The Cathedral of St Andrew was built in 1158 and became the centre 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 after Catholic mass was outlawed during the 16th-century Scottish Reformation. It is currently a monument in the custody of Historic Environment Scotland. The ruins indicate that the building was approximately 119 m long, and is the largest church to have been built in Scotland.

The west end was blown down in a storm and rebuilt between 1272 and 1279. The cathedral was finally completed in 1318 and featured a central tower and six turrets; of these remain two at the east and one of the two at the western extremity, rising to a height of 30 metres. On the 5th of July it was consecrated in the presence of King Robert I, who, according to legend, rode up the aisle on his horse.

A fire partly destroyed the building in 1378; restoration and further embellishment were completed in 1440.

In June 1559 during the Reformation, a Protestant mob incited by the preaching of John Knox ransacked the cathedral; the interior of the building was destroyed. The cathedral fell into decline following the attack and became a source of building material for the town. By 1561 it had been abandoned and left to fall into ruin.



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Founded: 1158
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Graham Aitken (2 months ago)
Greatly enjoyed visiting St Andrews Cathedral today. Stunning setting and very knowledgeable staff who went out of their way to help and inform. The grounds, including what would have been the interior of the main part of the cathedral are free to explore but some areas fenced off for safety/covid reasons. Well worth paying the small fee to access the visitor centre which has the pick of fascinating remnants of the many ages and uses of the Cathedral over the centuries. Normally this would also entitle you to access the St Rules tower but this is currently closed. I would really like to thank the superb staff on site (really wish I got your names!) for making this such a memorable visit. I will definitely be back with my family one day.
macedonboy (2 months ago)
Visited back in September. Once Scotland's greatest church building. Now it's a ruin, but what a postcard picture perfect ruin. The east and west towers are two of the greatest structures still standing and the isolated remains served to magnify the brilliance of the Gothic architecture. The ground of cathedral are free to enter, you only have to pay if you want to visit the museum. The ticket would normally get you into St Rule's Tower as well, but that's not possible right now due to social distancing rules. The museum is not extensive, but does exhibit some of the best preserved elements from the ruin, history of the building and local history. Some of the best exhibits in the museum are the coffins which for me was the bizarre fascination with displaying death.
Alex Freeman (3 months ago)
Beautiful Cathedral. Found some clues as to where Captain Avery's treasure is. Turns out he was working with Thomas Tew on something. Not sure what. Couple of hired mercenaries about the place called shoreline though. Not nice guys. Just make sure to avoid them. Brilliant piece of Scottish history.
John Mackie (4 months ago)
The history to be found if you're a history buff is amazing, it goes back centuries. Like many old cemeteries, Cathedrals or old church graveyards, it's the number of young children, stillborn and young adults that is very evident. The number of elderly adults (over 80) in stark contrast to the modern cemeteries is minimal. There is a great museum if you have any time left. The only negative thing is, the lack of decent wheelchair, mobility scooter and disabled access.
Fraudster Man (4 months ago)
Such a pity this beauty is gone
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Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).

Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.

Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.

An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.

On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".