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Headquarters of the medieval Scottish ChurchSt Andrews Cathedral dominated the history of the medieval church in Scotland from its construction in the 12th century until the Protestant Reformation in 1560.
St Rule’s TowerSt Rule’s Church, with its 33m tower, was probably built around 1130 as the first place of worship for the newly-arrived Augustinian canons. This Continental priestly order supplanted the Culdees, a Celtic monastic order that had been present on the site for centuries. The lofty tower may have been a beacon for pilgrims heading for the shrine of St Andrew.
Scotland’s greatest cathedralThe cathedral was begun in 1160–2 by Bishop Arnold. Work continued over the next 150 years, interrupted by a storm in 1272 which blew down the west front, and the first War of Independence against England (1296–1307). The cathedral was eventually dedicated in 1318, in the presence of King Robert I, by which date it was by far the largest church in Scotland.
The cathedral and the Protestant ReformationIn 1559, John Knox preached a fiery sermon in St Andrews parish church, and the cathedral was ‘cleansed’ as a result. In 1561 it was abandoned and replaced by the parish church as the chief place of worship. Thereafter the former headquarters of the Scottish Church was left to fall into ruin.