St. Andrews, Scotland

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Date: July, 2014
Location: St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom


St Andrews is named after Saint Andrew the Apostle. The town is home to the University of St Andrews, the third oldest university in the English speaking world and the oldest in Scotland. The University is an integral part of the burgh, and during term time students make up approximately one third of the town’s population. St Andrews has a population of 16,680, making this the fifth largest settlement in Fife.

St Andrews’ historical links with the United States predate the country’s independence. Three signatories of the Declaration of Independence attended or received degrees from St Andrews, including: James Wilson, one of six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States and founder of the University of Pennsylvania Law School; John Witherspoon, President of the College of New Jersey (later known as Princeton University); and Benjamin Franklin, founder of the University of Pennsylvania.

There has been an important church in St Andrews since at least the 8th century. The settlement grew to the west of St Andrews cathedral. The burgh soon became the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, a position which was held until the Scottish Reformation. The famous cathedral, the largest in Scotland, now lies in ruins.

The castle was first erected around 1200 as the residence, prison and fortress of the bishops of the diocese. The majority of the castle seen today dates to between 1549 and 1571. After the Reformation, the castle passed to several owners, who could not maintain its structure and the building deteriorated into a ruin.

St Andrews is also known worldwide as the “home of golf”. This is in part because the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, founded in 1754, exercises legislative authority over the game worldwide (except in the United States and Mexico), and also because the famous links (acquired by the town in 1894) is the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, the oldest of golf’s four major championships. Visitors travel to St Andrews in great numbers for several courses ranked among the finest in the world, as well as for the sandy beaches.

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