked over and modernised (RCAM, 1933, 248-9). The University library was built in 1612 over the foundations of St. John's College. In 1747, the college of St. Leonard united with St. Salvator to help meet the financial needs of the institution.

Information from ‘Historic St Andrews: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1981).

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