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Castles of Scotland
St Andrews Castle


St Andrews CastleIn St Andrews on the A91. Tel: 01334 477196

The castle of the Archbishops of St Andrews. See the fascinating mine and counter-mine - rare examples of medieval siege techniques - and the bottle dungeon hollowed out of solid rock - from which death was the only release. A fascinating exhibition in the visitor centre brings the history of the castle to life.

The main residence of the bishops of St Andrews there has been a castle on this site since the 12th century. The first castle was designed by Bishop Roger.

In 1296 the castle fell into English hands and in 1303 was made ready to receive the English King. After Bannockburn in 1314 the castle was retaken and repaired by Bishop William Lamberton.

However, by the 1330ís it was once more in English hands. In 1337 Sir Andrew Moray, Regent of Scotland, recaptured the castle after a siege lasting three weeks. The castle was then destroyed to prevent it falling into English hands.

Towards the end of the fourteenth century Bishop Walter Trail ordered that the castle be rebuilt this was to be the basis of all further development of the castle.

As the castle was the residence of the most powerful church leaders in the land it seen many important visitors among these was James I who received part of his education from Bishop Henry Wardlaw, who was later to found Scotlandís first University in 1410.

It was also used as a state prison, with notable inmatesí being David Duke of Rothesay, Duke Murdoch and St Andrews first Archbishop, Patrick Graham.

In 1521 James Beaton set about re-fortifying the castle to withstand artillery attack. In 1537 James Beaton appointed his nephew David as his successor and in 1538 he became Archbishop of St Andrews and a Cardinal of the Church.

In March 1546 David Beaton burnt the Protestant preacher George Wishart in front of the castle walls. He made many enemies and in may of 1546 he was murdered by a group of Fife Lairds. Before his murder he had ordered that the castle be once again strengthened with the main entrance being moved from the fore tower to the south front.

After his murder the Earl of Arran ordered that the castle be sieged. Nevertheless there was an armistice which allowed the Protestant reformer John Knox the freedom to enter the castle. The armistice was broken when a French fleet arrived and started bombarding the castle they were joined by guns firing from the towers off St Salvatorís and the Cathedral.

The defeated garrison including John Knox were condemned to the Galleys.

Cardinal Beaton was succeeded by Archbishop Hamilton who put right the damage caused by the siege of 1547.

After the reformation of the Scottish Church the castle became increasingly neglected and fell into disrepair.


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