An Episcopal ResidenceSt Andrews Castle was the official residence of Scotland’s leading bishop (and later archbishop) throughout the Middle Ages. Its scale demonstrated the power and wealth of the bishops, and it was the setting for many important events which determined the course of Scottish history. Some of the key moments leading up to the Scottish Reformation in 1560 were played out within its precinct. These include the burning of George Wishart, the Protestant preacher, the murder of Cardinal Beaton, and the great siege of 1546–7, when Rev John Knox was one of the garrison.
The Bishops and Archbishops of St. AndrewsIn the 10th century, the bishops of St Andrews gained overarching responsibility for the Scottish Church. Bishop Arnold (1160–2) began building a new cathedral on an unprecedented scale, and Bishop Roger (1189–1202) began the new castle as his official residence. During the Wars of Independence with England, the castle suffered significant damage, and had to be substantially rebuilt by Bishop Walter Trail (1385–1401).
Decline and RuinThe badly damaged castle was repaired by Archbishop John Hamilton (1546–71), his most obvious contribution being the new entrance front, known as The Hamilton Façade. This sumptuous work contrasts with the defensive works of his predecessors, and implies that Hamilton regarded his castle as a residence more than a fortification.